New Zealanders Volunteering More and Donating Less

September 19, 2010 New Zealand FinanceNew Zealand Taxation

MoneyIn 2010 more New Zealanders opted to do volunteer work in their communities then in 2009, however this was offset by decreases in donations of money and goods.

On September 15th Tariana Turia, Community and Voluntary Sector Minister, announced the release of How do New Zealanders Give? – Quarterly Generosity Indicators, a report on the volunteer and donation habits of New Zealanders by the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector (OCVS).

The report showed that 30.3 percent of New Zealanders chose to volunteer their time in local community causes. The figure represents a 2 percent increase over the December 2009 quarter. The median time spent volunteering per month also increased by 2 hours to a total of 10 hours, over the latest quarter.

During the March 2010 quarter 40.1 percent of New Zealanders made monetary donations to charities, down from 41.3 percent in the December 2009 quarter. The median amount donated also fell by NZD 5 per month, to approximately NZD 35. The number of New Zealanders donating goods to charitable organizations also fell by 0.7 percent to 15.7 percent.

The fall in donations has occurred despite recent tax legislation changes which removed the cap on the tax refunds that can be granted on charitable giving. Previously, rules specified that a maximum of NZD 630 could be refunded to the donation maker. The law has now been changed to allow unlimited tax refunds on any donations made.

Robyn Scott, Chief Executive of Philanthropy New Zealand, commented on the latest donation figures, saying: “…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.”

Photo by tkw954