Key findings noted in the report include:

  • 21% of New Zealand’s not-for-profit organisations are registered charities. The numbers of new annual registrations are still growing but at a slower rate (10% a decade ago and 3% in 2020).
  • Sector income growth rate over the last decade averaged 7% pa – against an expense growth rate of the same or slightly higher keeping operating surplus at or below 10% . Organisations are consequently operating on tight margins, which leaves little room to improve overall resilience and explore innovation.
  • The largest portion of sector income is earned through the sale of goods and services. In fact, six of the 19 subsectors surveyed earned more than half of their income through their service delivery.
  • Donations/koha are harder to determine due to changes in Charities Services definitions, but some cause areas rely greatly on philanthropy such as International and Religious activities – both of which are seeing the trend of middle market giving falling and Arts, Culture and Heritage, which is around double the proportion seen across the charity sector.
  • Cumulative assets grew substantially in the past decade from $38b to $70b – mostly through the revaluations of property.
  • The sector’s labour force saw changes in the increase of full-time staff and the shift from permanent part-time to contract staff as we continually move in the direction of a gig economy.
  • Volunteerism continues to be of critical importance at a $4b pa value to the New Zealand GDP, an average 234,618 Kiwis volunteer each week and 9 in 10 organisations rely solely on a volunteer workforce.
  • The report’s financial period researched was 31 March 2020 (a week before Covid-19 locked the country down for the first time). Analysis drew upon 400 charities with later return dates to provide a picture of the first six-months impact of Covid on the for-purpose sector.
  • Evidence of Covid accelerating existing trends is evident. The hardest hit (50% loss of revenue) were those event-heavy sectors like Sport and recreation and Arts, culture and heritage, as well as the Social services working intimately with the most vulnerable in our communities. The Government wage subsidies helped some, but not uniformly. As a whole, the sector is ‘doing even more for less’, with already thin operating margins and only modest reserves to draw on to meet any covid triggered operating deficits.”

 Read the full 2021 NZ Cause Report here.