How much do we give?

New research into financial giving in Aotearoa NZ, undertaken by Berl and commissioned by Philanthropy NZ, was released last week.

You can listen to me discussing the results of the Giving New Zealand survey – and philanthropy more generally – with Ros Rice on the Collaborative Voices radio programme here:

Alternatively, here is a short summary:

  • Total giving in 2014 was $2.788 billion – which is very close to the revised Giving New Zealand 2011 total of $2.789 billion
  • We are also ranked 3rd globally per capita in a recent five-year study measuring helping a stranger, giving time and giving money undertaken by the Charities Aid Foundation.
  • Of the $2.788 billion given to charitable and community causes in 2014, personal giving accounted for 55 per cent, trusts and foundations for 42 per cent and business 3 per cent.
  • This figure does not include the value of volunteering – if we cost these hours at the average wage, volunteering adds a further $1.97 billion to our communities.

So, is this good news?  Well yes, the fact that the increased giving prompted by the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes has been maintained four years on is good news. And the fact that we sit third in the world – under a wider definition of giving – is also good news.

But so much more is possible. This research is about what you and I and the businesses we are involved in give to our communities.   We live in an Aotearoa, where, for many of us, wealth is increasing but, for some of us, life is very hard indeed.   Do we share enough of our good fortune?

It is also worth noting that giving in this country is structured a little differently in that we have many “statutory trusts” – for example the community trusts and gaming trusts – which are bound to give to the community through legal obligation rather than personal generosity. We are very fortunate to have these resources, but you can argue that it also makes our nation appear more generous than perhaps we really are.

I think this research is both an indication that we are on the right track and a call to action to give more, if we are able. We can give money or time or both. We can also talk about our giving, normalise it, make it just something we do.

Why not put NZ into the number one position for generosity?

You can read the full Giving New Zealand report here.

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