Rising inflation; rising demand: a call to action for Philanthropy

Philanthropy is here to create positive change. So how do we respond when things get hard? Because let’s be clear – right now, things are hard, for whānau, communities, and the organisations that support them.

Inflation is above 7%, the highest level in three decades. Whānau are facing significant jumps in the price of food, petrol and housing. Illness, whether covid, influenza, or just plain exhaustion is disrupting work, schooling, and supply chains. And community organisations, particularly those that provide essential services and support our most vulnerable, are facing significant increases in service demand.

For many community organisations, that increased demand is combined with increased costs in service provision, but no corresponding increase in income. This is placing stress on operating budgets with already tight margins and few reserves to draw on. The impacts are not just from inflationary pressures. Staff retention is also becoming an issue as charities struggle to remain competitive in a jobseeker’s market.

The current situation is not financially sustainable, nor is it sustainable for staff who bear the well-being impacts of consistent under-resourcing.

Philanthropy’s role in the for-purpose ecosystem is to provide resourcing and support. We are in the unique and privileged position of being, for the most part, financially secure. Now is the time for us to engage our generosity. Let’s dig into our reserves, and ensure the organisations we care about survive, thrive and continue to meet the outcomes we are working towards.

Te Rourou is taking action by providing a one-off, untagged support payment to all current community partners. We hope that these funds, the equivalent of 10% of the original grant, will help organisations retain staff, cover increasing costs and meet their goals. And as grant contracts renew, we will be talking to organisations about the true cost of their mahi, and looking for ways that we can provide adequate support – through funds, advocacy, access to networks and volunteer time.

It is vitally important that charities continue to deliver services to communities – and at the moment some of these services hang by a thread. How we choose to respond is up to us. We’re laying down the wero (challenge) – how will your organisation respond to a changing economic environment?

– Lani Evans, Head of Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation