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A Kind Gesture Keeps Clown Doctors Smiling

A Kind Gesture Keeps Clown Doctors Smiling

This July, Clown Doctors New Zealand Charitable Trust received an unexpected bequest of $15,000 from one of the many people whose lives they had touched.

September 28 to October 5 is Include a Charity Week. The purpose of the week is to raise public awareness of the importance of charitable gifts in wills. By working together, Include a Charity members aim to show how easy it is to include a charitable gift in wills and the huge impact bequests have on allowing them to continue their work.

Perhaps surprisingly, in New Zealand only 8% of giving is through bequests in contrast to the UK, which is 12% and rising.

Include a Charity represent a growing group of charities that aim to increase bequesting in New Zealand from $150m to $300m within six years.

Rita Noetzel (Programme Director & Team Co-ordinator of Clown Doctors New Zealand Charitable Trust) says that bequests are extremely important for charities and not-for-profit organisations.

“Funding can be so tight — particularly in Christchurch — and to get a bequest is wonderful.” She says that bequests help in between funding applications and can be used where they are needed the most, which, in their case, is to pay clown doctors to visit hospitals and also to cover some administration costs.

“Administration is always hard to get funding for — everyone wants the wine without the bottle, sort of thing. If you tell people that you work for a charity they often say, ‘Oh, you get paid’”?

Ms. Noetzel says that there are necessary costs, like salaries, for charities to operate. The healing power of laughter International research proves that humour and laughter have a positive effect on health and the immune system.

Clown Doctors bring joy and laughter to children and older people in hospitals. They wear the world’s smallest mask — the red nose — in order to reduce stress, anxiety and pain for patients, families and hospital staff.

Ms. Noetzel says that paying Clown Doctors is their biggest expense.

“The doctors are highly trained in the art of medical clowning — they get comprehensive initial training and then training is ongoing” She says that Include a Charity Week is a good way to tell people that making a bequest is an easy way to do something that will carry on when you’re no longer here.

Clown Doctors New Zealand Charitable Trust started in Christchurch five years ago. Since then, they have expanded to Auckland and Wellington.

“Our goal is to be in every major hospital in New Zealand. Receiving bequests from people who appreciate what we do makes achieving that goal just that little bit easier.”


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