GIVIT is calling on you to set a new record for Australia’s Biggest Secret Santa.

GIVIT Founder and CEO Juliette Wright said all Australians should become a secret Santa for someone in genuine need and give a gift that counts this Christmas.

“We are asking big-hearted Australians to help break last year’s national total of 18,653 gifts and donate through givit.org.au.

“Whether it’s a new toy for a child in care, a pram for an expectant mother escaping domestic violence or a toaster for a charity starting a school breakfast program,” said Juliette, “What shows the Christmas spirit more than giving an essential item to someone you will never meet?

“Three million Australians live in poverty and 731,000 of them are children but we can actually make a huge difference to their lives by giving new or good quality pre-loved items this Christmas.”

To identify exactly what is needed by society’s most vulnerable, GIVIT works with more than 1700 charities nation-wide, ranging from The Salvation Army and Australian Red Cross to smaller community groups and neighbourhood centres.

The six-week campaign will see people in communities around Australia, including remote and regional areas, from Canarvon to Gladstone, from Canberra to Rockhampton, get the items they truly require.

Juliette said every secret Santa will make a massive difference to people around the country.

“Every day of the year GIVIT matches those who want to give to those in need but we always see a huge spike in need leading up to Christmas when many families face increased financial pressure. We are asking everyone to open their hearts,” she said.

“So, forget the soap on a rope, the fridge magnet or the packet of golf tees and instead get on board with Australia’s Biggest Secret Santa this Christmas and make a real difference to someone in need.”

Under GIVIT’s strict privacy policy, donors and recipients always remain anonymous to each other, meaning every gift given through givit.org.au truly is a secret Santa.

To get involved:

1. Choose an item request that touches your heart from GIVIT’s “items needed list”
2. Click “GIVIT” and offer your donation with a photograph
3. Once approved, contact details between you and the charity are exchanged automatically
4. Arrange delivery of the item with the charity user behind the request
5. Download the GIVIT Christmas card to give to friends or family explaining their amazing gift for some in real need

If you need assistance or further information, email info@givit.org.au

By Ash Moore
“A mature-aged mum, leaving a domestic violence situation and expecting twins, needs a double pram…as she has no vehicle to take her babies home from hospital.”
Sometimes a request comes through to GIVIT that hits you right where it hurts.
That request was something that particularly affected me last week because I’m expecting a son myself in little over three months.
I can’t imagine what it would be like for my wife to have to do it all by herself – without me and then with twins to boot!
At GIVIT, we want every request to be filled. Of course we do.
But when you see a request like that, you want to make extra sure it happens.

The gofundme page set up by a GIVIT Facebook follower to make sure a mature mum-to-be gets a brand new pram


As GIVIT’s Media Advisor, it’s part of my job to post on social media.
This request sent to me by our new volunteer, Michael, hit straight to the hearts of our Facebook followers.
It was shared more than 80 times and drew a dozen comments, as people tagged their friends and tried to help.
People felt that no mother should have to do it so tough and the least they could do is get her a pram.
A day later, one of our Facebook followers had set up a gofundme page because she’s decided that this mum-to-be deserves a brand new pram and some other items too.
Gabrielle’s also going to do bake sales and fundraise through her church.
You may not have realised this, but you can buy items brand new through GIVIT at no charge.
All you have to do is click “GIVIT” fill out the usual donor form online and let the charity user behind the request know that you will be buying it brand new.
You can make all the arrangements between the two of you or ask GIVIT for some advice if you need to.
When our charity users give the people they’re helping brand new items from our donors, we often hear that those people in need burst into tears.
“I can’t believe someone thought enough of me to get me something brand new,” they say, “What did I do to deserve this?”
You didn’t have to do anything. You deserve good things too. Together, we will make sure you get them.

The founder of Australian not-for-profit GIVIT said she is thrilled to be a charity partner for Australia’s biggest celebration of Spring, Floriade, as the charity launches into the Canberra and surrounds with the support of the ACT government.

CEO and founder of GIVIT, Juliette Wright, said the need for GIVIT in the ACT is enormous.

