© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Charities running on fumes.

Victoria Harwood

Charities provide essential services to New Zealanders across the country, but with an increase in charities popping up and a decrease in funds available, the funding game is getting tough.


Every year, around 27,000 registered charities in New Zealand are scrambling for money to keep their services up and running. Some charities are set up to provide services which they can charge for, but most offer support to groups and individuals at little to no cost.

Charities in New Zealand spend around $17 billion annually and are supported by over 230,000 volunteers and 180,000 paid staff. Potential employees are often reluctant to work in the not for profit sector because of the job insecurity created by the lack of funding, so many charities rely on volunteers.

Executive Director of the Tourette's Association, Robyn Twemlow, says the current funding model makes certainty difficult in the sector.

"It's a bit of a Catch 22. You're making money to provide services you need to provide, but then you've got less time to provide the service because you're raising money."

Twemlow says that not for profits are constantly having to come up with new and reinvented ideas to get funding. Applying to places like the Lottery Grants Board, which is managed by the Department of Internal Affairs and donates under the Gambling Act 2003, and standing outside of supermarkets ambushing shoppers for their spare change just isn't cutting it anymore.

In her opinion, an essential service, especially in the health sector, like what the Tourette's Association provides, should have the Government should pick up some of the slack.

'You're providing a service where if you weren't doing it, nobody else would be."