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The majority of Chapters of Transparency International are in countries with high levels of corruption and are eligible to receive aid funding. The level of funding received means that they can employ several permanent staff. In contrast, as a Chapter in an aid-donor country, the New Zealand Chapter is ineligible for the ongoing funding that aid programmes can provide. Its current funding base is memberships and contributions from around 100 committed individual, business and government members and donors.
While this provides reliable funding for the essentials of financial and Board administration, TINZ’s volunteer Directors and Patron (recently complemented by volunteer Executive Officers and Fundraisers) manage the many TINZ projects and activities working many hours probone. From 2004, flow through funding from MFAT to go to the four Pacific Chapters (Fiji, PNG, the Solomons and PNG) gave the impression that the New Zealand Chapter received more revenue than it did.
Through the generous support of several government agencies, the School of Government, the Gama Foundation plus significant volunteer contributions from researchers, reviewers and business facilities, TINZ received sufficient resources to complete the most comprehensive National Integrity System assessment anywhere in the world This on its own, however, has been slow in attracting the ongoing investment required to support a viable and sustainable professional base for TINZ.
This is about to change through the initiatives of Brendon Wilson and James Bushell!!
Brendon Wilson, TINZ Fundraiser
In February, the TINZ Board delegated authority to Brendon Wilson to lead initiatives to apply for philanthropic funding and assist in building corporate partnerships to invest in TINZ capacity, projects and programmes. Brendon says "the benefits of New Zealand’s strong international reputation, based on an un-corrupt public sector, can be realised across all sectors."
Working with Brendon is James Bushell. James philanthropic expertise and experience, including knowledge about social networking, added to his network of small and medium-sized ethical businesses, provides a basis for selecting sources of partnership funding with objectives consistent with those to TINZ.
TINZ’s strategy, centred on preventing corruption based on the strengthening of the New Zealand brand as a high trust society, is aimed at growing the New Zealand economy in a way that improves the well-being of all its citizens and organisations, whether public, private or community based. The paradox is that while ultimately everyone can gain from the outcomes of TINZ strategy, the objectives of most philanthropists, grants, donors and corporate giving are focused on very specific charitable activities, rather than activities that achieve universal benefits. TINZ approach is based on collaboration.It is looking to build build partnerships and achieve results through activities of mutual benefit.
Brendon’s belief is in the importance of the principles of integrity and transparency in all the ways society works. This has led him to: “a very happy and willing involvement with TINZ, who I would characterise as ‘a group of fine minds put to fine purpose’. I believe that most institutions and individuals in New Zealand instinctively hold an underlying belief in integrity, but most have never had much reason to prioritise it, so never think through its central importance and the ways to make it an effective strategy. That is TINZ’s exact role.”
Brendon and James approach is to demonstrate why TINZ is important to the achievement of others’ own objectives. As a result, by contributing to and investing in TINZ’s programmes, they achieve outcomes both of direct benefit to them AND to the people, organisations, communities and the economy that make up our nation.
Many funders prioritize their contributions as the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, addressing immediate unmet needs. TINZ objectives focus on efforts at the top of the cliff that aim to prevent society’s and the economy’s accidents happening. This requires a sophisticated demonstration to funders of the additional value of their contribution, such that it is the nature of an investment in TINZ.
James Bushell brings experience in ethical business and giving
James notes that creating better societal cohesion and social equality has always been at the forefront of what drives philanthropy. He sees a growing awareness that the most effective way of achieving this is through societal change.
TINZ actively works to promote the highest levels of transparency, accountability and integrity in both government and civil society. It is through initiatives such as the “National Integrity System Assessment” recommendations, whose implementation is now being addressed in several ways, that cause such societal change. It is this type of work that creates large scale impact that affects societal cohesion and social equality.
Philanthropists and businesses who see this bigger picture will support and invest in the objectives and outcomes TINZ aims to achieve.
Connectivity is a rapidly progressing global trend, removing previous communication barriers, leading to connectivity with anyone around the globe with similar objectives. Social networking allows TINZ to connect to a wider demographic and interact with them in real time. This can be used for the rapid spreading of information and messaging to a larger audience as well as enabling platforms for open dialogue and collaboration around corruption and transparency..
TINZ high quality engagement at the sharp end of most parts of New Zealand society (viz in the huge effort in the 2013 National Integrity System Assessment) has prepared the ground – so much work and engagement has been done and continues daily. So the thought leadership and the supporting data are mostly there. The challenge now is to convince funders, donors, members and partners of the value to them of investing in TINZ. James views this as “an exciting challenge in a stimulating but worthwhile mind-space!”