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Photo: Lara McKinley/OxfamAUS

Frequently asked questions




How much of my donation reaches the project?

We spend at least 90% of funds raised from emergency appeals on our emergency response programs. The remaining 10% covers costs associated with advertising and promoting our appeals, operating our toll-free phone room, processing and receipting donations and audit and financial accountability. For all other combined income, over the past three years, an average of about 68 cents in every dollar has helped to fund our development programs around the world. The remainder is spent on administration and fundraising costs, or reserved for future program work. Read more about where the money goes.

Who is Oxfam?

Oxfam Australia is a member of Oxfam International, an international confederation of 21 organisations (and two observer members) working together towards a just world without poverty, with partners and local communities in 79 countries. We are a Public Benevolent Institution (ABN 18 055 208 636).

Why does Oxfam Australia campaign?

We believe in the full and equal rights of all human beings and seek to help people whose rights are denied for reasons of poverty, discrimination or injustice.

Many of the reasons poverty and injustice exist are linked to the policies and practices of governments, global organisations or businesses. By engaging with governments and corporations through discussions, campaigns and advocacy, and by working with local communities, we seek to bring about change to ensure people’s rights are respected.

Does Oxfam Australia have any political or religious affiliations?

We are an independent development organisation and carry out our work free from party-political or religious agendas. We have no membership or affiliation to any political party or religion. Learn more about our Welfare Religious and Partisan Political Activities Policy.

Where does Oxfam Australia work?

Oxfam Australia works in a number of countries around the world. More detail on our work in particular countries can be found in the countries where we work section of the site.

What is Oxfam Australia trying to do?

We are working to create a world that is free of poverty and the inequality that causes poverty. We support people’s right to live in a just world where they can exercise their basic rights:

  • the right to live and security
  • the right to a sustainable livelihood
  • the right to be heard
  • the right to have an identity
  • the right to have access to essential services. We work to achieve these rights for everyone.

Specifically, we strive to:

  • save lives before, during, and after humanitarian crises
  • work locally with people and communities to support their development and influence policies and practices that will reduce poverty
  • influence governments, institutions and businesses to develop and implement laws, policies and practices that help people rise out of poverty.

Does Oxfam Australia have a child sponsorship program?

No. Our projects focus on communities rather than individuals. We consider this a more effective and efficient approach for long-term developmental outcomes. However, you can make regular monthly contributions to support our project work.

How does Oxfam Australia select projects?

Our strategic plan contains six goals to change the world: The right to be heard; Gender justice, Saving lives, now and in the future; Sustainable food; Fair sharing of natural resources; and Finance for development.
Our operational plans are based on these goals, and we undertake regional and country level planning to determine projects that will help us to achieve these goals. We take into account issues such as the environment, women, culture, community power structures, the local economy, existing resources and relationships that affect poverty, and we identify underlying vulnerability as well as potential risks.

We work with local partner organisations and communities as well as key staff within the organisation to identify the best way of delivering each project so that we achieve the maximum impact.

You can support a specific project or several development projects through our monthly giving programs.

How is a project designed?

We work with community members and project partners on project design and management. Communities are consulted to ensure their needs and priorities form the core of the project and are engaged as fully as possible in the project design process. This process involves identifying stakeholders and their interests; analysing the causes of poverty and injustice; identifying the positive changes communities would like to achieve; assessing capacity to undertake the project; and developing a detailed project plan.

How does Oxfam Australia determine whether a project is effective?

We continually monitor and evaluate each project to determine its impact and effectiveness. This involves reporting on a financial and project basis, regularly visiting sites, annually conducting field office and partner audits, and conducting formal evaluations of the project. We ensure that we always collect and analyse feedback from community members so we genuinely understand how the project has helped to improve people’s lives and what we could have done better.

Are the projects sustainable?

All our projects are designed to empower community members and improve their capacity to meet their own needs so that after we leave the benefits of projects continue. We make sure the needs, preferences and beliefs of community members are central to the project design and planned outcomes. Community members are trained in key skills and often provide labour and materials, giving them a sense of ownership of the project. In this way we work to make projects sustainable, although unforeseen events such as political instability can sometimes undermine our work.

Does Oxfam Australia work with other charities?

Before we begin a project, campaign or emergency response, we consider what other international aid agencies are doing so that our work will complement existing efforts. We work together when a collaborative approach will increase our effectiveness, such as the study we have conducted with World Vision Australia and the Australian Red Cross into combined logistics operations for emergencies. We also collaborate with organisations on campaign initiatives.

We are a part of the Close the Gap coalition of more than 40 organisations, working for Indigenous health equality and are among some 60 organisations working together on the Make Poverty History campaign.

How are campaigns funded?

Our campaigns in Australia are funded by non-tax-deductable income received from supporters and organisations who wish to support our campaigning for change.

How does Oxfam Australia work?

Operating at all levels — from individual households to global forums — Oxfam Australia strives to:

  • save lives before, during, and after humanitarian crises
  • work locally with people and communities to support their development and influence policies and practices that will reduce poverty
  • influence governments, institutions and businesses to develop and implement laws, policies and practices that help people rise out of poverty.