“More than 22,000 Canberrans are currently living in poverty,” Mrs Wright said, “but we all have something in our homes that’s high quality and that we don’t use any more – through GIVIT, you can donate your pre-loved items to someone who really needs them. Items such as washing machines, fridges, linen and laptops are being requested right now by some of Canberra’s most respected charitable organisations.

“I’m incredibly excited to be officially launching GIVIT into the ACT and the partnership with Floriade is the perfect opportunity to encourage people to have a look around their homes at the items they’re not using any more and list them on our website.

“For Australia’s biggest celebration of Spring, I’d love to see the people of the ACT have a spring clean and turn it into a celebration of giving too.”

There will be more than flowers at Floriade with GIVIT’s #DonateRejuvenate House taking centre stage

During Floriade, which will attract more than 500,000 visitors from 16 September until 15 October 2017 in Canberra, GIVIT will host #DonateRejuvenate House. Visitors and businesses will have the opportunity to pledge items to #DonateRejuvenate House which will be donated directly to Canberra’s most vulnerable residents.

Are you keen to get involved with GIVIT during Floriade? Here are a few ways you can show your support:
• Get amongst the action and volunteer at #DonateRejuvenate House. For more info, contact caroline@givit.org.au
• If you are a corporate donor wishing to donate goods to #DonateRejuvenate House, contact caroline@givit.org.au
• During the school holidays, bring along the kids to participate in BUGS + BLOOMS Creative Kids Workshops at #DonateRejuvenate House. For more info, visit floriadeaustralia.com/children/

We hope to see you there!

Travis Fitch has been appointed as the new WA State Manager for GIVIT. Mr Fitch joins GIVIT from 12 Buckets, a charity he established with his wife seven years ago, and said he is looking forward to building GIVIT’s presence in WA to ensure more vulnerable West Australians get the help they require.

“My hope for WA is to see charities and agencies working with people who are vulnerable, impoverished or marginalised get essential items through GIVIT at no cost,” Mr Fitch said. “Not only do these items make their client’s lives easier, but also lift their spirits through the kindness of others.”

“I have experienced the GIVIT platform through my work at 12 Buckets and I know the impact donations can make. I love the work GIVIT does and I am looking forward to getting even more charities and donors on board.”

Mr Fitch grew up in challenging circumstances as a teenager, and said as someone who experienced first-hand the generosity of others to support his family, he can “wholeheartedly vouch for the importance of connecting people in need with what they need, when they need it most.”

Over the coming months, Mr Fitch will be reaching out to more WA-based charities and organisations to introduce them to GIVIT’s service available.

“I would love to see more local charities signing up to our service. It is free to use and such a great resource,” he said.

“Likewise, people who want to give can also go to our website www.givit.org.au and pledge items they have to give to someone less fortunate.”

GIVIT supports more than 140 WA charities and agencies and over the last 12 months has matched over 3000 donated items to support these local charities, proving this new way of online giving really works.

Not-for-profits, charities and agencies supporting people in need are able to source donated items by registering via: www.givit.org.au/charity-registration.

Our wonderful supporters Kidz Paradise in Western Australia are helping us once again, by acting as a drop off point for a special request from one of our much loved WA charities.

We need your help to gather good quality children’s clothes, showes, towels and toiletries for at risk children in WA’s North-West. Your donation will help motivate them to attend school by feeling included and on the same level as their peers, as well as help provide dignity and hope.

A donation of a good quality clothing will be put to immediate use to make these children feel more confident and comfortable. Likewise donations of toiletries will help reinforce important health and hygiene messages.

You can help by donating good quality used or new clothing, towels and new toiletries by clicking the below links. Our aim is to match at least 80 donations to each requested item.

Alternatively, if you are based in the Perth Metro region, all items can be dropped off directly to Kidz Paradise at 179 Planet Street, Carlisle during their normal opening hours anytime up until Friday 23rd June.

We’re looking for:

Shorts suitable for boys and girls ages 6-13 years
T-shirts for boys and girls ages 6-13 years
Sneakers the right fit for boys and girls ages 6-13 years
A variety of towels
Shampoo and soap

Thank you so much for your generosity! Every donation makes a huge difference.

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River has partnered with GIVIT to handle offers of donated goods and services to assist communities recovering after an emergency.

