20 Apr 2020

Covid-19: Charities face hefty revenue cuts due to lockdown

3:27 pm on 20 April 2020

Charities in New Zealand are struggling to stay afloat as the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown takes its toll on the ability to raise funds.

Donation jar.

Photo: 123RF

There are 27,000 registered charities in this country and approximately 90,000 additional charities that are not registered.

The SPCA has taken a hit of about $1 million and the RSA looks like losing about $2m after cancelling its annual poppy day appeal.

Philanthropy manager at Perpetual Guardian Liz Gibbs said charities doing critical work in the community, are facing a perfect storm.

''While the demand for the services they are providing is increasing, fund-raising of course has diminished.''

''To make it even more of a perfect storm some of the philanthropic sector that contributes funds to those charities have also had a reduction in their revenue.''

She cites the gaming trusts which cannot distribute money because pubs, clubs and bars are shut.

''So that potentially is going to be a reduction of $300 million into supporting charities in New Zealand over the course of the next 12 months depending on how long the shut-down lasts, so it's a really difficult set of circumstances and obviously in a particularly demanding and challenging time.''

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Liz Gibbs said greater co-operation among charities is being seen as an answer to charities fighting for their survival due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The inability to raise funds through traditional methods is putting the sector under real pressure.

She said working closely together will help.

''I think it is about us working together more smartly, working together in a more joined up fashion, looking at how we can compliment the different funding government and philanthropy can provide and where possible really leveraging the benefits that both parties can bring to increase the support to the charitable sector.''

Liz Gibbs is in no doubt some charities may fold.

Australian research predicted 30 percent of charities would go under or look at going under, she said.

She said the number of charities in New Zealand added to the pressure on the sector.

''We want to encourage collaboration, not just across philanthropic funders like ourselves, to work with others but also for charities to actually work together where they have shared intel and capability for a particular segment of community work.''

Perpetual Guardian manages over 600 charitable trusts distributing over $40m a year.

It has launched a Covid-19 response fund open to charitable organisations providing critical services.

''Charities can apply to get their costs for salaries and operational expenditure covered because traditionally that is quite a hard area to fundraise for.''

The company also owns the online crowdfunding site Givealittle.

It is using this to run a campaign on behalf of the RSA called Lets Not Forget to support its fund raising to support veterans.

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