Red Cross Appeal 2020 FAQs

Why is Red Cross raising funds to respond to disasters or crisis?

We’re raising funds during our 2020 annual appeal to help Kiwis affected by disaster or crisis. A natural disaster can change a person’s life in an instant – but so can you. Money raised during our Red Cross Appeal will directly fund disaster response and recovery in New Zealand. It will allow us to help people who need it most during times of crisis and disaster.

We know disasters will continue to happen. 2019 was a tough year. Together we faced fires in Nelson, mosque attacks in Christchurch, flooding across the South Island and the Whakaari/White Island eruption. In all of these events, New Zealand Red Cross people were there helping those affected. We are seeing an increase in frequency and intensity of weather-related disasters (often due to climate change), ongoing international health emergencies and terror threats. 2020 and beyond will be just as busy. We can’t predict when disaster will strike, but we can be ready.   

We have a responsibility to be ready. As a mandated emergency response organisation working alongside Civil Defence, New Zealand Red Cross needs to be ready to help when disaster strikes, so it is our responsibility to ensure we fundraise to have the resources we need to respond. While we often fundraise once emergencies happen, being prepared and having funding and resources already in place for immediate response is critical and lifesaving.   

As a charity we rely on kind caring and compassionate Kiwis who donate money or volunteer their time. You can help during Red Cross Appeal by donating or by volunteering for our street collection. Every little bit helps.

How will this money help people in need during/after a disaster?

We’re raising funds during our 2020 annual appeal to help Kiwis affected by disaster or crisis. When a disaster or crisis strikes, the immediate physical needs are easy to see. However, emotional and mental needs are sometimes overlooked or addressed at a later stage of the response. Our experience responding to multiple disasters around the world and across New Zealand tells us that these needs must be addressed early on. However, we also know that we need funding long term to continue to support people impacted by the disaster or crisis long after the physical event is over.

Our trained volunteers have an important role of looking for these needs and addressing them. On the ground, they become a friendly ear, a source of information, an intermediate between other responding agencies and affected communities, as well as a reassurance to the people that someone cares and is taking action to meet their needs. Alongside providing psychosocial support in a disaster or crisis, Red Cross can intervene through first aid, welfare support, ground-level rescue, triage, relief distribution, cash grants, and so much more. Our response always depends on the immediate and long-term needs of the affected community.

Read stories on our recent responses:

Red Cross has lots of money. Why do you need an appeal?

New Zealand Red Cross is a charity. While we do receive some government funding for specific services, it never covers all of the costs involved, nor does it cover all of the different services we provide. With ever-increasing need in our communities in New Zealand and around the world, there are always more ways we could help – if we had the funding. The more money we can raise, the more we can help.

New Zealand Red Cross has decades of experience responding to a range of disasters including earthquakes, flooding, volcanic activity and fires. We have learnt lessons from these emergencies, particularly about long-term recovery needs. We know it’s important to be prepared.

How much money raised in this appeal will go to admin costs?

Funds raised through Red Cross Appeal will directly fund disaster response and recovery in New Zealand. As part of any disaster response, operating costs are vital. Operating costs mean things like setting up an emergency grants process to get funds to people quickly and securely; training emergency response volunteers and paying for their travel to get to the people who need help; paying the salary of an HR Advisor who is organising deployments to affected areas; running a safe and secure website for people to donate through or provide people with the opportunity to volunteer and show their support of those affected by disasters; to have a social media presence that is trusted and relied upon source of information for those seeking support after an emergency or wanting to enquire and comment. This strong and professional infrastructure ensures we have positive impact in the communities and provide the help they need. 

Operating costs are not covered solely by caring members of the public donating to us. We have other funding streams such as first aid courses and products, our Red Cross Shops, corporate partners and government funding to help cover our operating expenses, ensuring that more of the income received through fundraising goes a long way to helping those who need it most.

Information on our income streams and expenses are available in our annual reports and through Charities Services.

More unanswered questions?

If you have more questions about our Red Cross appeal and wish more information, contact the communications team on or 04 495 0139.

Australian bushfires

Isn't there lots of anger about what Australian Red Cross has done with funds raised for bushfire victims?

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of incorrect information shared online about Australian Red Cross’ response to the bushfires. We are keen to clear up any misinformation, so please give us a call if you have any concerns. We’d also encourage you to read Australian Red Cross’ detailed funding plan on their website.

But Australian Red Cross is not giving money to victims, aren't they keeping it for themselves?

That is untrue – none of the money raised will sit idle. As at the end of February 2020, Australian Red Cross has allocated:

  • $61.5 million for immediate cash relief for affected communities
  • $40 million for mid- to long-term support to help people facing financial hardship to rebuild their destroyed homes
  • $18 million for recovery programmes in affected communities for at least the next three years
  • $5 million for Red Cross emergency teams of staff and volunteers to respond to emergencies, helping people with practical and emotional support
  • The balance of funds, approx. $25.5 million, will be allocated for unmet and emerging needs.

Experience from a range of long-term disaster response tells us that needs are complex and evolve over time. By ensuring that funds are allocated now while retaining some for the future, Australian Red Cross can continue to assess, adapt and respond to emerging needs to support people over the long term. Because needs change over time, ensuring that an adaptable recovery plan is in place is important.

Australian Red Cross has a voluntary advisory panel, which meets regularly to help them make decisions on how bushfire funds are spent.