Some Key Facts as Presented in the Report:

  • Income growth has averaged 5.7% over the last decade. Expenses are up 6% (with employee expenses consistent at 40% of total costs).
  • Government support has grown faster at 7.4% with outsourcing work to charities. In comparison, philanthropy has grown at only 3.8% over the period. This keeps margins low and hampers innovation.
  • The sector is asset rich with $60 billion in value: 45% of that is held in land and buildings and 40% in endowments and investments. The challenge is to ensure these assets are best aligned with the mission of the particular charity. This asset base has 85% of the assets controlled by 15% of the NFPs. With the annual depreciation costs at about $700m, this is a significant cost for the sector.
  • NFP employees make up 4.4% of the total workforce. Adding in volunteers, it’s 10.6%.
  • Volunteering is worth $3.5 billion annually adding another third to the sector’s workforce (FTE), and turns the sector from loss to mild profit. However, personal time pressures and ‘job’ satisfaction have caused a peaking in volunteering in Western countries.
  • Tight profit margins in the sector (9-10%) and the heavy reliance on low margins and reimbursement of cost models have stunted innovation. We see new ‘payment by success’ models and better corporate partnerships are two ways of encouraging innovation.
  • The average age of NZ’s top 40 charities is almost 80 years, with only 22% less than 20 years old. The Facebooks of the charity sector are rare.
  • One organisation per 170 New Zealanders, compared with 422 in Australia and 339 in the US. This puts a strain on adequate funding, staff, volunteers and board members.
  • Since 2010, 2.5 new charities begin each business day.

Source: JBWere New Zealand Cause Report 2017 - This material is based on data from Statistics New Zealand, and data collected and published by Charities Services from charities’ annual returns. The period covered is the decade from 2004.

To read the full JBWere New Zealand Cause Report 2017, download here.

To read the press release, please click here.

To talk further about the JBWere New Zealand Cause Report, or about JBWere’s Philanthropic Services expertise, please contact Craig Patrick on 09 365 8918 or email him at