Which chronic disease charity should I donate to?

This analysis reflects our 2018 recommendations. Subscribe now for updates.

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In Australia, there is no escaping chronic disease. In fact, more than 11 million Australians reported having at least one chronic disease in 2014-15.* These types of diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, back pain, and mental health conditions, are the leading cause of death in Australia. Sadly, many of us have lost friends and relatives to these illnesses.

Which charity should you donate to if you want to help minimise the impact of chronic disease in Australia? The Good Cause Co. have evaluated some of our country's largest chronic disease charities to help answer this question**:

Which charity should I donate to?

Only one charity we evaluated achieves our “Donate with Confidence” recommendation: Movember. We all know Movember for their  successful fundraising campaigns, but our evaluation finds that they’re good at a lot more than just raising money. They are also trustworthy and extremely effective at achieving their mission goals for  tackling prostate cancer.

What separates Movember from the rest is that they provide strong evidence that they are on the path towards achieving a solution for prostate cancer. Many organisations that undertake or fund medical research avoid tracking the effectiveness of their research grants because they don’t think it’s possible.

Movember however, have worked with a team of scientists to develop an evaluation framework that allows them to monitor the progress of the research they fund. Furthermore, they analyse the results of their research programs and refine their grants strategy to increase the effectiveness of their funding. Importantly, Movember shares this evaluation framework to demonstrate to other organisations who fund research, how outcome measurement and strategic investment in research is possible.

Which charities should I avoid?

There is one charity that we give a “Do Not Donate” recommendation to: Cancer Council Australia. Unlike other charities in this list, who describe what they do and how they are operated, it is difficult to understand, even at a basic level, what Cancer Council Australia does. Most critically, there are unexplained gaps in their financial reports that make it impossible to understand how they raise funds and where any fundraising money is directed.

What about the rest?

The rest get our “Donate” recommendation. This means they provide basic information that demonstrates that they are trustworthy and effective. However, they need to do more for us to have confidence that donations will be spent wisely. In most cases, this will involve tackling the problem that Movember has worked hard to overcome: developing a strategic investment program that can be evaluated for its effectiveness. 

The Good Cause Co.’s “Should I Give To…” provides independent evaluations of Australia’s largest charities. We will be publishing over 50 critical reviews of charities that are seeking your donation. It’s time to find out which Australian charities are the star performers!

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*Source: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-statistics/health-conditions-disability-deaths/chronic-disease/overview

** Note: mental health charities will be presented separately