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Part 7: The Aussie charities and events we get behind

Cheryl Critchley, February 23, 2022 6:38PM Kids News

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Tin rattlers James Beresford, Alexander Charles, Monique Trajkov and Wasim Kalam raise money for the Good Friday Appeal in support of the Royal Children’s Hospital in 2021. Picture: Tony Gough media_cameraTin rattlers James Beresford, Alexander Charles, Monique Trajkov and Wasim Kalam raise money for the Good Friday Appeal in support of the Royal Children’s Hospital in 2021. Picture: Tony Gough


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Giving is an important part of who we are in Australia and there are many charities and not-for-profit organisations* we can support in this nation.

A 2021 McCrindle Research report found Australia had 43,349 charities and not-for-profit organisations. The top three areas they covered were religion, education and research, and social services.

In total, they generated $174.3 billion in 2021 from government grants, goods and services, donations and bequests*, and investments.

Donations and bequests, which include money and possessions that people leave to charities and not-for-profit organisations in their wills*, totalled $11 billion.

Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal media_cameraMajor Brad Watson from The Salvation Army encourages donations to the charity’s Red Shield Appeal in 2021. Picture Nikki Davis-Jones

Where the money goes

The funds raised by charities and not-for-profits is spent in many ways.

Australia’s top 10 charities on the Good2Give workplace giving platform in 2020 reflected the times.

With the country emerging from serious bushfires and entering the global Covid-19 pandemic, health and emergency relief organisations were prominent*.

They included:

  • Australian Red Cross, which provides relief after natural and man-made disasters;
  • The Smith Family, which helps people experiencing disadvantage and helped connect thousands of students to digital devices in 2020;
  • WIRES wildlife rescue, which rescued and cared for injured wildlife following the 2019-2020 bushfires;
  • World Vision Australia, which runs a popular child sponsorship program and other community programs in developing countries;
  • Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), which helps people who don’t have access to healthcare or who are affected by conflict, epidemics and disasters;
  • PCYC Police Citizens Youth Clubs NSW, which works with police and young people to break the cycle of disadvantage and prevent crime;
  • NSW Rural Fire Service, which played a prominent role fighting the 2019-2020 bushfires;
  • The Salvation Army Australia, which runs social programs for those who are homeless and/or need help with daily living;
  • Beyond Blue, which provides mental health services;
  • and Cancer Council Australia, which supports, funds and provides information about cancer prevention and research.
Daffodil Day media_cameraBrisbane local Clare Newman supported the Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day fundraiser in 2021. Picture: Lachie Millard


The Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal is one of Australia’s largest fundraisers. It has raised almost $400 million since it began in 1931.

This money has helped the Melbourne-based hospital, which turned 150 in 2020, provide world-class care for children in Victoria and beyond. Among other things, Good Friday Appeal donations help to fund:

  • groundbreaking research such as the Kidney Flagship Research program;
  • state-of-the-art technology and equipment, like nanoString Technology for hi-tech disease diagnosis*;
  • patient and family centred care programs, including a Virtual Care Program and Child Life Therapy;
  • and staff excellence programs such as the Simulation Centre.
Good Friday Appeal media_cameraIsla Magann, 8, and Alex Wyatt, 3, are patients at the Royal Children’s Hospital and the faces of the 2022 Good Friday Appeal. Picture: Alex Coppel.

The appeal started in 1931 when the hospital was at risk of closing due to rising costs and lack of resources.

A team of journalists from The Sporting Globe newspaper organised a sports carnival, which attracted 20,000 people and raised £427.

The carnivals continued until 1942, when the appeal joined forces with the Herald and Weekly Times and radio station 3DB, moved to Good Friday and started taking donations by phone.

Good Friday Appeal media_cameraThe Good Friday Appeal has raised more than $400 million thanks to volunteers like these in the telephone call room in 2021. Picture: Mark Stewart

It has continued to grow since then. Here are some key dates in its development:

  • The first all-day Telethon was broadcast on Channel 7 in 1957
  • The Herald Sun-Transurban Run for the Kids fun run, which raises money for the appeal, began in 2006
  • In 2017 the AFL launched its annual Good Friday Kick for the Kids match
  • The appeal went virtual in 2020 due to Covid-19
  • It celebrated 90 years in 2021
Good Friday Appeal AFLW Game media_cameraThe North Melbourne mascot and the Good Friday Appeal mascot meet Western Bulldogs AFLW player Bailey Hunt and North Melbourne player Ben Mckay ahead of the AFL’s Good Friday Kick for the Kids match on April 15, 2022. Picture: Alex Coppel.

An army of volunteers

Good Friday Appeal executive director Rebecca Cowan said the appeal’s success was due to its 100,000 volunteers. Individuals, businesses, schools and community groups all give their time, money and support.

“The Good Friday Appeal is about people,” Ms Cowan said. “It has been built on an incredible amount of commitment, passion, creativity and collaboration*, with people of all ages and generations of families volunteering their time, holding a fundraiser or donating what they can.

“Whether it is a family member, friend or work colleague, we all know someone who has been helped by The Royal Children’s Hospital.”

How can kids get involved?

There are many ways kids can get involved in the Good Friday Appeal. Here are some ideas:

  • organise a fundraising event such as a bake sale, a pyjama day at school or a gold coin line challenge
  • get your school involved to fundraise
  • get a team together for Run for the Kids
  • volunteer to door knock with a local collection group
Run for the Kids, finish of 5 km Race, Picture Yuri Kouzmin media_cameraThe Run for the Kids fun run is a great way to have some fun while raising money for the Good Friday Appeal. Picture Yuri Kouzmin

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  • not-for-profit organisations: organisations that do not operate to make money
  • bequests: money or property that someone leaves to another person or organisation after they die
  • wills: legal documents that set out how someone wants their money and belongings to be distributed after they die
  • prominent: stood out, noticeable, important
  • diagnosis: the process of identifying a disease, illness or problem
  • collaboration: the act of working together with others to produce something


Why giving is good

Generous Aussies give for a better world

The worthy causes we support at home

Brave Isla is proof of the good giving can do


  1. How many charities and not-for-profit organisations are in Australia, according to the 2021 McCrindle report.
  2. How much money did they generate in 2021?
  3. Name three of the charities mentioned in this story.
  4. When did the Good Friday Appeal start?
  5. Which hospital does it raise money for?


Refer to the accompanying Giving Education Kit classroom workbook with 20 activities. It’s FREE when teachers subscribe to the Kids News newsletter.

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