This is the first WA based local government authority to formally partner with GIVIT and WA State Manager, Anna Presser, said she was thrilled to lay the foundations so GIVIT can assist in the event of a fire or local tragedy.

“This partnership aims to help meet the immediate material needs of residents and reduce the number of unsolicited donations received by the local government in times of emergency,” Mrs Presser said.

“We know that Western Australians are incredibly generous and want to help.

“This can lead to a lot of well-meaning donations, however local government agencies and charities working in the effected regions can become overwhelmed and this is where GIVIT steps in.”

During times of emergencies, council and local charities request goods and services that are needed through the GIVIT website.

“Members of the general public can then view what is required and simply click to donate items and have a real impact in supporting the people effected,” Mrs Presser explained.

Shire of Augusta Margaret River Corporate and Community Services Director, Annie Riordan, said the service would take some resourcing pressure off the local government during an emergency.

“We received many wonderful donations during and immediately after the 2011 Margaret River fires but the management of items was difficult given resources were already stretched,” she said. “This partnership with GIVIT means that should we ever be in the unfortunate situation again it will be a lot easier to match donations with recipients.”

GIVIT was established in Queensland in 2009 and has since expanded nationally. Thanks to the generous support of the Bankwest Foundation, as part of their efforts to support community resilience, GIVIT is now available to help in the event of a WA based emergency.

GIVIT also, outside of emergencies, works with more than 100 charities in WA to match quality goods with the people who need them most, all via the website givit.org.au, on a daily basis.

“If you have quality pre-loved items that you would like to see go directly to someone in need visit givit.org.au and pledge your items. GIVIT acts like a virtual warehouse which charities and local government agencies can browse on behalf of their clients.

“Likewise, we would like to encourage charities to register at givit.org.au and request items for their clients,” said Mrs Presser.

“Registration for charities is also free and it is our aim to work with WA charities to help as many vulnerable Western Australians as possible.”

Mrs Presser said the more charities that register to be supported on a day to day basis in the area, the quicker GIVIT can also be pulled into action during an emergency.

“GIVIT is a service that is here to help before and after natural disasters and the more donors and charities registered to use our service, the faster we can support recovery after an emergency.”

For more information or interviews please contact Lorelei Campbell on lorelei@givit.org.au

Australian not-for-profit organisation GIVIT will be managing all donations to support Queensland communities affected by Cyclone Debbie.

In partnership with the Queensland Government GIVIT manages all offers of assistance, including cash and item donations, following disasters using its website givit.org.au.

GIVIT will also use an SMS platform for cash donations, with people able to donate simply by texting the word DEBBIE to the number 0437 371 371.

GIVIT Founder and CEO, Juliette Wright, said GIVIT is experienced in managing donations in disasters and is ready to assist any community which may be affected by Cyclone Debbie.

“GIVIT is a trusted and proven donation platform with experience in managing the donation of tens of thousands of items after disasters in Queensland,” Mrs Wright said, “and this SMS tool will mean that people can help others simply by sending a text and filling out a form on their phones.

“When running cash appeals following disasters, we guarantee that 100% of the funds received by GIVIT will be spent helping affected communities recover. GIVIT, wherever possible, purchases locally to assist recovery of the local economy.

“As people are preparing for Cyclone Debbie, I’d urge anyone who might have items or funds that could aid in recovery to give that item at givit.org.au.”

Mrs Wright said GIVIT works with frontline services to identify their exact needs and then lists them online.

“We know from past events Australians are incredibly generous and want to help people who have been devastated by disasters,” she said. “GIVIT channels this generosity and lets people know exactly what is required so recovery workers aren’t inundated by donations they don’t need.

“The recovery period from a major disaster can be months or even years and during that time, charities and other service providers working on the ground to assist are constantly updating us on exactly what’s needed.”

To see what is urgently needed in communities impacted by the cyclone, or to give your donation or offer of assistance please visit givit.org.au. If you are a local charity or service wanting to access donated goods and services, please register at givit.org.au/charity-registration.

For more information or interviews please contact Ash Moore, GIVIT’s Media Advisor on ash@givit.org.au.

