Red Cross Ambassador Alex van Os wants shopaholics to consider a more sustainable approach to clothes by shopping at Red Cross shops.
Alex Van Os


Volunteers are the backbone of our organisation and this year almost 20,000 volunteers generously gave their time to improve the lives of others. Whether it was making a daily Telecross phone call to elderly residents living alone or leaving behind jobs and family to travel to cyclone-devastated Far North Queensland, our dedicated volunteers were there when needed.

This year we simplified our processes to make it easier to volunteer: people can register their interest in future roles and also volunteer for one-off activities. Visit our new volunteering section.

Members and young humanitarians

Our members are powerful and trusted advocates who contribute to the needs of their communities. Members advocate for us in their networks, volunteer with our programs and in Red Cross shops, raise money to support our work and drive local activities. As of 30 June 2017, we had 17,486 members, slightly down on last year.

Most of our members – about 70% – belong to community branches, units and clubs with independent and youth memberships increasing. We will continue to diversify our membership base and build on our engagement with younger members.

Members are crucial in our Strategy 2020 goal of building an inclusive, diverse and active humanitarian movement based on voluntary service. Our members are ideally positioned to help us achieve this goal with an existing footprint in many communities.

Blood donors

This year, with the help of 461,268 volunteer blood donors, the nation’s blood supply was assured. We welcomed 97,635 new blood and plasma donors and sent text messages to 25,000 weekly donors, thanking them and telling them where their blood had helped. We strive to make donating blood a positive experience and this year 93.2% rated their experience as satisfactory or better.


As we continue to build an inclusive and diverse organisation, we engaged six young Indigenous people under our partnership with Career Trackers. We also participated in the Indigenous Employee Program with 20 trainees appointed. Of these, 14 completed the full 12 months with seven obtaining further employment with Red Cross. We have over 5,600 staff across the humanitarian and blood service divisions, comprising 75% females and 25% males. We are proud that 18% of our staff are aged 30 and younger.

Aid workers

Our aid workers are deployed to crisis situations across the globe, from the ongoing civil war in Syria to the famine and drought in East Africa, where some 27 million people face starvation. They also equip communities to be prepared by establishing clean water supplies, building sanitation solutions and teaching hygiene measures.

Five Australian Red Cross aid workers received the Florence Nightingale Medal, awarded for exceptional courage and devotion to the sick, wounded or disabled in conflict and disaster zones.

Brisbane-based Ruth Jebb ran a feeding clinic for thousands of malnourished children in Sudan, working desperately to save dying children in some of the world’s worst conditions.

WA nurse Anne Carey and Barbara McMaster, from Brisbane, worked to contain the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone while Sydney nurse Catherine Salmon has provided critical care in some of the world’s most dangerous regions, including Afghanistan, Sudan and Yemen.

Catherine Fry, who has worked with Red Cross for 14 years and been on many missions, most recently coordinated the delivery of health care for children and mothers in Darfur, Sudan.

Our aid worker Jess Lees, who was deployed to Somaliland, promoted our East Africa Food Crisis Appeal through our media campaign which reached 12.4 million people.


Our ambassadors volunteer their time to raise awareness of our work through supporting our major campaigns, attending events and speaking engagements, and engaging with our clients and volunteers.

Some of the highlights from this year include celebrity chef Adrian Richardson appearing on Channel 9’s The Today Show Celebrity Charity Bowl Off who won $10,000 towards our programs.

Eco-stylist Alex van Os attended several Red Cross shop openings where she provided styling advice and gave our volunteers a make-over. Pioneering orthopaedic surgeon A/Prof Munjed Al Muderis and retired aid worker Bob Handby featured in our Bequest campaign and author and former refugee Abdi Aden was the keynote speaker at bequest engagement events in Sydney and Melbourne. Abdi also raised awareness of our East Africa Food Crisis Appeal by sharing a personal story about his journey as a Somali refugee coming to Australia.

Melbourne Demons AFL player Neville Jetta participated in one of our programs at the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre where he played friendly games of sport with clients to help them feel connected to the community.

TV personality Kate Ritchie also kindly lent her voice to a video for a joint Uber, Nova and Red Cross campaign to promote a Red Cross Shop Clothing Drive, which reached more than 1.5 million people on social media. Food guru Maggie Beer generated social media support for our FoodRedi program, which was seen by more than 63,000 of her Twitter followers.

We said farewell to Julie McCrossin as a Red Cross ambassador. We thank her very much for her dedication and support and wish her well for the future.

We thank the following people for their support as Red Cross ambassadors this year:

  • Patron: His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret'd)
  • Abdi Aden
  • A/Prof Munjed al Muderis
  • Chris Bath
  • Maggie Beer
  • Pamela Clark
  • Dianne Collins
  • Rowie Dillon
  • Anna Gare
  • Bob Handby
  • Neville Jetta
  • Stefano Manfredi
  • Prof. Melanie Oppenheimer
  • Adrian Richardson
  • Kate Ritchie
  • Andrew Rochford
  • Alex van Os
  • Poh Ling Yeow