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Big-hearted New Zealanders double their donations

Media Release
29 February 2012

Big-hearted New Zealanders double their donations to charitable causes

New Zealanders have doubled their donations to charitable causes in the past six years, a new report has revealed.

The ‘Giving New Zealand’ Philanthropic Funding Report 2011’, commissioned by Philanthropy New Zealand, shows that New Zealanders gave about $2.67 billion to charitable and community causes during 2011, compared to $1.27 billion estimated in a previous study in 2006.

Personal donations and bequests from individuals were the single largest source of philanthropy, contributing $1.55 billion (58 per cent of total estimated giving) an increase of 23 per cent.

The report, prepared by Berl Economics, also found that trusts and foundations funded 36 per cent of giving and business giving – excluding sponsorship – accounted for just under six per cent.

Robyn Scott, Executive Director of Philanthropy New Zealand said: “While a small nation, New Zealanders have big hearts: Just over one million people gave to charitable causes in New Zealand in 2011.

“We are also seeing an increase in thoughtful targeted giving with people supporting their chosen causes through new easily accessible channels such as payroll giving.

“Vodafone New Zealand is a very good example of business giving, through the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation. Since 2002, it has given more than $11m to over 150 charitable organisations.”

Focused on improving the health and wellbeing of young New Zealanders, the Vodafone Foundation builds partnerships with charity partners to strengthen their ability to work with Kiwi youth in the community.

The Christchurch earthquake appeals led to a massive spike in donations in March 2011, but Ms Scott says the study clearly shows an ongoing pattern of increased generosity.

While improved data capture accounts for some of the increase, major factors also include the lifting of the cap on tax credits - formerly known as a tax rebate – which Philanthropy New Zealand successfully advocated for.

More than 1000 employers have also signed up to payroll giving, since the scheme was introduced two years ago.

This enables employees to donate to their favourite charitable organisation straight from their pay and receive an immediate tax credit rather than waiting until the end of the financial year.

Kiwis donated $3.05 million through payroll giving last year. In September 2011 alone, over 2,100 employees donated just over $240,000.

The Ministry of Social Development was the first large agency to implement payroll giving in April 2010. Staff have now donated over $415,000 to a wide range of causes, including charities, churches and schools.

MSD staff also used payroll giving to quickly send donations to charities delivering relief following the Christchurch earthquakes and Pike River.

Ms Scott said: “It’s so easy to join payroll giving. We are hoping to see a continuous rise in payroll giving as word spreads and people become more confident in targeted giving to their chosen causes.”

New Zealanders are now more generous than their Australian neighbours, and second only to the United States in giving.

The top three activities benefiting from philanthropic funding were culture and recreation with 31 per cent, education and research with 25 per cent and social services with 11 per cent.

ENDS

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