Newly-arrived Iraqi refugee, Maged, has had many sleepless nights worrying that when he wakes up, he’ll find his son lying on the floor, unable to move.

Today Radmila, his case-worker from the support agency MDA, has brought him a gift via GIVIT she hopes will change all that.

Maged’s story might be considered typical of many refugees fleeing the savageries of ISIS in recent years but for the fact his son has severe cerebral palsy.

“We were evacuated from Iraq due to the situation with ISIS,” Maged said. “We went to Erbil [in Iraqi Kurdistan] and stayed there for two months.

“Our situation was quite disastrous; we were living in tents and then transferred to live in schools.

“My situation is not normal since I have a disabled child.

“It was very hard for me to leave Randy in a tent or school [and] when the weather became very hot in the summer for him, I had to sell my car, which was all I had, in order to apply and get passports and travel to Jordan.”

In Jordan, Maged and his family were met by a priest who took care of them, giving them rooms in a local church.

“I made an Egyptian friend there and he, along with the church congregation, helped us a lot, especially with Randy,” said Maged.

“Then the Church found an apartment building that they rented for a year and furnished its apartments fully for the refugee families to live in.

“I worked at a restaurant there with some friends I made.”

Eventually, the Australian Embassy opened its doors for people to apply for asylum and Maged would be overcome by the kindness of Australia.

“We applied and got an appointment for an interview after one month,” said Maged. “After six or seven months we were asked to do the medical exams and got our Visas.”

“We thank God because we are happy here, especially my son, who was very tired [in Jordan].

“When I was in Iraq I used to hear how accommodating they were in Australia to people in Randy’s case but didn’t believe it.

“Now that I’m here, I can’t believe how well [his teachers and caseworkers] treat him.

“They treat him with humanity.”

Randy’s small body is contorted and it looks like he struggles to stay comfortable.

At night he tosses and turns so his father has to pack him into bed with pillows and check on him regularly.

“One time I forgot to surround him with the pillows and in the morning when I came to get him, I found him on the floor,” Maged said. “I was crushed and my heart broken and started crying.

“When he fell out of the bed he didn’t move, he remained in the same position he fell in ‘til the morning when I found him.”

The gift brought by their case-worker, Radmila, is a hospital-grade medical bed donated through GIVIT by a company called Active Medical.

For both Randy and Maged it means something special that they’ve both lacked for so very long; a good night’s sleep.

“The bed you got for Randy will help in two things,” Maged said. “He will sleep better at night and I will be more comfortable and sleep better knowing that when he moves or turns around he will not fall.

“Instead of using pillows to sit him up, the electrical bed can easily do that – the bed goes up and down and will help me with him.

“It will mainly make him sleep better [but will] let me sleep easy all through the night ‘til morning.

“He will be safe.”

You can support Australia’s new arrivals by donating items here: http://bit.ly/2nbLw34

When you’re collecting piles of items for different charities but you don’t have a warehouse, where do you put them?

How do you make sure they’re good enough quality?

This is the story of how GIVIT’s unique Virtual Warehouse was created from my kitchen table…

When I started GIVIT I remember I only had a few charities requesting items, and I would carefully put their requests on the GIVIT website. It was so exciting in the beginning!

I was so thrilled that charities were requesting items, and that people were seeing these requests and then wanting to give them exactly what they needed. I was very fulfilled as a matchmaker of THINGS!

What surprised me though, was that there were a growing number of people who really wanted to donate a large amount of items, which charities hadn’t specifically asked for.

I was a militant giver, so I only wanted people to donate the items charities actually needed – nothing more – but how could I let all these beautiful items go?

There were donors relocating homes and offering such incredible items.

As the generosity flooded in, I started manually emailing my 15 or so registered charities the list of amazing donations on offer, and they loved it. My system was easy – it was first in best dressed!

I enjoyed the process very much but sometimes if it was a large donation (for example 10 boxes of clothing or 50 pairs of joggers), a charity might need a few of these items but not all.

Often, they wanted to split the donation with another charity. I recall one large donation of toys which was split between several charities and there would have been 20 emails sorting it all out!

