Charity Profile Series – Erin McVeigh, Auckland City Mission
October 5, 2021
For our third Charity Profile, we caught up with the amazing Erin McVeigh, a Campaign Specialist at Auckland City Mission. The charity is a household name both in Auckland and across Aotearoa, supporting those in need experiencing a wide range of vulnerabilities including homelessness and food security. Erin was kind enough to share her motivation for joining the charity sector, her favourite thing about working for Auckland City Mission and details about their exciting new move.
How long have you been working in the not-for-profit sector?
I’ve been working in the not-for-profit (for-purpose) sector in Australia and Aotearoa for 10 years.
What made you want to work for a charity?
After working in a range of sectors including corporate, government agencies and small business I wanted to move to something where I could directly see the impact of my work in the community. I had a particular interest in the disability sector which is where I got my footing into not-for-profit in Australia. Then when I moved home to New Zealand I just naturally fell back into the charity world.
What’s the biggest misconception about charities or working for a charity that you hear?
It’s probably that fundraising isn’t seen as a profession or something with career progression opportunities. The role of a fundraiser is a busy one with many intricacies you can learn on the way but there are also great professional development and networking opportunities through peak bodies and online communities.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Auckland City Mission – Te Tāpui Atawhai?
He Tāngata, he Tāngata, he Tāngata – the people! Every Wednesday we have waiata and karakia in our community dining room (Haeata). This includes staff and the street whānau who are there for breakfast and is the most uplifting half an hour of my week. It’s a way to manaaki the people we support as well as fellow colleagues and uphold the values of the Mission.
Obviously in our COVID-19 lockdown times we can’t do this in person but have weekly Teams meetings to help stay connected.
What exciting initiatives/appeals are coming up for the Mission this year?
The Mission will be moving back to its original home on Hobson Street into a purpose-built, safe space to stand against homelessness, hunger and poor health called HomeGround. This will be bringing almost all of our services back under one roof and provide a mana enhancing space for all of Auckland. This includes permanent housing in 80 apartments for people who are experiencing homelessness, social and medical detox services and a bigger, better Calder Health Centre to provide low-cost health services.
Even though we have almost reached the target for this capital campaign, COVID-19 restrictions have meant a delay in construction which comes at a cost. All this during a time of unprecedented demand for our services so our COVID-19 response appeal will continue as well as our busiest time of the year – Christmas!
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that charities in New Zealand face?
The rising number of registered charities means that we are often competing for support against many other deserving organisations. I think we need to find a way to collaborate more so that we are helping donors feel empowered to give and know their generosity is contributing to better outcomes in their community.
What gives you hope for the future of charitable giving?
What gives me hope is the incredible generosity we are seeing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdowns. The Mission has had so much support from around the whole country, it feels like people are really looking outside of their own bubbles to find ways to help. The idea of being a “global citizen” seems to really be resonating with a younger donor base and promote a strong desire to help others.