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Launch of non-profit sector research welcomed

12 August 2008

Launch of non-profit sector research welcomed

New research revealing that volunteers make up an impressive two-thirds of the workforce in the non-profit sector has been welcomed by the Minister for Community and Voluntary Sector, the Hon Ruth Dyson.

Together with the chair of the Committee for the Study of the New Zealand Non-profit Sector, the Minister today launched two reports.

The New Zealand Non-profit Sector in Comparative Perspective provides the most accurate picture yet of the New Zealand non-profit sector and shows how it compares with 40 other countries.

“This report gives us greater insight into the nature and importance of the non-profit sector and its volunteers," said Ruth Dyson.

“We always knew that the non-profit sector contributes to strengthening our communities, but now we have a measure of how New Zealand compares to other countries. Our volunteer workforce is two-thirds or 67% of the non-profit sector workforce, compared with an average of 42% for the 41 countries in the study.”

“The research also shows that 49% of our non-profit organisations are ‘expressive’ organisations, meaning that they are involved in culture, sports, recreation, environmental protection, civic activism, unionism, professional associations, and religion. In other countries studied, expressive groups account for an average 37% of non-profit organisations. There is a heavy reliance on volunteers in this part of the sector, and I believe this reflects New Zealanders strong commitment to supporting healthy, vibrant communities through voluntary activity. ”

“The level of philanthropic giving is another area where New Zealanders stand out. The average across the 41 countries for philanthropic giving is 0.5% of GDP. In New Zealand our philanthropic giving is 1.1% of GDP. This is due to the high level of donations from individuals and large trusts such as the community trusts. These are statistics we should all be proud of.”

The History of the Non-profit Sector in New Zealand, also launched today, considers the forces and players that have shaped the non-profit sector in New Zealand over time. It examines our rich heritage and reminds us that a strong government sector and a strong non-profit sector can co-exist.

These reports are the culmination of a five-year collaboration involving the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector (OCVS), the Committee for the Study for the New Zealand Non-profit Sector, Johns Hopkins University, Statistics New Zealand and Massey University.

ENDS

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