GIVIT supporting communities long after disaster strikes
How GIVIT is helping regional and rural Australia’s recovery efforts
WFI Insurance Executive General Manager, Andrew Beer, recently interviewed GIVIT CEO Sarah Tennant on WFI’s podcast ‘Good People to Know’, discussing how the organisation continues to support regional and rural communities impacted by major events, and their experiences in being on the ground when people are most in need.
Most recently, GIVIT was involved in helping Far North Queensland communities impacted by Cyclone Jasper and subsequent flooding events, where affected communities were under resourced and in immediate need of vital items to help begin the recovery process.
Following disasters such as these, well intentioned Australians heed calls for help, gathering goods to donate to communities to help them get back on their feet. Sometimes however, that help inadvertently becomes a hinderance to recovering townships who do not have the capacity to handle donations, or are given things inappropriate for the task at hand (i.e. ski gear donated to Far North Queensland post flooding events).
This was the finding of GIVIT founder Juliette Wright, who launched the Australian charity in 2009 after identifying a lack of alignment between goods donated and goods needed, and seeing overflowing charity bins where donated goods were essentially going to waste.
Wright set about establishing an online warehouse and giving platform which aligns specific needs-based requests with donators of goods and services, eliminating the misalignments. GIVIT’s donation matching model was tested at scale in 2011, when appointed a partner of the Queensland government to facilitate charitable donations following devastating flooding events which impacted the State. GIVIT’s website at the time received 1.8 million visits in a matter of days, and over three weeks, GIVIT matched more than 33,500 goods with people in need – proving the operation to be a success.
Encouraging Australians to give the smart way and noting that community needs vary from disaster to disaster, Tennant said: “We work with local organisations, find out what’s needed, and channel the incredible generosity from Australia to meet the immediate needs.”
We make sure donations have a positive impact and do no harm on these local communities. We ask the local charities and local organisations what their communities and the people they support actually need.
With long term aspirations to fundamentally change the way people give, GIVIT remains connected to communities long after disaster strikes. “We are there for the long term” said Tennant. “Some of these communities have been hit time and time again by natural disasters. It’s really important we are there building the capacity of those local charities and just giving people a sense of hope.”
To learn more about GIVIT’s work within rural and regional Australia, and to find out how to best support communities in need, tune into the podcast: