“Don’t Panic!” – Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

DianneDianne Armstrong
CFRE 
Arthritis New Zealand

It’s almost impossible to go a day without reading or listening to a heart rending story in the news media relating to insufficient funding for a myriad of services, drugs, individuals or charities.

I wondered if this was more obvious just before an election, and decided maybe it was.

However what I do know is that charities funded by Government Departments, in the main, have received no increase in their funding for a number of years. Many have had to tender for contracts they previously held and there is an expectation we can keep on doing more for less.

Alongside this is the growing number of registered charities in New Zealand – currently 27,840. The result of this is that income generation is becoming more complicated and competitive. So how do we communicate genuine need without appearing to “cry wolf”.

The challenges for charities in raising the funds from the NZ public that are required to stay in business  and provide services at the same level as usual without looking for new initiatives, are obvious.

David Irving, CEO FINZ, reported last week that in the 2014/15 year only 392 charities or 1.4% raised more than $1 million.

Charity sector funding as last reported is 56% from personal donations, 36% trusts and foundations and 6% from business.

Anecdotally we also know that there are fewer individual donors giving more. Does this mean that we are seeing an era of ‘turnoffs’ e.g. a sense from individuals of being asked to donate  too often?

Cash donations are decreasing and more and more people are giving digitally which is great as the ‘cashless’ society is increasing. What though does that mean for the long term relationships desired by charities to move donors to major giving or bequests?

Those NZ charities that have been engaged in charitable income generation are adapting to new initiatives and seeking to create a greater engagement with their donors.

For those who have previously relied on contract income – this is a new world.

As a charitable sector the challenges are: I cannot afford to give, I don’t know where the money is going to, too much money is used in administration,and I don’t think the money will reach those in need.

As more charities compete for a static portion of the philanthropic  or government contract dollars, its  obvious that our challenges to stay financially secure into the future are going to require planning, working together and perhaps some rationing of the number of charities.

This blog has been contributed by a member of the ComVoices network

ComVoices actively promotes the value that community sector organisations and their people, both paid and unpaid, add to New Zealand’s economic and social wellbeing through information, and political advocacy and dialogue.

Click here for our website:  http://comvoices.org.nz/