Donor fatigue, reported as a “general weariness and diminished public response to requests for aid to needy people or donations to charitable causes” is something many people in the charitable sector often think about.

Fortunately, in Australia, social entrepreneurs are stepping up to do what they can to unleash “the bloody ripper Aussie goodness”. The site lists many ways Australians can help each other.

Of course, cash is king so the charitable and financial sector are working together to collect donations; the Australian equivalent of the SPCA is working with Australians to help pets, livestock and wildlife. There are ways to donate goods, resources and provide accommodation through matching services between those in need and those who can give. There are ways to donate your flight and shopping points and of course, opportunities to volunteer.

But one of my favourite ways comes from social entrepreneur, Tina Jensen, a member at the new HUB Melbourne. Tina wanted to create a different way to help flood victims so she organized a voucher donation program with major retailers. Vouchers or gift cards, allow people to get what they really need, instead of what those with the best of intentions may donate.

Now, not to annoy the generous people in your life who gave you gift cards over the holidays, but if you happen to receive one you don’t think you will use, consider donating here to someone who could use it.

Donor fatigue only comes about when we stop using our imagination on different ways we can help each other. The needs are great, but our ability to help, when we all learn to think differently, is greater.

Allyson Hewitt

Allyson is the JW McConnell Family Foundation Senior Fellow, Social Innovation at MaRS, where she has been leading the SiG@MaRS program; advising social entrepreneurs; building the social innovation ecosystem; and incubating successful programs such as the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, the MaRS Solutions Lab and Studio Y. See more…