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Charities in New Zealand - 16 March 2021


Mike Doig gave us his Viewpoint tonight. He said, 'there are 27000+ registered charities in New Zealand. To register and be tax-exempt you must be:

  • reducing poverty
  • educating
  • advancing religion
  • improving health
  • protecting the environment
  • protecting animals
  • running a marae

'All good, but public confidence in charities is not high. I trawled through the register, and annual reports, looking especially at:

  • Income
  • Expenditure
  • Number of paid staff
  • Number of volunteers
  • Equity

'What struck me:

  • many ‘charities’ are just tax-exempt businesses
  • many churches and sports clubs
  • several are huge with income in the many millions (Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventists, SPCA, Red Cross etc)
  • many show no volunteer activity at all
  • many are small and often have a short life
  • many ‘charitable purposes’ are crowded (eg diabetes, cats, dogs, Altzheimers )
  • several are topping up or displacing government funding (eg Wellington Free Ambulance, Coastguard, Life Flight Trust, Children’s Hospital)
  • many have large staffs and high administration costs relative to income
  • system efficiency is low

'What does this mean for our club?
'We provide modest support for selected charities from time to time.

'My Viewpoint is that we should aim to make a difference. Is the charity

  • aligned with Rotary themes?
  • small?
  • local?
  • struggling?

'Does it have

  • a low number of paid staff?
  • high volunteer activity?

'Good examples are:

  • Little Sprouts
  • WellFed
  • Sailability Wellington'

Charities in New Zealand - 16 March 2021

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