Quick Index Our thoughts are with everyone in Christchurch
Important advice for charities wanting to assist with earthquake relief
Two appeal judgments received – NZ Computer Society, Draco Foundation
Retirement of general manager Registration and Compliance; acting GM appointed
Opening up the Register – greater transparency
Did you know…? Key facts about registered charities
Helpful tips about writing rules
Charity forums coming to you soon
Compliance section added to website
Extra help searching the Register
Register a hot click
Please, tell us your opinions of our newsletter
“Our thoughts Like many people in New Zealand at 12.51pm on Tuesday 22 February, Charities Commission staff
felt the shockwave from the massive tremor that shook Christchurch.
everyone in At the time, we weren’t immediately aware of the devastation it had caused, but soon saw the news
reports of the tragic deaths and damage that it had brought to the city and its people.
and the All of us feel shock and grief at the terrible losses Christchurch has suffered, but we are also very
charities who aware of the wonderful work being done by the people and charities who have stepped up to offer
comfort and practical support to those who need it most – they really are “making a difference”, and
are helping deserve our thanks and support.
There are 2,395 charities registered with us who are based in Christchurch, six in Lyttleton, 23 in
Akaroa, and 18 in Darfield. As well, there are three charities registered as a group that are based in
Christchurch, and numerous nationwide-wide charities operating there – many of which have sent
additional staff and volunteers to the city since the quake struck.
We hope that everyone in our wider Christchurch “charities family” – including your families and
friends – are safe and well, and will be thinking of you often during the weeks ahead, and doing
whatever we can to lend our support. Meanwhile, please be aware:
The Commission will deal sympathetically with Christchurch charities delayed in filing
Annual Returns or meeting other compliance requirements
Of course – it goes without saying – the Charities Commission understand the other important
demands that are being made upon Christchurch charities right now, and will be sympathetic to any
requests or problems you might have in fulfilling your ongoing obligations for registration during the
coming weeks. If you are likely to be delayed or have problems with filing compliance documents
that fell due on or after 22 February, please just call us on 0508 CHARITIES to let us know.
Calls to 0508 CHARITIES
The Commission’s Call Centre is based in Christchurch – thankfully, although the building was
damaged, staff were uninjured. Since the quake, we have been answering all 0508 CHARITIES
calls in our Wellington office. If it takes a little longer than usual for us to pick up your call, please be
patient – we have a small team, and are doing our very best.
Charity scams – how to donate safely
We are also aware that some unscrupulous people are seeking to take advantage of the high regard
in which most registered charities are held, by sending out scam emails or collectors purporting to
come from legitimate charities. We have sent out a warning through news media, and have updated
our advice for donors and charities. We have also provided details of legitimate quake relief funds,
and are encouraging the public to ask collectors for charities’ registration numbers.
Meanwhile – we hope that, given time and the generous support of New Zealanders and
international relief efforts, Christchurch and its people will recover. Kia kaha – be strong.
Important Check your rules first, before fundraising
Please ensure your charity’s rules allow you to fundraise for the disaster before you launch an
advice for appeal. For example, if your purposes are to provide sports facilities for young people, you may not
charities be able to fundraise for a disaster.
wanting to Even if it is within your charity's rules to run a disaster appeal, you should first think about whether
assist with you are best placed to organise and run an appeal, or whether other charities are in a better position
to do so.
relief Thinking of starting a new charity to assist earthquake relief?
The Commission strongly advises careful consideration before starting a new charity to help with the
earthquake. Well-established aid agencies already have networks, infrastructure, expertise and
systems so they can respond quickly.
They also generally have donee status, so donors receive tax credits. We suggest that if you want to
help, it's best to contact an established aid agency to offer your time and expertise.
Two more The Commission has received judgments from two recent appeals, now available on our website:
appeal New Zealand Computer Society Incorporated - 28 February 2011
Draco Foundation New Zealand Charitable Trust - 15 February 2011
The Computer Society judgment relates to the Commission’s deregistration decision, and the Draco
judgment to the Commission’s decision not to register the entity.
To date, nine appeals have been heard, and eight judgments received, upholding the Commission’s
decisions. Three more appeals are still to be heard – two are scheduled in March, and a date is yet
to be set for the third. All judgments received to date are published on the Court judgments page, to
assist wider understanding of what the law means by “charitable”.
