I dont’ want beggars – bullshit

Ok, maybe the header got you – fingers crossed it has, because this is a subject I’m furious about.

Recently Wellington City Council said it didn’t want beggars on its doorstep and instead would be installing donation boxes, Palmerston North council have also been discussing it, now the Auckland Council are looking at going down the same path.

One word that sums this up is bullshit.

Bullshit – why? Simple, there’s three professions that have been around since creation – design, prostitution and begging – yes, begging is a profession look at any charity putting their hand out – they’re doing nothing more than begging, they’re asking for help. No different really to the people we see on the street asking for a handout.

Sure, some will say church donation etc are different to begging, but are they really? I guess the only difference is that they’re not on the street asking – oops, but they are.

Next, no on should be in the position to ask for help, there’s Government help – um, lets go back to the heading Bullshit, or for those overly sensitive – bovine excrement.

Not everyone can get the help they need through Government help (read WINZ), not everyone who needs help has the required identification, address etc needed – so what are these people meant to do. Shop lift to live?

Sure, do away with begging, but will the Auckland and other councils foot the insurance bills of retailers who are left out of pocket? My guess is that, no, they want.

Instead of banning begging, all councils should be talking with all agencies in the area to see what can be done to help alleviate the need to beg. Is it more assistance to agencies helping those in need, is it more lobbying of central Government or is it working with local business to see if the local busisness community can help?

Oh, and why didn’t I hear about this stupid idea of the Auckland Council until today – mmm learn to communicate. There’s been nothing in your local news info, nor have I seen/heard anything on local TV/Radio – reach the people where they are.

NZ Charity Sector – A Snapshot

The following is from the Charities Commission 


Snapshot of the charitable sector – three year view

The Charities Register holds an absolute treasure trove of information about charities, provided by charities.  Using the Advanced Search function, you can find out almost anything you might want to know about the charitable sector, and the role it plays in New Zealand society.

We recently made a search of all charities, as at 31 October 2010. 2011 and 2012, to find out how the sector’s income, expenditure, staffing and volunteering might have changed over the past three years.  This is what the Charities Register provided to us:


Sector income / expenditure Figures drawn from the 20,029Annual Returns filed by registered charities with a gross income of more than $0 in the year to 31 October 2010 Figures drawn from the 21,151Annual Returns filed by registered charities with a gross income of more than $0 in the year to 31 October 2011 Figures drawn from the14,181 Annual Returns filed by registered charities with a gross income of more than $0 in the year to 31 October 2012
  Total $ Total $ Total $
Government grants/contracts

4.8 billion

5.6 billion

2.8 billion

1 billion

1.2 billion

0.8 billion

Income from service provision 5 billion
5.5 billion
3.1 billion

Total gross income

Note: this figure includes other income, such as investment income and dividends

14 billion
15.6 billion
8.7 billion
Total expenditure 13 billion
14.3 billion
8 billion

Top 10 charities by donations/koha


NOTE: some of these entities are registered as a “group” – they include more than one entity, but are registered as a single charitable organisation and file a combined Annual Return.  See theCharities Register for entities’ Annual Returns.

National Assistance Fund

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Trust Board

Harbourside Church Property Trust

Samoan Methodist Churches Of Samoa (Levin Parish) In New Zealand

The Salvation Army New Zealand Group

Roman Catholic Diocese of Auckland Group

New Zealand Red Cross Incorporated

Seventh Day Adventist Church in New Zealand 2

The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund

The Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust

New Zealand Red Cross Incorporated

Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Trust Board

The Salvation Army New Zealand Group

National Assistance Fund

The Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust

Roman Catholic Diocese of Auckland Group

Seventh Day Adventist Church in New Zealand 2

Hugh Green Foundation

C.L.C Auckland Trust Board

Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Trust Board

Hugh Green Foundation

Roman Catholic Diocese of

Auckland Group
The University of

Seventh Day Adventist Church in New Zealand 2

The Diocese Of Auckland

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia -Diocese of Wellington

The University Of Auckland Foundation

City Impact Church

Sector staff and volunteers Figures drawn from the 20,029Annual Returns filed by registered charities with a gross income of more than $0 in the year to 31 October 2010 Figures drawn from the 21,151Annual Returns filed by registered charities with a gross income of more than $0 in the year to 31 October 2011 Figures drawn from the14,181 Annual Returns filed by registered charities with a gross income of more than $0 in the year to 31 October 2012

Full time paid employees




Part time paid employees




(average number per week)




Average volunteer hours / week




Average paid hours / week




Donor Letters – I’m on the Hunt

Having spent what could be hours reading donor – appeal – letters, and seeing many that have made me cringe; I thought I’d put the call out for examples of letter you may have received, or if you’re an organisation sending out letters – why not send me a sample or two of your own.

