Hard times hit generous Kiwis
The Wairarapa community always gives great local support when asked for help, a local charity says.
"The local community has been very supportive," Catwalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust general manager Meg Speirs said.
Figures obtained from the Charities Commission show nearly $1 billion was given to charity nationally last year in donations and bequests, down slightly from 2010. A stand-alone figure for the Wairarapa district was not available.
The biggest donations last year went to the New Zealand Red Cross ($112 million), the Salvation Army ($31 million) and the National Assistance Fund ($29 million).
A fundraiser held in Greytown for Kieran Appelman, who injured his back when he fell from a quad bike, had been extremely successful.
"They had a great evening and raised a wonderful amount of money, particularly given everyone's a bit tight at the moment," Ms Speirs said.
"We always find Wairarapa is very forthcoming with their support."
More than $800 was raised at the fundraiser, which featured a dinner with Wellington Phoenix star Paul Ifill as guest speaker and an auction which included a lunch with MP Hone Harawira.
"When you went down the list, because it was Greytown, every shop or store had donated something.
"We are overwhelmed by how generous the local community is ... always."
Fundraising Institute of New Zealand (FINZ) chief executive James Austin said public donations had dipped in recent years.
"It is harder to get. People are working harder at raising funds than they were before."
People were more cautious with their money now, focusing more on saving and justifying any discretionary spending.
"Everyone's being a little more careful. They're paying off debt and they are questioning all those letters they're getting in the mail asking them to give to everything from child cancer, Canteen ... you name it.
"At the same time, charities are doing more. There are more fundraising activities going on, there are more street appeals going on," Mr Austin said.
Charities were working harder to maintain funding and those relying on a sole income source had struggled to survive during the economic downturn, Mr Austin said. Those that survived had high credibility, good marketing teams and more than one income stream.
Online giving had also seen a massive boon, which older charities with "dreadful" websites needed to adapt to, Mr Austin said.
"Before, you could just send a letter off to people and the money would come in. It doesn't work so well now.
"Some people don't want to give out cheques, they just want to do things online," he said.
New Zealand's philanthropic culture had also changed.
"The public have realised nowadays the Government's run out of money. Not just in our country, but everywhere in the world," Mr Austin said.
New Zealand was one of the world's most generous countries. However, Kiwis tended to give more time than money and needed to give more through bequests, he said.
New Zealand had an ageing population but even retired, mortgage-free people were often reluctant to leave money to charity in their wills, he said.
More than $100 million was bequeathed to charities last year. The three biggest bequest recipients were the Salvation Army ($8.34 million), the Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind ($8.34 million) and St John ($6.99 million).APNZ
By the numbersOf the 10,526 charities which filed an annual return in 2011:
$884,038,883 was received in donations.
$108,865,559 was received in bequests.
Of the 11,064 charities which filed an annual return in 2010:
$1,024,623,676 was received in donations.
$89,603,624 was received in bequests.
Brendan Manning | Thursday, September 20, 2012 9:41