Comment from principal advisor
Angela van Dam, the Commission’s principal advisor, says that these judgments will add to the body
of case law already used by the Commission’s analysts when making decisions to register or
“When making our decisions, we are bound by the law set out by the courts. Over the years, courts
have evolved a body of legal reasoning and precedents that we apply to every individual application
and to each decision about whether to allow an entity to remain on the Register, “ she says. “We do
not compare applications with already-registered charities – every decision is made on its own
individual merits. We do not refer to any other already-registered charity or applicant, or even to any
application we had previously declined.”
The Commission must be sure that every applicant and registered charity has main purposes that
are exclusively and wholly charitable. A charity’s rules must all be directed towards a charitable
purpose recognised by the law, and all its activities must be directed at achieving its charitable
purposes (and nothing else).
This enables the public to feel assurance that registered charities have been scrutinised to be sure
they comply with the law, and that they are genuinely and wholly charitable.
Registration The Commission’s general manager Registration and Compliance, Chris Winstanley, is to retire in
Compliance Chris has had a long and distinguished public service career, which included senior roles with the
Qualifications Authority and several New Zealand secondary schools before she joined us.
manager Chris She started at the Commission in 2006, when we were planning our processes to register charities
Winstanley to after the Register opened on 1 February 2007. At the time, we estimated up to 25,000 charities
Since then, Chris and her teams have processed more than 35,000 applications and more than
50,000 Annual Returns and Notices of Change, responded to complaints and enquiries from the
public, and monitored and investigated charities. They have also assisted counsel in several High
Court appeals and educated charities about their compliance obligations by personal contact, by
speaking at forums around the country and through information sheets.
Chris’s tenure with the Commission has certainly been demanding at times, but, we hope, rewarding
as well. We wish her the very best for the future, and her planned travels.
Acting Acting general manager Registration, Sally Stonier, appointed
Responding to Chris’s decision, the Commission has appointed an acting general manager
appointment Registration until the end of the year.
We welcome Sally Stonier, who will take up this role in mid-March. Sally will bring a wealth of
leadership, strategy and charities registration experience to the position, having most recently been
the Registration Development Manager for the UK Charity Commission. She has also worked in the
charitable sector in both the UK and the USA.
Charities will most likely have an opportunity to meet Sally at the Commission’s forums, being
arranged for April-June this year.
Opening up the At present, if you search the Charities Register using the criteria on our Search page, you can
generate a list of charities that – for example – operate in a particular area, work in a particular
Register – sector, and/or help a specified group of beneficiaries.
Many people using the Register have found this information useful.
However, the Commission is taking it a step further, and is developing a new “advanced” search
function that will allow users to download sets of data about charities.
For example, it could be possible to search for “all charities that act as an umbrella/resource body,
operate in the Wellington area, received donations of more than $40,000, and whose main
beneficiaries are children and young people”, or any other combination of search criteria.
It will enable the data from the Charities Register to be “opened up” more widely, and allow
government agencies, charities, the public, researchers, academics, professional advisers and
others to find useful and relevant information about charities, and put it to good use.
“Open Data” will help to make the sector more transparent – to charities themselves, and to
everyone else. It is likely to be a valuable tool for enhancing trust and confidence in the sector, and
to increasing knowledge and understanding of what charities do and achieve. Open data will open
up charity data to third party web developers and add value to current and new web applications and
services that will benefit both the public and charities.
We’ll keep you posted about progress on “Open Data”, which will be developed and introduced in
two stages during the next six months – firstly to other government users (so we can test it in a “real
life” environment and develop some case studies), and then publicised more widely to charities and
Did you As at 21 February 2011, from Annual Returns filed by registered charities from the most recent 12
month period (that is,. for years ended between 1 August 2009 and 31 July 2010), we know that:
facts about more than 40% of registered charities are “grassroots” groups working with less than
registered $25,000 income a year
almost 85% of all donations / koha are received by 5% of registered charities
charities almost 82% of all assets are held by 5% of registered charities
registered charities spend $12 billion a year on their charitable purposes, and provide paid
employment to the equivalent of 11,000 full-time staff
volunteers give more than 33,000 hours to charities every week
the charitable sector holds more than $35 billion in assets
Spam Have you ever received spam emails?
avoidance Spam is any message that's sent to multiple recipients who haven't specifically requested the
message. Often, it is from overseas scammers, seeking to harvest “live” email addresses, bank
account or other commercial or personal details, and/or fraudulently obtain money.
In 2007, Government passed the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act, which is administered and
enforced by the Department of Internal Affairs.
