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Signs of a new way of working, as public donations static

Signs of a new way of working, as public donations static

16 July 2019

New Zealand’s ‘mission-driven’ charities working in international aid are showing early signs of changing the way they work, in particular prioritising building the capacity and resilience of local communities to do their own development.

“It’s about increasing the impact of each New Zealand aid dollar, and the value to the people our charities exist to help. Build their ability to lead and implement their own development and humanitarian responses, and the impact will be greater. It’s the same principle in New Zealand – local communities know best how to help themselves,” says Josie Pagani, Director of the Council for International Development (CID).

It’s small steps. Long term changes to business models are yet to emerge. But in CID’s new Annual Survey of the Sector released today, New Zealand’s aid charities have increased their partnerships with Pacific groups for example.

New Zealand has signed up to an international commitment called the Grand Bargain, which aims to get more aid (25% of aid budgets at least) directly to local community groups in developing countries who work with the most vulnerable.

Public donations to aid charities in New Zealand are either static or in decline, with the biggest drop in child sponsorships.

“This isn’t because New Zealanders have become less generous, but because they want to see aid funds going directly to vulnerable people, and they want to know its effective. Aid charities are responding to this.”

Key findings from CID’s Annual Survey of the Sector:
• Total income for CID’s members was $202 million (a slight drop from last year)
• More funds have gone to humanitarian disaster response work this year
• 80% of CID members have partnered with a Pacific organisation (a 6% increase)
• Other types of partnership are static or in decline, particularly with New Zealand businesses
• Only 54% of CID members partnered with a business, down from 74% last year
• Public donations are static, after a drop nearly every year for 15 years. The trend towards a decline in donations appears to be continuing
• Child sponsorships have dropped from 60% to 37% of member income
• CID members work in 71 countries, and go where the need is greatest
• Their work is spread evenly between the Pacific, Africa, and South East Asia
• South Sudan received the most support this year, as members responded to a famine
• New Zealand’s international charities achieve a lot with limited resources - 42% of staff are part time
• Volunteers are vital, making up 50% of the workforce
• The sector bucks trends in other workplaces for gender balance. 55% of leadership teams and 57% of Board members are female.


The Council for International Development (CID) is the umbrella organisation that unites and supports New Zealand’s international NGOs and organisations working in development. We strengthen our members, support them to develop skills and professional standards, influence and support government and policy-makers, and bring the sector together to share expertise.

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