I started spending a lot of my time emailing charities about the donations people had generously offered, and then sorting out multiple bulk donations with them. This was very time intensive and as I became more and more absorbed… I started to neglect the house work a little.

My husband Glen was frustrated that GIVIT was no longer automated (and the growing pile of laundry). You see, I originally created GIVIT to automatically match donations to requests. We are online matchmakers!

On the website there was a page of items requested by charities. When a donor clicked on a request they could fill out their details and offer to pledge the item needed. Then, an email was automatically sent exchanging contact details between the donor and the charity. The two then agree on a delivery option between themselves. Perfect!

But now, I wanted to let charities know everything else donors were trying to give. And I was spending hours emailing them a list of items available, then more and more hours manually matching donations.

My husband is a successful real-estate agent, and loves selling warehouses, so when we sat down together and thought about how to solve this issue – we thought about creating a “virtual warehouse”.

It would be a warehouse where people can go to the GIVIT website, fill in details about the item they want to give, click ‘submit’, and then those details are available for all charities to see.You wouldn’t need to go to a physical warehouse to see what’s there, and you wouldn’t need volunteers sorting through mountains of unwanted donations.

It means charities can login through the GIVIT website and see every single donated item available in their local area – a free online shopping list! They are also sent an (automatic!) email each week telling them what items have been offered in their area.

Items are uploaded with photos too, so that charities have a chance to judge the quality of a donation before they receive it.

Now, honestly the name Virtual Warehouse still confuses people. I might change the wording one day. But name aside, our Virtual Warehouse works brilliantly – with charities logging in every single day, seeing the list of donated items available in their local area and then gratefully accepting those donations.

The GIVIT Virtual Warehouse has now won The Australian National Innovation Award… and it was all because Glen had no clean clothes to wear!

Juliette x

The Independent Distribution Committee established to distribute funds from GIVIT’s Gold Coast Appeal has made its final release of funds to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy at Dreamworld last year.

In total $590,041.94 has been received by the Appeal with the final release by the Independent Distribution Committee on behalf of the appeal made last week.

Committee chairwoman Catherine O’Sullivan said the funds have been released on the best available advice from frontline service providers to ensure the needs of those directly impacted by the tragedy have been met.

“We’ve been told repeatedly by donors to the appeal that they wanted to make sure the families who lost loved ones, particularly those with children left behind, should be the absolute priority when it came to distributing these funds,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

“That’s what we’ve done,” she said, “We’ve made sure every cent has gone to these families on behalf of those who donated in the hope that we can at least make sure their immediate and emergent needs have been taken care of.”

CEO and Founder of GIVIT, Juliette Wright, praised the speed and integrity of the independent committee.

“This locally-led committee has acted quickly to ensure the needs of the families have been met, including in the run up to Christmas, which is an incredibly difficult time after an incident such as this,” said Mrs Wright.

“The outpouring of generosity from the Australian public and from the business community of the Gold Coast in particular to this appeal has been absolutely heart-warming and shows what a trusted donation platform GIVIT is after disasters and emergencies.”

“I want to thank everyone on the committee, as well as everyone who donated funds to this appeal, for showing once again how Australians come together to help one-another after tragedy strikes.”

The GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal has now closed with all funds received distributed.

Background

GIVIT was approached by the City of Gold Coast to be the platform for the appeal after an interagency meeting including Queensland Health and Red Cross.
Five people make up the Independent Distribution Committee:
• Catherine O’Sullivan, Pro Vice Chancellor at Bond University
• Brooke Denholder, Community Services at the City of Gold Coast
• Leisa Bourne, Director of Australian Red Cross in Queensland
• Rob Borbidge, Former Queensland Premier
• Greg Goebel, Chairman of the Board at GIVIT

Catherine O’Sullivan is the chair and sole spokesperson on behalf of the Independent Distribution Committee. The Committee has distributed 100% of the funds received by the GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy at Dreamworld. The $590,041.94 received by the GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal and distributed by the Independent Distribution Committee includes donations via Red Cross of $167,500 from Ardent Leisure’s CEO and of $157,225 from Dreamworld’s reopening weekend. GIVIT has not charged any administration fee or other costs relating to funds received through its Gold Coast Appeal.