When planning to send commercial “bulk” emails (even one-off messages), it’s wise to make sure
gain prior consent before sending any email (this can be “implied” or express consent)
record when, where and how that consent was given, in order to produce evidence should
any issues arise
clearly identify who your email is from and supply your contact details, which must be valid
for at least 30 days from the date of the email
provide a free, clear and easy to use way for people to unsubscribe from your messages,
which also must remain valid for at least 30 days
action all requests to unsubscribe within 5 working days from the date of their receiving the
If you have any questions or want to report spam, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or contact
Anti-Spam Compliance Unit
Department of Internal Affairs
PO Box 805
Phone: (04) 495 7200
Helpful tips for The Commission is sometimes contacted by new charities wanting assistance with writing rules to
use with their application for registration.
We have published several information sheets to help with writing rules:
Your rules and the Charities Act
Helpful tips for writing rules
And examples of wording for purpose clauses:
The relief of poverty
The advancement of religion
The advancement of education
Purposes beneficial to the community
However, you might also refer for guidance to the rules of similar organisations that the Commission
has already registered (their rules are published on the Charities Register).
Be careful though, not to simply “copy and paste” clauses from other charities’ rules into your own
rules if they aren’t a true reflection of what you will be doing. Your rules should clearly show what
your charitable purposes are, and be the framework for your activities.
Having rules that aren’t consistent with your activities could put your charity at risk of complaints
from the public, and possible deregistration if your charity is monitored by the Commission.
April – June Following the successful forum series the Commission ran last year for charities, we are now
organising a further series of 17 forums, to be held in main centres across the country.
confirmed – We will work closely with local groups to organise and publicise the forums in each area, and involve
a range of other government and non-government organisations that work in and alongside the
details to come charitable sector.
Charities who attended the earlier forums had asked for them to become a regular event, with
feedback indicating that one of the most valuable things they got from them was the chance to
network with other charities, representatives from government agencies, and advisers to the sector.
We have created a list of the proposed dates and we’ll keep you posted as venues and speakers
are confirmed. Personal invitations will be sent out shortly. Note that we will confirm some dates and
venues for Christchurch area charities as soon as practicable.
If you require any further information, please contact email@example.com.
Compliance A new section has been added to the Commission’s website – it includes pages explaining how the
Commission’s Compliance team work to monitor and investigate charities, and an online
section added Complaints form and FAQs.
Over time, we will add more resources and tools for charities to use, to help ensure that you
continue to meet the Commission’s compliance requirements.
We may also publish summaries of the outcomes of our investigations work over time, and our
recommendations to charities we have monitored, to assist members of the public to more easily
recognise the attributes of effective charities.
Extra help with You can use a range of search options to search the Charities Register, whether you are looking for
a particular charity, or for a list of charities that share certain criteria in common.
Register So, for example, you can look for a charity by using a keyword in its name, or look for a list of
charities using search criteria that include an area of operation, beneficiaries, sector and activities.
Or, you can search by an officer’s name.
Now, we have added some “animated” screenshots showing you some of the ways to search. Take
a look and try them out for yourself!
Charities In the year from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2010, there were:
Register a hot 473,925 visits to the online Charities Register with just under 4 million page views
click 158,624 of those visitors viewed 496,587 charity summary pages on the Register
The total number of hits for all pages during the year was 14,338,288 hits.
What does this mean for you and your charity? Traffic to the Charities Register has been steadily
increasing since the Register was opened in early 2007, indicating a growing level of public interest
in charities, and their financial and other information.
The Commission recommends that you check your charity’s summary page on the Register
regularly, to be sure that your contact and other details are up to date, that you have filed your
Annual Returns on (or before) they are due, and you have advised us (using a Notice of Change
form) if you have changed your charity’s:
address for service
officers (including new appointments)
Your opinions Update has around 7,000 regular subscribers, and we would like to hear your opinions!
count! – 5 We’d like to invite your feedback on its content, frequency and usefulness. Please consider
minute Update completing our readership survey by Monday 11 April – it takes just five minutes and will help us to
ensure we are meeting your information needs.
We are very receptive to your thoughts and suggestions, and will let you know the survey’s results
once they have been compiled.
Please have your say at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7L6MHJJ - it only takes a few minutes!
Update is a regular newsletter of the Charities Commission.
If this is not your copy and you wish to subscribe (or to opt out of receiving our emails), simply visit our website, enter your email
address into the Newsletter Group and click “join” or “unsubscribe”.