When I see letters that are all about the organisation and little if anything about the importance of donors I wonder where the authors head was. 

Telling stories in letters, showing how the donor helped, how the donors support is important, is important. Bragging that the CEO won some golf tournament, that the CFO had been to a conference in some exotic location doesn’t interest me, and I’m sure doesn’t interest most; it’s more likely to raise questions about the use of money donated.

Donors want to know where their support has helped, how they can help in the future – impacts that the organisation are having in their area of work are important, those are the stories to be using to engage and encourage continuing support from donors.

So back to my request – please if you have any letters you’re willing to share, please do – scan them, or if they’re an e-letter forward to me charitymattersnz@gmail.com.

What will I do with the letters, probably have a bonfire – no seriously, I want to see what’s out there, and from what I see I’ll include comment in an upcoming conference I’m speaking at on fundraising, and will also likely use some for a blog – or ten.

So if you have letters you don’t mind sending through – send to charitymattersnz@gmail.com by 10 October if you can – and thanks in advance.

Important – no personal information will be used in either the presentation or blog, you’re confidentially is guaranteed. 


Charities and increased overheads

We’re seeing the cost of electricity, postage, council rates and more going up, how will this impact on what charities are able to deliver? 

A recent newspaper article explained who a charity shop was set to face a 700% increase in council rates, how can anyone adjust to having such a sizeable increase without it impacting on their ‘bottom line’, they can’t and for a charity basing its income on earnings from a shop this can be crippling.

Now NZ Post has announced postal rate increases, the second sizeable increase in a about two years, taking the rate for a standard letter to 70 cents. Sure there are special rates for bulk items and there’s is a community post subsidy/grant charities can apply for, but age number who receive this are minimal compared to the number of nonprofit organisations in the country. 

Power companies have announced increases in supply charges due to take effect over the next few months, with some indicating that this could be an increase of as much as ten percent.

For some it mightn’t be unrealistic for them to face all three increases, how can the expect to be able to continue delivering their services at the same level?

Charities were affected by the recent recession and had to tighten their belts, now they’re having to do it again.

It’s accepted that business need to remain profitable, but major increases can have a negative impact on them as well as thier customer.

How can charities manage these increases? 

There could be ways to manage them, reduce postage items – recommend to supporters that they opt to receive communicating via email is one way, reducing the number of newsletters is another – but, this could have a detrimental effect, as supporters can be encouraged to support and support more often based on the number of communications they receive.  

It has to be remembered too that not all supporters of charities have access to internet even though it’s said that 70-80% of the population has internet access, older supporters may not. 

Could landlords be approached for rent reductions or rent holidays, possibly, but landlords need to eat too and not all of them are not in a position to reduce rents as they too are likely facing increases too. 

Rates relief can be applied for, but with added pressures on councils can they add to the growing list of organisations seeking assistance?

When it comes to electricity perhaps charities could switch to using a service such as Powershop to get the best rates for their electricity consumption, costs. 

These increases will likely result in more grant/funding applications to community organisations, gaming machine trusts but these themselves revealing funding issues and don’t have the capacity or reserves to meet current applicant requests let alone an increase in the numbers applying.

It  will take some careful planning, and perhaps some out of the box thinking for charities affected by increases to find solutions, but they will, in the mean time they should be looking at general ways to reduce overheads so as to not to effect the service les they offer. 

What can supporters, or for that matter the general public do, support more, give more – if able, but like charities these too will be facing increases in their outgoing. Next is to lobby local council to urge them to reconsider rate and other increases, local MPs should also be lobbied to urge them to stand up for organizations working in their electorate.

Is your nonprofit facing rent, rates, power or other increases – what will you do to lessen the impact these may have on your ability to deliver your services? 

How New Zealanders Give

After often being asked about how New Zealanders give I thought I’d start publishing the data on here. 