We also run humanitarian appeals — to which the Australian public responds generously — and successful campaigns to mobilise Australians to take positive action to bring about change. The success of much of our work is thanks to our diverse and committed supporters and volunteers.

We work with hundreds 
of program partners: small and large organisations that work locally to deliver programs that help to save lives and tackle poverty and injustice in practical and innovative ways.

I received an email offering me money and requesting personal details, claiming to be from Oxfam. Is it legitimate and should I respond?

No. Oxfam’s supporters should be aware of internet scams, which may involve hoax emails claiming to be from Oxfam Great Britain and other charitable institutions. If you do receive a hoax email, Oxfam Australia advises to delete it without responding. If you are unsure of whether the email you received is a hoax then here are a few simple questions to ask yourself:

Does the email address of the sender’s email end in

Oxfam Australia will only ever send emails from addresses ending in and never from accounts such as hotmail, yahoo or gmail.

Does the email offer you money?

Oxfam Australia will never offer people money via email.

Is the email poorly written?

Poor expression generally characterises hoax emails, so if the email you’ve received is poorly written, it may be a hoax.

Recently, a text message variation of the email scam has been reported. Again, please do not share your details even if they promise you significant amounts of money.

If you are still unsure, please feel free to contact our Supporter Services team on Freecall 1800 088 110.

Does Oxfam Australia subscribe to a code of conduct?

Oxfam Australia is an accredited signatory to the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Code of Conduct for Non Government Development Organisations (NGDOs). This code of conduct defines standards of governance, management, financial control and reporting with which NGDOs should comply, and identifies mechanisms to ensure accountability in NGDOs use of public monies.

We are also committed to the following codes of conduct:

What if I don’t want to donate online

We also accept donations over the phone by calling Freecall 1800 088 110 during business hours (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday AEST).

How do I make a change to my regular gift?

Thank you very much for your generous support of Oxfam Australia through a monthly gift. Your ongoing contribution is helping to change lives every day by providing communities with clean water, enough food to eat, an education, safety from violence and the chance to grow and thrive. If you would like to update your credit card details or if are unable to maintain your current contribution or need to cancel, please contact our Customer Service Team on 1800 088 110 to discuss options.

How do I give feedback or make a complaint about Oxfam Australia?

Oxfam Australia enables you to provide feedback or lodge a complaint against the organisation by email, phone (1800 088 110) or mail. Feedback and complaints will be directed to the relevant department for consideration and resolution. We will be reviewing and updating our feedback and complaints handling processes over the coming year as part of our continuous improvement program. For more information, please read our Feedback and complaints policy — programs partners and beneficiaries and our Supporter compliments and complaints handling procedure.


Can I work as a volunteer in an Oxfam Australia office?

Yes! Oxfam’s offices are located in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Office volunteers support Oxfam in a variety of ways from research, supporter engagement, project management support to human resources, there’s something for everyone. Find out more about volunteering with Oxfam.

Can I volunteer from home/remotely?

Oxfam operates a national volunteering program and as such, many of our office volunteer roles can be completed from home/remotely.

You can find out if a role can be completed remotely by viewing the position description/terms of reference which is developed for every advertised role. 

Can I volunteer overseas?

We do not have an overseas volunteer program as we support the work of local people and organisations – encouraging community participation and building local capacity.

Can I volunteer if I work full time?

Yes. There are several ways you can use your time and skills to support our work. Many of our office roles are flexible and can be completed at a time that works for you and your schedule.

We understand that your time is precious, so we suggest that before undertaking any volunteer position that you find out any relevant role requirements in advance.

What skills or experience do I need to volunteer?

You don’t need any specialised skills to volunteer. Volunteers at Oxfam come from a diverse range of backgrounds, professions, and ages with a wide range of skills and experiences – volunteering is open to everyone.

Does Oxfam accept interns?

We have limited capacity to accept interns. We accept a small number of applications from tertiary students interested in undertaking a placement with us, but we do not accept a set intake each year. All internship positions are arranged and appointed on an as-needs basis. Specific internship positions may be occasionally advertised at universities. You can find out more about internships at Oxfam here.

We do not accept work experience students.

Why does Oxfam engage volunteers?

Throughout Oxfam Australia’s history, voluntary activity has been a hallmark of the way that the agency has undertaken its work. The level and nature of voluntary involvement has been a distinguishing feature of the agency compared to many other non-government development agencies. Volunteerism is part of our commitment to community engagement and an impactful way for people to get involved with our organisation and work.

I’m an overseas visitor. Can I volunteer in Australia?

All people volunteering for us must be eligible to work in Australia in accordance with the Department of Home Affairs guidelines.

It is the responsibility of volunteers to ensure that they are eligible to volunteer in Australia. If you are from overseas, you must ensure your visa type allows volunteer activity. For more information visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

If you are currently based overseas, you may wish to consider volunteering with one of Oxfam International’s other 20 affiliates. Visit their website to see available positions.