Kia ora koutou, talofa lava and warm greetings.
If you were able to join us on the 17th, thank you for coming along to our annual meeting – it was great to see a packed house, and to have so many interesting conversations with members of the sector. We really appreciated being able to meet with you, and to hear your questions and feedback.
We welcomed having the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Hon Jo Goodhew, at the meeting and extend our warm congratulations to the Minister on being reappointed to the portfolio.
You can read the Minister’s speech if you were unable to attend the meeting. We were also grateful for the support of the Charities Registration Board Chair, Roger Holmes Miller, on the day.
I also enjoyed hearing from our wonderful speakers, Sue van Schreven and Doctor Sharad Paul – my thanks to you both for challenging and inspiring us, and for sharing your stories. Our Charities Services team certainly share your commitment and enthusiasm, and we hope that our work regulating and supporting the sector contributes to everyone’s success.
We are now in the last quarter of the year – it has flown by so quickly! – but much remains to be done. Not least, we are conscious that the new reporting standards may mean changes ahead for some charities, but we trust that they will also bring greater transparency and assist the sector to maintain and increase public confidence and support for the good work that charities do.
We’ll keep working to make it as easy as possible for you to adapt to the new standards, so please do keep reading our newsletters, news alerts and our website.
Challenges, inspiration, passion and achievements
Charities are making New Zealand a better place, and helping to drive our community based development, says the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Hon Jo Goodhew.
Speaking at the Charities Services annual meeting, Mrs Goodhew said she was passionate about the sector and the good work achieved by those involved.
“I am an immensely proud supporter of your work and want to thank you all for your valuable contribution,” she said. “The contribution of charities to this country’s economic state and the welfare of all New Zealanders is outstanding.”
Mrs Goodhew said for the sector to remain at the top of its game, public trust and confidence must be maintained, and people needed to work together and look for new and innovative ways to ensure the needs of the sector were well met.
She told the audience that Government sees social enterprise as an increasingly important part of our civic fabric, and has invested $1.12 million in a framework for organisations wanting to explore social enterprise.
“Combining social goals and business methods is a key way to strengthen the sector and get positive results for you, as well as the wider community,” Mrs Goodhew said.
“The newly formed Ākina Foundation’s social enterprise accelerator pilot, Launchpad, is testament to this. Co-funded by the Department of Internal Affairs and Contact Energy, it’s an exciting first and the pilot will be a good example for others to learn from and further develop.”
Two inspirational keynote speakers, Sue van Schreven from Orphan’s Aid International and author and skin cancer specialist Doctor Sharad Paul, representing the Baci Foundation, spoke passionately about their work.
Both gave their time tirelessly and were always looking for the next mountain to climb.
Sue van Schreven said in some respects the charity she co-founded with her husband Carl (pictured) was like a third child. She has two boys of her own, and believes every child has the right to grow up in a family with parents who love and care for them.
Doctor Sharad Paul engaged the audience by talking of heroes, and said he believed that “all ordinary people can be capable of extraordinary acts of courage and conviction.”
He challenged people to align with other organisations and work with others to get to the top, as New Zealand is a country with limited funding available for charities. By working together “we may not be able to change the world, but we can change the world for many people”.
General Manager Community Operations, Robyn Nicholas, said the Department was working hard to decrease compliance for community groups. A new online system for requesting grants means all services are now available online.
“We want consistent processes, which will make it easier for our customers to interact with us,” she said.
Robyn urged people to get a Real Me login to assist them in the process.
For Charities Services General Manager Lesa Kalapu, the meeting was a first-hand opportunity to find out more about what’s top of mind for people in the sector, as achieved in the open forum session.
“This lively session kept us on our toes, but it was good to hear what matters most to those who are actively working at the frontline,” Ms Kalapu said.
"There was lots of great feedback from the sector about our achievements over the last year. I was particularly proud when someone said to me that it showed how committed our people are about their work and how they want to make a difference in the sector.”
Charities Services Investigator Paul Budd was MC for the meeting, which was attended by some 255 sector representatives.
Sue and Carl van Schreven
New reporting standards
The Capability and Engagement team is working through a busy programme of seminars on the new reporting standards, co-hosted with the External Reporting Board and ANGOA.
More than 4,500 people have attended seminars (or logged on to the webinar) right across New Zealand – a fantastic response which has seen the seminar programme extended into December to allow more people to attend. It’s clear that charities are keen for information about the new standards and what they mean for their organisations.
