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How giving a little makes a big difference

Kamahl Cogdon, September 1, 2020 6:45PM Kids News

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There are many ways kids can get involved in raising money for important causes. media_cameraThere are many ways kids can get involved in raising money for important causes.


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Australians have a strong tradition* of donating money to important causes.

Many charities and organisations rely on donations to help them do their work. Donations can help hospitals provide lifesaving treatment, welfare agencies look after people in crisis and emergency services keep us safe and lead recovery from natural disasters like bushfires.

The latest Giving Australia report shows almost 15 million Australian adults gave a total $12.5 billion to charities and non-profit groups in 2015-16.

The most common reasons people donated were because:

  • they thought it was good cause or respected the charity’s work;
  • they were affected or knew someone who was affected by the cause the charity supported;
  • and they had sympathy for the people the charity helped.
QLD_CM_NEWS_BIGDONORS_2SEP13 media_cameraThe Surf Life Saving organisation is one of the emergency services that needs donations to help it do its work, keeping our beaches safe. Picture: Luke Marsden.

Donating even a little bit can make a big difference to others — and also make you feel pretty good.

A great way to support charities is to set aside part of your pocket money each time you get paid.

Putting 50 per cent into savings, keeping 40 per cent for spending and setting aside 10 per cent for donating is a good mix, according to Australian parenting website

media_cameraThe Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service relies on donations to help keep Australians safe.

The benefit of donations to community organisations has been seen first-hand by Trevor Cracknell, a rescue crew chief in the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service.

As the oldest civilian* search and rescue service in Australia, the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service has performed more than 80,000 missions over the past 47 years.

“With the support of Westpac and the community, and through donations and fundraising, we can continue to do our jobs helping Australians at times when they need it most,” Mr Cracknell said.

“This has meant that for the last four decades* our service can operate across Australia, with no one ever having to pay to be rescued.”

Through the support of the public and through corporate partnerships, the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service is able to operate up to 16 helicopters across 13 bases, and cover 84 per cent of the Australian population during the summer months with the help of over 300 rescue professionals and volunteers.

media_cameraA Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service crew visits a primary school to teach students about safety and the importance of supporting emergency services in their community.

As well as giving some of your own money, there are other ways you can support a charity. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Take part in a charity event like a fun run or bike ride, and get family and friends to sponsor you
  • Hold a fundraising stall, with the money made from selling food or goods going to charity
  • Buy a raffle ticket from a charity
  • Volunteer — kids will need to do this with their parents but charities have lots of jobs they need volunteers for
  • Organise a free dress or fancy dress day at your school, with everyone bringing along a gold coin donation
  • Run a food drive at school and encourage students to bring something along
  • Run a spare change drive and encourage classmates to drop coins in a charity jar
Children's sports team charity drive for donations, local disaster relief. media_cameraHaving a food drive at school is a great way to support a charity that helps people in need.


  • tradition: history of doing something
  • civilian: run by people who are not in the police or other government services
  • decades: periods of 10 years


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  1. How much money did Australian adults donate in 2015-16?
  2. Name three services or activities donations help to pay for?
  3. How much of your pocket money does recommend setting aside for donations?
  4. How many missions has the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service performed in the past 47 years?
  5. How many helicopters does the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service operate?


1. Giving Generously
The article states that the main reasons why people give their money to certain charities is because they thought it was a good cause, they know someone affected by the cause the charity supports or they have sympathy for the people the charity helped.

Sit alone and reflect quietly for a few minutes on what charities you would like to support. If you don’t know the name of the actual charity, think about the issue or illness you’d like to help and list that.

There are thousands of charities, but you are most inclined to give away your money when it means something to you.

List five you’d like to support in order of importance to you.

If you were to give away 10 per cent of your pocket money to a charity, and you earned $10 a week (so approximately $40 per month), how much would you be donating to charity? Would you like to do that or would you rather think of a fundraising activity? If so, what do you think you could do to raise money for your chosen charity (it could be a suggestion from the article or something you have thought up yourself).

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social

2. Extension
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service is one of the charities run by donations and helps rescue people in life-threatening situations. Australians are lucky enough that they don’t have to be paid to be rescued. If people put themselves in dangerous situations, such as not swimming between the flags, going out on rocks, doing dangerous activities — do you think they should have to pay for their rescue which can often cost tens of thousands of dollars? Explain your point of view.

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and creative thinking

Punctuation thief
Pick a paragraph from the article, or about three sentences together if that’s easier, and rewrite it without the punctuation. At the bottom of the page write a list of all the punctuation you stole and in the order you stole it. For example; C , . C .

Then swap your book with another person and see if they can work out where the punctuation needs to go back to.

Make it easier: Underline where you stole the punctuation from but don’t put the list at the bottom in order.

Make it harder: Don’t put the punctuation in order at the bottom. Underline where you took the punctuation from, but don’t tell them what pieces you took. Just tell them how many pieces you took, but not what they are. Don’t give them any clues!

HAVE YOUR SAY: Have you donated to a good cause? How did it make you feel?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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