Registered Charities

Qualities of an effective charity

The Charities Commission's vision is a strong charitable sector for New Zealand, one which enjoys a high level of public trust and confidence. For the Commission, the "qualities" are intended to assist in working with charities in relation to matters of education and good governance.

In consultation with members of the charitable sector, the Commission has developed a statement of the qualities that it considers contribute to making a charity efficient and effective, and best able to achieve its purposes.

The Commission hopes that charities will consider the qualities and "tailor" a practical response to them to best fit their own structure, size, complexity and activities. In New Zealand, the qualities of an effective charity are that the charity:

Has a strong board

An effective charity is run by a clearly identifiable group who make all the significant decisions for the charity, and record them clearly. They are pragmatic and have the right balance of skills and experience, and understand their own and the charity's responsibilities and obligations. They provide guidance that enables the charity to carry out its work and achieve its purposes. The charity:

For useful resources on managing your board matters, go to the Governance and policies page.

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Is accountable and transparent

An effective charity understands that the public has a valid interest in it, and manages its accountabilities to its stakeholders and to the public in a way that is timely, transparent, and understandable. The charity:

You may find useful resources for accounting standards on the Financial management page and the Communications and IT page covers tips on non-financial reporting

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Maintains a focus on learning and improving

An effective charity assesses its own performance, and monitors changes in relevant social trends and the experiences of other charities in similar areas. Using this knowledge, the charity seeks to improve its performance and efficiency, learn new and better ways to achieve its purposes, guide its planning and influence its future direction. The charity:

For useful information on improving planning and performance, go to the planning and evaluation page.

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Is clear about its purposes and direction

An effective charity is clear about the characteristics and needs of its beneficiaries, its charitable purposes and vision, and uses this knowledge to guide its decisions and activities. The charity:

You may find useful resources for non-financial reporting Communications and IT page.

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Is sound and prudent

An effective charity can identify the financial and other resources needed to achieve its purposes, and can obtain, control and manage those resources to achieve the best possible value from them. The charity:

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Has the right people for its activities

An effective charity ensures it has the right qualities and competence in its people to manage and support the delivery of its services. The charity:

Many resources on engaging with staff can be found on the Human resources page.

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Shows fitness for purpose

Consistent with its purpose and the public benefit it provides, the charity's structure, policies and procedures enable the charity to efficiently deliver services for the public's benefit and to engage as required cross culturally and with iwi, hapu and urban Maori. The charity:

We have a list of useful resources on achieving your purpose on the Planning and evaluation page and tips on engaging with volunteers can be found under Human resources.

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