The December seminars are scheduled to be held in Gisborne, Wanganui, Invercargill, Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Go to the External Reporting Board’s website for details and to register.
What you’ve been asking
While the seminars are designed to prepare charities for the changes being introduced by the new standards, they are also a great opportunity for Charities Services to hear directly from charities about their concerns and what they need more information about. Some of the common questions being asked at the seminars are:
Do we have to report to both Charities Services and the XRB?
Do we still need to complete an Annual Return?
How do we notify Charities Services of our reporting tier?
Go to our website to find answers to these questions, and more information about the new reporting standards.
What can charities do now to prepare?
For some charities there will be very few changes, as their accounts may already line up with the applicable standard. For others, there will be some work to do to make sure you can report to the new standards. It’s a good idea to get started now so you have time to make changes if you need to.
Take a look at the templates and guidance notes to see if you currently record all the information that will be required in future. Preparation now will ensure you begin your new financial year in a good position to make your end-of-year reporting easier.
Standards, templates and explanatory guides
The Tier 3 and Tier 4 standards, along with templates and explanatory guides, have been developed by the External Reporting Board and are available on our website. The standards explain in detail what is required in each reporting tier, in accounting language. The optional templates have been designed to cover most circumstances that are likely to apply to Tier 3 and Tier 4 organisations – if you follow the template correctly, you can be sure you have met the standard. The explanatory notes provide a step-by-step explanation of what is required to answer each question.
Begin by looking through the template and thinking about the different sections and minimum categories. Refer to the explanatory notes for more information.
Five steps to get ready
Find out your balance date.
Determine when you are due to file your Annual Return with Charities Services (helpful tip: the due date is displayed on your charity’s page on the Charity Register).
Work out your annual operating payments or expenses.
Decide which tier you will report under.
Find the tier standard on the website, and read the template and explanatory notes.
NFP, PBE, SFR… help!
The introduction of new reporting standards means there are a lot of new terms to become familiar with, so we’ve developed a glossary of terms to help with this. You can find the glossary and frequently asked questions on our website.
Charities Services will be running a further series of workshops in March, April and May of next year with a focus on stepping through the standards at a detailed level.
All registered charities will be invited to the workshops and we expect invitations will be issued before the end of the year. Keep an eye on your inbox, and our website, for details.
Filing Annual Returns on time “essential”
Did you know that during the past six months, around 55,000 people looked up information about charities on the Charities website?
Increasingly, people are relying on the information published on the Charities Register to help them make decisions about whether to support a charity, and to give them confidence that their donations are being used wisely.
News media frequently quote information from the Charities Register in their stories, and sometimes highlight information that is out-of-date or missing - for example, where a charity has failed to file an Annual Return.
Charities Services generally sends a reminder to charities before an Annual Return is due. The great majority of charities file their Annual Returns on or before the due date, and are also scrupulous about advising Charities Services if they make other changes they are obliged to notify.
However, a small number of charities don’t file their Return by the due date, and an even smaller number either regularly fail to file on time, and /or file their Return well beyond the due date.
The public can see when an Annual Return is late or unfiled, and this may damage perceptions of the charity and its governance and management, and may also affect donors’ and funders’ confidence.
Charities Services follows up overdue Annual Returns with an overdue notice, and can also impose administrative penalties for failing to file an Annual Return. In time, Charities Services can also take steps to deregister a charity for failing to file an Annual Return or to notify changes, as required by the Charities Act.
If a charity is deregistered for failing to file its Annual Returns, a note explaining the reason is posted on the charity’s page on the Charities Register, and remains visible to the public even if it re-applies for registration, supplies the missing Annual Return and is later re-registered. Deregistered charities are no longer eligible for tax exemption or any of the other benefits of registration, and may no longer meet some funders’ eligibility requirements.
The message is simple: be sure to file your Annual Return on or before the due date, to help ensure that your donors and supporters feel confident that your charity is well-run, that it is making progress with the cause, and making wise and effective use of its funding and resources.
Your Annual Return must be filed within six months of your charity’s balance date (your Register page shows the due date).
Charities Services generally send a reminder a few weeks before your Return is due.
It’s easiest to file online (and cheaper, if a fee is payable).
Most charities tell us that they’ve found filing to be easy and relatively quick, but if it’s your first time, read our info sheet and help notes beforehand:
Crowd-funding for charities
With more than 27,500 charities in New Zealand – and many non-profits that are not registered as charities – it’s more important than ever for charities to “tell your story” when raising funds, and to make sure that donors know their donations have been used wisely and made a difference to the cause.
