Why write about not-for-profits? A personal view.

Change is always with us With the change of ownership of NZ Lawyer I do not yet know whether this series of articles will continue, but if there is one constant in life – for each of us and for not-for-profits – it is that change is always with us, and we must change to adapt to that changing world. Should we all know more about Not-for-Profits? Feedback informs me that readers of this series of articles have read them for a variety of reasons. I know that many lawyers (and judges) read them, and the reasons are simple; almost all lawyers are asked to advise on or get involved in governance of not-for-profits, no matter the area of law they practice in, and they learned nothing much about not-for-profits at law school. A wide range of folk in the community also read these articles, as emails and phone calls I have received from all over the country attest. Certainly the Law Commission believes not-for-profits are important (see its recent Report at page 3): New Zealand has over 23,000 incorporated societies spanning a diverse range of interests and purposes. Approximately 45 per cent of them are cultural, sporting and recreational bodies. The remaining 55 per cent comprise a broad range of community activities, including social service providers, religious groups, development and housing bodies, educational and environmental interest groups, and business and professional groups. These community organisations play a very important role in New Zealand society. Together they are often referred to as the not-for-profit sector or as the “third sector”, existing alongside the private (for profit) sector and the public (or...