Which emergency services charity should I donate to?

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


In Australia, we're lucky enough to have access to high quality emergency assistance, no matter where we are. Whether you find yourself ’re out in the ocean, in the middle of the desert, or at the top of a remote mountain range, there is an emergency service that will come to your aid if you're  in trouble.

However, providing these services is not easy or cheap. So, who should you donate to if you want to ensure that this quality of emergency service continues across Australia?

The Good Cause Co. has evaluated three of Australia’s largest emergency services to help answer this question:

Which of these charities is the best?

Of this list, there is no charity that demonstrates they are outstanding. They all achieve our ‘Donate’ recommendation. This means they seem generally trustworthy, and can demonstrate they are mostly effective. However, they need to provide further information in order for us to recommend with confidence.

So, who should I give to?

To decide which emergency service charity to donate to, think about the kinds of services that are important to you:

  • Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia provides health services to those in rural and remote areas.

  • Surf Life Saving Australia focuses on boosting awareness of water safety, drowning prevention, and provides rescue services in coastal areas.

  • CareFlight retrieve seriously hurt patients from emergency sites, and send specialist doctors and nurses to accident and disaster scenes.

When giving to these charities, keep in mind that donations typically do not directly fund emergency services. These charities receive substantial government contracts to deliver such services. Donations, rather, allow each charity to pursue other activities, like raising awareness, delivering training, or undertaking research. 

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!