NZers giving directly to causes, less to charities

5:55 am on 1 February 2017

Belt tightening and a rise in ad-hoc donations through sites like Givealittle is being blamed for a fall in New Zealanders' donations to non-government organisations and charities.

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Photo: NZ

A survey conducted by the Council for International Development showed support for NGOs and charities working internationally had dropped nearly 15 percent in the past decade.

That has had a major impact on charities; the report showed 56 percent of their funding in 2015 came from public donations.

Council director Josie Pagani said it was not because the public had lost faith in overseas charities, but people were more likely to give money directly to causes, or through other online platforms.

"There are now multiple ways in which the public can donate to health clinics or orphanages, schools or projects for economic development that they are seeing other vehicles for contributing," Ms Pagani said.

She said charities had been aware of the decrease for some time, and they had to develop their public funding strategies.

"Rather than a message which says, 'we'll take your dollar and 80 cents will get to the field and 20 cents will help us run our organisation' and that's still absolutely true that NGOs need an operating budget.

"But it's almost like they're looking at a model where they say, we'll take your dollar but we'll invest it for you, we'll take your dollar and we'll turn it into $1.60," Ms Pagani said.

New Zealand's charities generate about $182 million for over 60 countries per year.

Oxfam New Zealand's executive director, Rachael Le Mesurier, said such organisations needed donations more than ever before.

"We're calling out to New Zealanders to say 2017, with the recent executive orders by President Trump, is going to be incredibly challenging. We're going to need to work harder and faster and we're going to need donations." she said.

Ms Le Mesurier thought younger people were more comfortable donating directly to funding websites.

"There are a range of changing environments, including a new generation coming through who are maybe not so keen on sponsorships, but maybe more thinking about direct donations," she said.

Ms Le Mesurier said organisations would have to learn to use those new methods to keep the donations flowing.

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