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New Zealanders continue to be generous in giving time and money, according to a new report on giving.
How do New Zealanders Give? - Quarterly Generosity Indicators measures volunteering and other forms of giving to community organisations in New Zealand. The report was launched by Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Tariana Turia at a function for the 20th anniversary of Volunteering Auckland last week. It will be released on a quarterly basis from now on.
Elliot Strange, chair of the cross-sectoral Generosity Hub set up to promote awareness of giving in New Zealand, said the data confirmed New Zealanders are naturally generous people.
“The report shows the number of New Zealanders giving money was stable, while volunteer hours had increased.
“The ongoing collection of this data on a quarterly basis is vital for understanding and responding to giving in New Zealand. Each year, an estimated 1.1 million of us volunteer our time and together we give more than $1 billion a year.
“This report adds to the body of research monitoring our giving behavior and showing the importance of giving and generosity in maintaining our social fabric and responding to national events, such as the Canterbury earthquake,” he said.
“Most community and voluntary sector organisations are heavily reliant on multiple sources of funding to survive – Government contracts are often only a small part of the overall funding and usually do not cover compliance and administration costs.
“The shortfall is made up of donations and philanthropy. That is the money that Mums and Dads, and philanthropic trusts put up to keep these vital services going. And then there are the volunteers who give so generously of their time and energy,” he said.
Tim Burns from Volunteering New Zealand said the report highlighted the important role that volunteering plays in providing core services in our local communities.
The How do New Zealanders Give? report shows the number of people volunteering increased between quarters: An estimated 1,043,000 people volunteered in the previous three months to December 2009, increasing to 1,129,000 people by the end of March 2010. This is an increase from 28.3 to 30.3 percent of the population aged 10 years and over.
Mr Burns said the increase in volunteering appeared to be driven by an increase in ‘episodic’ male volunteering, probably in sports. Episodic volunteering does cause significant seasonal fluctuations in the percentage of people who volunteer each quarter.
“It would be natural to see a slight drop off in volunteering numbers around Christmas as organisations, sports and schools close down for the summer break.
New Zealanders are contributing millions of unpaid hours a year to human rights, health, education, sports and recreation, social services, arts and culture, emergency services, environmental and animal welfare, and community development.
“Volunteers in New Zealand contribute more to non-profit organisations per capita than any other country in the world – two thirds of the time put into non-profit organisations is by volunteers,” he said.
Robyn Scott, Chief Executive of Philanthropy New Zealand, said the report showed the number of people who gave was relatively stable over the period of the survey.
“Giving includes money, time, in kind and acts of kindness. All of these forms of giving, especially when they are planned and done consistently, greatly benefit not only the individuals and the organisations but our society in general,” she said.
Recent changes to the tax rules had made it even easier and rewarding to give in meaningful ways to make New Zealand a better place.
There is now no cap on tax breaks for charitable donations. Previously, no matter how much was donated, there was a $630 cap on what you could get back as a tax refund. Now New Zealanders can claim a tax rebate of one-third of every dollar they donate, up to the amount of their income. Significantly, companies and Māori authorities can now also claim tax deductions. A private company can now give as much money as it likes (not exceeding its income) and get a tax deduction.
“Giving benefits all New Zealanders and recognises the simple reality that government cannot, and does not, provide completely. To get the level of services we need at a local level, we need to sustain a culture where the giving of time and money is valued and recognised as an important social and economic contributor,” Ms Scott said.
For details of the report, visit: http://www.ocvs.govt.nz/work-programme/building-knowledge/giving-research/quarterly-generosity-indicators.html
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