Giving New Zealand Report Highlights a Dangerous Trend

Giving New Zealand Report Highlights a Dangerous Trend

New Zealand charities breakdown of giving in 2014

Wayne McKenzie, AskRIGHT Senior Fundraising Consultant in New Zealand, reviews the latest Giving New Zealand report. He warns that Board members and CEOs of charities should be concerned about New Zealand charities relying more on Trusts and Foundations, and less on Individuals and Businesses.


New Zealand charities breakdown of giving in 2014The latest Giving New Zealand report on philanthropic funding in 2014 shows an increased percentage of giving from Trusts and Foundations and a smaller percentage from Businesses and Individuals. According to the Philanthropy New Zealand sponsored report, Trusts and Foundations gave 42% (up 6% from 2011), while Businesses gave just 3% (down from 6%) and Individuals 55% (down from 58%).


Board members or CEOs relying on 42% or more funding from Trusts should be concerned about sustainability of funding when the next global financial crisis strikes.


This trend showing an increasing reliance by charities on Trusts and Foundations makes New Zealand unique in the philanthropic world.

New Zealand charities total giving 2014 2011


We have significant funding from Statutory Trusts that other countries do not have, and the giving from Statutory Trusts is increasing, reaching $905,300,000. That is 77% of Trusts & Foundations funding (up 2% on 2011).


The report states that total giving, however, has not increased, and is slightly down on 2011. This is put down to the increased giving in 2011 surrounding the Canterbury earthquakes.


This begs a few questions about fundraising.

  • Are T&Fs simply easier picking than Businesses and Individuals?
  • Are Individual and Business donors becoming more selective, and not responding so easily to appeals?
  • Do fundraisers need to be more creative in their approaches to donors, and/or examine the principles of fundraising again and diligently apply the basics of donor care?



The question about who will use this report and for what purpose remains. This is a much smaller document than previously, (40 pages, compared to 60 pages in 2011 and 68 pages in 2006) and some of the detail of earlier versions is omitted. The methodology used for measuring philanthropy isn’t convincing. Great weight is placed on selective data, which is then grossed up to represent the whole population. Less emphasis is placed, for example, on measuring actual reports supplied to the Charities Services.


It highlights the problem of lack of good data.

The study again measured Trust and Foundation giving in much more detail than individual giving. Individual giving was analysed in two subsets: donations and bequests. Trusts were measured in two main sets: Voluntary and Statutory Trusts; and seven subsets: Family and Individual Trusts, Universities and other Tertiary Educations, Community Trusts, Energy Trusts, Licensing Trusts, Gaming Machine Societies, and Lottery Grants Board. Business and Corporate Giving was just one set of data. How much better it would be if separated into donations, sponsorships, and value of gifts in kind. That emphasis or bias towards Trusts & Foundations presumably reflects the contributing sponsors and regulatory factors that ensure better information is available.

There are several references in the report to lack of data, and some sources of data no longer being available. This raises a big concern for those preparing this report and other attempts to conduct research on fundraising and philanthropy in New Zealand. It is not a complaint against Philanthropy New Zealand or the report. They are commended for their valuable and important insights. But the lack of data available is increasingly frustrating, especially through the Charities Services. What we have now is far better than we have ever had in the past, but it falls far short of what could be.

How much more useful it would be if Charities Services collected data that would simply show who gives what to whom and by what means. In this way, we would have much better data for analysing and reporting on what is happening. For instance:

  • Specific categories for sources of funds by donor type: Individuals, Trusts, Businesses
  • Specific categories to differentiate between “Voluntary and Gaming Trusts” and the causes they give to.
  • Consistency in identifying which main sector charities belong to. 7% choose other with hundreds of different categories. Should organisations like Oxfam, Caritas and TEAR Fund choose ‘community development’ or ‘international activities’?
  • Breakdown of donations into the kind of activity that generated it.


This report by Philanthropy New Zealand is primarily for and about Philanthropists and Trusts and Foundations. As such it adds a valuable piece to the puzzle. It is not focussed on the causes they give to or the methods of fundraising charities use. That is a challenge I hope the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand will initiate.


If you would like to discuss how you could raise more money for your charitable cause and find more donors, contact our Fundraising Consultant in New Zealand, Wayne McKenzie: call 0274 929 636, or email  



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

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