How to safely donate to the Syrian refugee crisis

9 September 2015 | Scam alert: make sure your dollar goes where it's needed.

Give wisely

Australians wishing to donate towards the Syrian refugee crisis have been warned against scams that increase around the time of such tragic events.

The Australian Charities Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) is urging Australians to give wisely and check the credentials of the charities they're giving to.

ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe said that many Australians have been deeply impacted by the heart-wrenching images and stories of Syrian refugees. "To ensure that their valuable contributions are used to full effect, I encourage the public to donate to established humanitarian aid charities that are registered with the ACNC," Pascoe said.

Donating to Syrian refugee crisis 

Marc Purcell, executive director of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the peak body for Australia's aid organisations, told us there are three things the public should consider before donating:

  1. Donate to organisations that are reputable for working on the ground where humanitarian situations arise. "ACFID members have been at the forefront of assisting refugees from Syria since the conflict began and have established channels and relationships that can direct aid to those who need it most," said Mr Purcell.
  2. Donate to charities that are transparent and accountable, by making sure they are not only registered with the ACNC but abide by the ACFID Code of Conduct.
  3. Donate cash only, not goods. Sending goods to remote overseas locations can be costly, complex, and sometimes lead to unintended consequences.
ACFID members with appeals can be found at

How do I know if a charity is real?

The ACNC offers these tips to help identify legitimate charities:
  • Always ask for identification from door-to-door and street fundraising collectors.
  • Look up the organisation on the ACNC Charity Register if you haven't heard of them before.
  • Never provide your personal, credit card or online account details unless you know it is a trusted source.
  • Do not open suspicious or unsolicited emails and delete them immediately.
  • If you think there's something wrong, directly contact the charity and alert them of your concerns.

To find a registered charity go to and to find out more about effective donating, read our CHOICE charity charity guide.