Businesses giving less cash, more time

  • 02/12/2015

By Fiona Rotherham

New Zealand businesses have become less giving in handing out cash in the past three years, with many corporates preferring to allow employees to volunteer time or to provide sponsorship, according to research from Philanthropy New Zealand.

The Giving New Zealand report shows Kiwis gave $2.78 billion to charitable and community causes in 2014, almost exactly the same as a revised estimated for 2011 – the last time the report was done.

Business and corporate giving decreased by 22 percent to $77.2 million, although at least $20m of the 2011 total is thought to be related to giving following the Christchurch earthquakes when corporate donations hit an all-time high.

For the first time since giving started being measured in 2006, the report also looked at how businesses contribute in other ways. It estimates for every $1 businesses give in cash, they give $1.43 worth of sponsorship and $3.27 worth on in-kind goods and services.

Business cash donations accounted for just 3 percent of the total, with personal giving of $1.53b accounting for 55 percent of the pie and the $1.18b donated by trusts and foundations making up the remainder.

The report shows the top three activities supported by giving in 2014 were culture and recreation, education, and social services.

Philanthropy New Zealand chief executive Liz Gibbs said there are some exemplar companies leading the way in corporate giving such as Perpetual Guardian, Spark New Zealand, and ANZ New Zealand that match staff donations dollar for dollar.

Antony Welton of Vodafone New Zealand and chair of the Business Giving Network, said providing sponsorship and donating in-kind goods and services back to New Zealand communities does make "discernible differences to the lives of Kiwis and helps to build strong, resilient and well-educated communities".

"We saw a significant increase in business giving immediately following the Christchurch earthquakes and a strong sense of community spirit fostered across corporate New Zealand."

When companies get it right, staff engagement, satisfaction, and productivity are known to increase, he said.