Make sure your donation will have an impact

Published 21 March 2019

New Zealanders are incredibly generous in times of need, and we have a very healthy charitable sector that does great things in our communities. Here are some tips to ensure your donation will have an impact.

Get to know the charity better

There are some things you can do to be confident that your money will go to help those in need. You can find out who a charity is and what they do. You can often find this information on the charity’s website and on the Charities Register.

The Register summarises each charity’s purpose and activities, and includes their annual return – a yearly report which details their income, expenditure and activities. If you still have questions, you can ask the charity how they plan to use donations. If you have difficulty understanding the information on the Register you can email our Charities Support team on

There are also many organisations that are doing great work in our communities, but they aren’t registered charities. These groups won’t be on the Register, but most of them will have their own website that sets out their purpose and activities.

Protect yourself

There are some dishonest people who take advantage of New Zealanders’ generosity by fraudulently seeking donations.

If someone comes to your home who claims to be collecting donations on behalf of a charity, or they are collecting on the street, you can ask to see appropriate identification.

Online safety

Netsafe(external link) and CERT NZ(external link) are the experts on staying safe online. CERT NZ has developed a list of tips to help you avoid online scams and attacks.

In times of crisis, we sometimes hear reports of phishing emails(external link).

Email phishing scams ask you for personal details such as your date of birth and bank account number. They may also ask you to donate to a bank account that fraudulently claims to belong to a charity. If you receive an email requesting a donation and it looks suspicious, do not open or reply to the email – simply delete it as it may contain links to viruses. You can report the suspected scam to NetSafe(external link).

Anyone wishing to donate online could seek out a reputable online fundraising platform, rather than using the links in suspect emails, websites or social media accounts.

Door-to-door and on-street collectors

Don't be shy about asking for identification from people who claim to be collecting donations on behalf of a charity. You could also ask the collector:

  • to come back after you have had an opportunity to phone the charity concerned
  • for the charity's registration number, and either check the number yourself on the Charities Register or call 0508 CHARITIES (the Call Centre is open 8.30am – 5pm workdays)
  • for more information about the charity – a fundraiser should be able to explain the work of the charity and how your donation will be used.

Phone safety

If you choose to make a donation over the phone, make sure you’re dealing with the charity concerned. You can look up the charity's phone number and call them back yourself.

Here’s some more information you may find useful