A new fundraising method, which operates like television’s “Dragon’s Den”, does just that. The Funding Network, an international organisation, is now operating in New Zealand. It brings together a group of donors in a friendly environment, where they can listen to presentations from a range of charities, explaining why they need funding, and how it will be used. Donors then decide who to support and how to stay updated about their chosen charity's progress.
A Funding Network event held in Auckland earlier this year raised $68,000 for four charitable groups, and updated donors on how their earlier donations were being used.
For more information, visit The Funding Network.
Boost End-of-Year Giving With #GivingTuesday
Already in more than 40 countries worldwide, #GivingTuesday is officially coming to New Zealand for the first time in 2014 and you can participate.
Held on 2 December, #GivingTuesday is where charities and communities come together to give back. Participation is free and it’s up to each participant to determine how they use it to boost their giving.
Supported by the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand (FINZ) #GivingTuesday is about New Zealand businesses, not-for-profits, charities, community groups, families and individuals joining a global movement to celebrate giving.
You can find out more at: www.givingtuesday.co.nz
Auckland Airport’s Christmas giving benefits charities
For the seventh year running, Auckland Airport is donating $120,000 to New Zealand charities in the 12 days leading up to Christmas.
The 12 Days of Christmas programme sees $10,000 a day given to 12 different charities in the run-up to Christmas.
To be eligible, charities must be operating in New Zealand and also demonstrate their charitable purposes align with Auckland Airport’s values of being authentically New Zealand, outstanding, welcoming and ambitious.
Applications close on Sunday 23 November 2014 and should be made through Auckland Airport’s website. The 12 days of Christmas donations will begin on 11 December and continue through until Christmas Eve.
The $120,000 was collected through the generosity of the travelling public, who have donated their unwanted currency into donation globes situated throughout the airport.
Insight in Charities Services for future ethnic leader
Daniel Gamboa Salazar, a 20-year old former refugee from Columbia, got an insight into Charities Services recently, as part of the Office of Ethnic Affairs’ Young Leaders Programme.
One of 56 participants nationwide in the 2014 programme, Daniel spent several days at Charities Services, working on several initiatives.
These included drafting a communications article about how Charities Services can support Muslim communities, reviewing a charity’s application for registration and attending several project meetings.
Regional Adviser Capability, Scott Miller, who facilitated the visit, said Daniel was a pleasure to work with and his team looks forward to further opportunities to share their work with future programme participants.
Of the experience, Daniel said he had a great time, learned a lot, and took lots of photos, including the one with this story. Daniel said Scott and the rest of the team are knowledgeable and challenged him to think critically. He is grateful for his time with Charities Services and will continue to make the most of all future opportunities.
Since arriving in the country in June 2012 Daniel has been immersing himself in New Zealand culture and getting involved in numerous community activities. And in just two years he has been awarded three scholarships from Victoria University.
Selected for the Wellington young leaders group Daniel considers it a great opportunity to enhance his leadership and communication skills.
The Young Leaders Programme sets out to deliver leadership training to talented ethnic youth with the vision of building New Zealand’s future ethnic leaders. The programme involves each young leader job shadowing a person inside a government organisation they are interested in.
Daniel, along with three other young refugees, also features in a new exhibition at the National Library of New Zealand: World War One a Contemporary Conversation.
Stepping Through Transitions – book review
Stepping Through Transitions authors Judith McMorland, left, and Ljiljana Eraković
Until now, there hasn’t been much New Zealand-specific literature available about the management, governance and leadership of not-for-profits.
Stepping Through Transitions uses non-technical language which makes it easy to immediately locate where your not-for-profit fits across the five stages of development it discusses. With this understanding, you are immediately able to apply new ideas and approaches for better managing/governing your not-for-profit organisation.
There are many real life New Zealand examples provided throughout the book, making easy work of the evidence based theories that underlay the framework used in Stepping Through transitions. It is quite likely that the opportunity or challenge in front of you is addressed in this book, making for a very encouraging use of your time!
This book has been a wonderful addition to my advisory tool-box, and has gone a long way to changing the way that I view governance and management in our sector. Governance and management is not rocket science, but neither is it a walk in the park. By taking the time to invest in yourself, and your organisation, this book will enable you and your organisation to benefit from the many wonderful returns that come from being a manager/governor of a not-for-profit organisation.
Reviewed by Scott Miller