Bigger Charities in New Zealand Get More Bequests: What Can Others Do?

Bigger Charities in New Zealand Get More Bequests: What Can Others Do?


Two key findings from recent research into Charities in New Zealand* show that smaller organisations rely more on Government contracts, and larger organisations have greater income from bequests.


Analysis of the weight of Bequests in the fundraising income

Smaller organisations with a “fundraising income” (donations, bequests, grants and sponsorships) of less than $100,000pa receive 81% of their income from Government grants and contracts. This compares to 60% from Government for medium sized organisations ($100k – $999k), and 51% for large organisations (over $1m fundraising income).

small NZ Organisations fundraising income


Of special interest to CEOs, Boards and fundraisers is an analysis of and closer look at fundraising income itself from these three groupings. The small organisations show an almost even split between donations (51%), grants (47%), and only 2% bequest income. Understandable as most have no staff to do fundraising or promote bequests.

Medium organisations do a little better overall with 55% donations, 40% from grants, and 5% from bequests.

The larger organisations, many with better-resourced fundraising operations show correspondingly better results.


large NZ Organisations fundraising income

Further analysis also shows that excluding those organisations with no bequest income or those not engaging in ‘fundraising’, the remainder shows average income of 55% from donations, 25% from grants and 20% from bequests. Obviously, some have much higher bequest income of up to 40% or more.

The Charity records show 15,673 organisations with fundraising income, and only 764 record any income from bequests. Again the larger organisations do better: 39% receive bequest income, medium organisations 11% and small organisations 3%.


NZ Organisations with bequest income


Why do bigger charities get more bequests?

Most organisations under-invest in bequest promotion. Every organisation’s greatest fundraising opportunity is to improve its bequest program.

Bequest programs can be more effective if they:

  • are based on research on bequest intentions and giving patterns
  • identify more bequest prospects
  • improve their communications with people about bequests

The findings from Charities in New Zealand underline the important premise behind the training in Bequest Fundraising. If you are interested in seizing the bequest opportunity to increase your fundraising income, you can register for our series of bequest webinars presented by AskRIGHT experienced fundraising consultants: How to Identify Bequest Prospects (Australia), How to Identify Bequest Prospects (New Zealand) and Talking About Bequests.



*All figures have been sourced from the DIA Charities website.


Wayne McKenzie

Wayne McKenzie

Senior Fundraising Consultant at AskRIGHT
Wayne McKenzie is an esteemed and award winning fundraising professional with more than 25 year experience working with charities in New Zealand.

To find out how Wayne can help your organisation, contact
Wayne McKenzie