As we know New Zealanders are a generous lot, we support others in the community either through time, money or goods and services, the following report highlights some of these areas. 

Key Findings

Since the December 2009 quarter, the percentages of people volunteering, donating money or donating goods have generally trended upwards. Median dollars donated per month have remained stable. Similarly, median hours volunteered per month have remained stable, but there may be a slight downward trend emerging, which is not immediately obvious from the indicator.

Quarterly Generosity Indicators


Quarter ending














Percentage of people who volunteered









Median hours volunteered per month 

8 hrs

10 hrs

10 hrs

10 hrs

10 hrs

8 hrs

10 hrs

11 hrs

Percentage of people who donated money









Median dollars donated per month









Percentage of people who donated goods









Note 1: Percentages are of the estimated population aged 10 years and older for each quarter.

Note 2: Respondents were asked to recall their behaviours in the previous three months.

Full report below:

Source: Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector 



Help comes from all quarters


Since the Christchurch earthquake on the 22nd of September, help has been coming in from all quarters, international aid agencies, international search and rescue specialists; local and central Government, big business, small business and individuals.

We know that this support is needed and appreciated, what is getting to people is the sincerity, the passion behind the giving.

Hearts and wallets are opening to the needs of the people of Christchurch and surrounding areas.

Christchurch, will take years to recover from this disaster, and all of New Zealand are feeling the loss that the city has had, and the losses it will face for years to come. 

Individuals and organisations are gathering items to sell on TradeMe. Retailers are donating the proceeds of sales of goods, and Community groups the length and breadth of the country are holding events, fundraisers or other activities to raise support and help for the people of Christchurch. 

Mums and dads are opening their homes to strangers, offering a bed, meals and other support to people displaced by the quake. People have posted on Twitter that they couldn’t bear the continued aftershocks and just wanted out – which has been met with offers of airfares and accommodations. 

Businesses unrelated to Christchurch have been offering to take on work, others have been offering office space – all out of the goodness of their heart. 

We’ve all heard about the work of the “student army” of volunteers helping with the clean up. 

The Rangiora Express has been delivering food into affected areas by helicopter. 

People who have been ‘conscripted’ to do overtime to cover staff in affected areas are offering overtime wages to the earthquake appeal. 

Bake sales are continuing to be held, sewing and knitting groups are doing what they can to help out. 

It seems there’s no end to the imagination people are putting into ways they can help. Perhaps the devastation in Christchurch has brought New Zealand closer together as one large community; parochialism has taken a back seat. 

If you’re looking for a way you can help, just take a look at what others are doing, and do something similar in your area. 

Money is what is needed, and if you’re in Auckland you can get a donation bucket for your business –pop into the electorate office of local MP Jacinda Ardern (86 College Hill, Ponsonby, Auckland) and collect one. Jacinda’s office is open from 9-5. All money raised in these buckets will be given to the NZ Red Cross Appeal. 

Check the NZ Herald site for other ways you can help. 

When disaster strikes, no matter where in the world you are, be assured that the connections you have, the friends you have will tap into their resources to help; they will hear you in your time of need and use their networks to help, and where possible New Zealand will be there to help where it can. 

We’re a global community and as a community we need to do all we can to offer support. The New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, has launched a global fundraising appeal – the need for help is so great that all avenues are being used to raise awareness and help. 

If there’s anything you can do to help, it will be appreciate, help will be needed for the weeks, months and possibly years to come. Spread the word among your connections. 

When you need help I’ll be watching to see how I can help. 



Image: Courtesy of mattinbgn

When disaster strikes, support is needed



I posted the following on Socialize Your Cause, to share with people around the globe the story of the devastation caused by last Tuesday’s earthquake.

On Tuesday 22 February the New Zealand city of Christchurch was hit by a devastating earthquake, 6.3 on the Richter scale; bringing destruction and death by natural disaster the country hasn’t seen in recent memory.

New Zealand with a population of about 4.7 million, has been reeling since news of the quake. Christchurch one of the main cities, with a population of around 500,000 was getting back to normal after an earthquake on the 4th of September 2010.

The earthquake of 22 February struck as people were on their lunch break -12:51pm, and has caused a large section of the central business district to be shut down by cordons as police and rescue workers from across the globe search for survivors.