A Napier student's efforts to set up a community hub to provide local charities and not for profit organisations with access to book-keeping services could help about 2000 organisations - but contacting so many is proving difficult.

Over the past seven weeks EIT student Jess Botha has been researching a way to help local charities and not for profit organisations to investigate the feasibility in setting up an administration and accounting hub service for Not for Profit organisations within Hawke's Bay.

"Our vision is to create an established self-funded service provider for not for profit organisations in Hawkes Bay. We hope to achieve this via grants and local business donations.

"I think the more people we talked to the more we realised there is a need for this. It would be amazing to not only research a solution but to actually be a part of making a solution."


However, she now needed help in identifying just how many not for profit groups were operating in Hawke's Bay.

"We sent out a survey to 135 not for profits and we are sitting on about 40 responses. Our biggest issue is actually trying to contact them. A lot of the information we get online seems to be out of date, so it would be fantastic to get not for profits to email me so we can get a better representation of them for my investigation."

Research to-date estimated there could be up to 2000 separate organisations in the region.

The project was being run in coordination with Hastings accountancy firm Epplett and Co as part of her final year studies for a Bachelor of Business Studies in Accounting.

Epplett and Co director Sarah Walker said the IBL (Industry-based Learning) project aligned well with the company's own findings from its pro-bono work with local charities.

"This idea about the not for profit book-keeping and accountancy service. My father Preston Epplett has spoken about this for many years. This was always going to be his 'Lotto idea' if he won Lotto.

"From a number of boards we have sat on there is obviously a need and from the people we have been speaking to, this isn't just his Lotto idea, its a lot of people's."

While the project started off looking specifically at setting up a charitable trust that would help local not for profit groups with book-keeping, it had now grown beyond that.

"The idea would be it would be a one-stop-shop for information for funding, training and that sort of stuff.

"Some of these charities are so busy trying to achieve their goals that they just don't have time for this and those are the people that need help the most.

Potentially, a community hub would be able to provide help and advice with issues around governance and succession planning.

"There are plenty of business hubs set up but not for non profits.

"It's also about connecting organisations that are doing similar things. Some of the funders have been trying to do this for years - there has just not been the driving force behind it to make it actually happen."

Groups interested in taking part should e-mail jess@epplett.co.nz or call 06 878 8824.