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The Real Value of Not-For Profit volunteers

Media Release

7 May 2004

The Real Value of Not-For Profit volunteers

Volunteer support for Diabetes New Zealand Inc. (DNZ) is equivalent to 56 full time positions across the country making a significant financial contribution to the organisation of around $3 million. If the number of volunteers were paid staff, DNZ would be in the top 5% of New Zealand commercial organisations. This was the finding of a project conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Diabetes New Zealand is one of 10 voluntary sector agencies participating in the Value Added by Voluntary agency project (VAVA) managed by the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations. The project supports an evaluation for increasing the effectiveness of an agency’s internal management. This, then, expands the opportunities for building external relationships with funders and other stakeholders.

Understanding the added value that the not-for profit sector contributes to New Zealand reflects a paradigm shift in thinking from a focus on funding and costs of voluntary agencies, to a recognition of the investment they make – the value that they add, said Suzanne Snively, a Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, at an address to the Diabetes New Zealand Conference today.

“VAVA provides a platform of understanding for an agency to build performance through having a clearer picture of the size, value and nature of the voluntary contribution by volunteers, members and of property and assets, as well as labour and cash” said Ms Snively. “Knowledge about the value of the voluntary contribution has the potential to improve outcomes for others through better understanding of the nature, quality and quantity of services and goods that voluntary agencies deliver.”

“This is an incredibly useful tool to better understand our resources and the value of our volunteers to the organisation,” says Russell Finnerty, President, Diabetes New Zealand. “From the observations made by PricewaterhouseCoopers, we are looking to determine whether the major contribution of time by our volunteers can be used any more effectively. We also want government to understand in a useful context the huge volunteer workforce contribution to programmes aimed at promotion, prevention and the management of diabetes.”

The other agencies participating in the project are: Barnardos, Citizens Advice, Diabetes New Zealand Inc. Literacy Aoteoroa, IHC, National Association of ESOL Home Tutor Scheme, Playcentre, Royal NZFoundation of the Blind, Royal New Zealand Plunket Society and Victim support.


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