The Generosity Hub is working to encourage a culture of generosity across New Zealand, writes Susan Fogarty.

The Generosity Hub is working to encourage a culture of generosity across New Zealand, writes Susan Fogarty.

What is generosity? An even better question to ask is – why bother with it? In the fundraising and philanthropic sectors, generosity is what enables many nonprofits to exist. People are generous because they care; they are happy to donate time, money and expertise to causes they believe in.

Which is why in New Zealand, a group of like-minded people responded to the increasing interest from the government, communities, voluntary organisations and businesses regarding the promotion of generosity.

A vision of a generous New Zealand

In 2007 representatives from The Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector (OCVS), Philanthropy New Zealand (PNZ) and Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) met to host a ‘Communities of Interest’ meeting out of which came a vision for a generous New Zealand.
This group then decided to form a ‘hub’ or steering group, informed by advisors and interested parties to help transform the ideas about generosity into reality.

The Generosity Hub was born, its mission simple – to grow the level of giving in all its forms amongst all people across New Zealand.

The idea of creating better awareness of giving and building a foundation which enables people to give in a more planned manner was a concept many organisations had considered – but did not have the resources to tackle.

The Generosity Hub

The Generosity Hub is a collaborative initiative involving people across the nonprofit and volunteer sectors. It is made up of a central driving group including Elliot Strange, manager of Signify Ltd; Tim Burns, executive director of Volunteering New Zealand; Kate Freykberg from the Todd Foundation; Lani Evans from the Regeneration Project; Robyn Scott from Philanthropy New Zealand and Nick Jones from IAG. Others involved in various hub working groups include Kitty Hilton FFINZ, CFRE and James Austin, chief executive officer of FINZ.

Generosity Hub chair, Elliot Strange, is passionate about the hub’s vision for New Zealand, and says there are four principle objectives to help it achieve its mission:

Connecting – Growing connections amongst a diverse multilayered cross-section of philanthropic and voluntary sectors. This is being achieved by working together to build and maintain relationships.

– Reinforcing the value of giving and celebrating the notion of sustainability through giving.

– Utilising education and other learning opportunities along with New Zealand’s cultural diversity.

– Helping people have an embedded understanding of giving, so that it’s natural to ask and natural to give, while also researching to build on existing knowledge.

The hub acknowledges that encouraging giving in a multi-sectoral way is far more complex than simply waiting for governments to provide tax relief for those who give.

Supporting different ways of giving

Generosity Hub work to date includes a report into fostering financial giving and collaborating with the OCVS on the ‘How do New Zealanders Give?’ study. This research will be redesigned and expanded in 2011, resulting in more detailed quarterly data.

The hub supports finding new and different ways of giving, engaging New Zealand youth to support giving and building a Corporate Citizens Business Network, including payroll giving, introduced in New Zealand in November 2009.

Giving for good

The latest hub initiative is the ‘Giving for Good’ website ( which allows anyone to share stories or information about giving, provide feedback and give support. The site also contains a learning centre with material and research from New Zealand and overseas.

In order to facilitate this work a number of individuals and organisations have given their expertise and time pro-bono.

The benefit of connections

Robyn Scott from Philanthropy New Zealand also believes that one of the outstanding achievements of the hub has been the connections that have been made. “We’ve joined many dots, connecting groups that otherwise may not have connected; working with them to make the most of not only what they’re doing but with what others are also doing. We’ve built a robust platform and we’re now springing projects from it.”

Bringing people together from across such a large spectrum has been challenging for those involved, but also rewarding as the hub’s efforts start to make an impact in the sector.

Building, not fixing

“This isn’t a social movement needing to fix something that’s broken – it’s building on what exists,” says Strange. “As time passes, it can change the language and definitions of things and behaviours. But it needs to be given that time. The hub is the ambulance at the top of the cliff; the more generous and connected communities are, the greater the social capital that can exist. And underlying that is the successful social fabric of society.”

The success of the hub will always depend on the commitment and generosity of those involved. Fortunately those involved are passionate about the sector, helping to ensure the hub goes from strength to strength by bringing together the right people at the right time, guaranteeing that generosity will continue to grow in New Zealand.

For more on the Generosity Hub go to: