Quarterly update on Philanthropy New Zealand activity

July 1, 2020

April 1 – June 11 


The quarterly update provides Philanthropy New Zealand members with a summary of key activity over the past few months. It will be produced four times a year, after Board meetings, using information presented to the PNZ Board.

We welcome membership feedback on our activity, as we evolve our membership services.

Strategic context for activity

The purpose of Philanthropy New Zealand is to grow effective giving. We do this through:

  • Supporting better giving
  • Building a stronger system
  • Inspiring more giving

Supporting better giving

Supporting the membership to navigate the COVID-19 environment was the focus of April to June. We aimed to ensure our members were informed, particularly around the Government and philanthropic response and community need, and had opportunities to collaborate. To this end we organised 31 meetings, which we estimate were attended by nearly 700 people. We:

  • ran a weekly zoom meeting for funders that had different topics each week, which usually included a Government speaker as well as philanthropic and community speakers.
  • convened various groups to meet around topics of greatest interest including funding into health, food rescue and distribution. We convened regional funder networks in Auckland and Wellington and facilitated local government funder zoom meetings.
  • produced nine weekly sector updates which contained Government activity, philanthropic sector activity, and information on community need. It contained key messages where appropriate for Government and community.
  • started closed Facebook groups for funders to enable quick collaboration and information sharing

We are now planning and confirming events for the rest of the year including:

  • Both Sides of the Coin webinar on July 22 (after cancelling the planned face to face events in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington). This gives funders and grant seekers insight into the worlds of each other.
  • A three-part webinar series on Te Tiriti o Waitangi on 19 August, 25 August, 2 September
  • The Possibility Webinar which will discuss funding accessibility on 6 August.
  • We are also planning governance and investment training, and considering next steps for our funder networks. Further events will be announced (on our website and in Giving Matters).
  • We are testing the Flip the Model concept with funder and community members and other stakeholders. This concept of a philanthropic marketplace has been met with positive feedback, although there are wide views on what functionality the platform could have. Refining this will be the purpose of the next phase – workshops with potential key user group to test support and required platform features. We welcome people with an interest in this project to contact us.

Building a stronger sector

  • On 13 June we released the findings of our survey of funders. This provided data on the change to funding levels and approaches as a result of COVID-19.
  • We initiated a survey of the community sector given member concern at the lack of data. We have partnered with HuiE! Community Aotearoa, Volunteering NZ and the Centre for Social Impact to develop and deliver this survey. Results will be released in July.
  • We are iterating the weekly sector updates into a monthly research and policy bulletin. These will be produced in the last week of each month. These will be released publicly as well as promoted to members. We have hired an eight-hour a week Research Assistant for four months to support our policy and research work. We are grateful for funding from the Combined Community Trusts of New Zealand to support this work.
  • We have had significant engagement with Government officials over the past two months, and behind the scenes influence. We are talking to Government in detail about making data on community needs more accessible and also work around commissioning of social services. We put forward some philanthropic representatives to work with the Government on food rescue and distribution in the COVID-19 recovery phase. We organised a meeting between a small group of funders and Minister Poto Williams (Community and Voluntary Sector).

Inspiring more giving

Public communication since April 1 has included:

  • Ten new items in the latest news section on our website: a mix of blogs and publishing new content or resources. We established a COVID-19 resources section.
  • We produced an open letter for the sector around best practice funding principles in COVID-19. Within a few days this was quickly signed by 27 funder members. We co-authored an open letter with the Social Service Providers Aotearoa and the NZ Council of Christian Social Services to senior Govt Ministers around the funding gap and Budget 2020.
  • We had a 25 per cent increase in Facebook followers: 2,018 to 2,523 (505 new followers).
  • We had a 10 per cent increase in LinkedIn followers: 1, 008 – 1,077 (69 new followers).
  • We currently have 60 followers on Instagram and 1412 on Twitter. We are increasing our focus on these two platforms.
  • We developed a list of about 200 non-members – mostly Government officials and community groups – who received our weekly sector update and who will continue to receive our monthly Research and Policy bulletin.
  • PNZ was interviewed for four media articles, was interviewed for two online podcasts/facebook live events and authored an article for the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand’s magazine.

A Philanthropy News magazine was released which had a theme of cutting-edge philanthropy. The theme of the next one will be COVID-19 to reflect on learnings and the philanthropic contribution.


Health and safety of the PNZ team has been a priority since the last Board meeting.  Staff moved to remote working, with changes made to support team communication and wellbeing. We developed and kept updated a COVID-19 policy. Before COVID-19, PNZ offered flexible working conditions and post the lockdown period we will see staff working more from home.

We have undertaken our annual spring clean of our membership database. Thanks to all the members who have checked whether we have fully up to date contact details for staff and trustees, to support our membership communication.