Reputation is not something the New Zealand Salvation Army sets out to engineer and market.
“It is by-product of our work,” says Commissioner Don Bell. Having said that, he accepts that having good reputation is “critical” to the Army’s effectiveness, and he’s “humbled” by the recognition his peers have accorded his organisation.
“Without the moral and financial support of the public, our corporate partners and various trusts and foundations the breadth and depth of our work would contract dramatically,” he adds.
“Since the recession started in the first quarter of 2008, the number of families coming to us for emergency food alone has increased 55 percent to almost 29,000 families year. Without that support good many of these families would have faced hardships most of us can’t fully comprehend. So we don’t take reputation for granted but its significance goes far beyond any dollar value that it might raise.”
The Salvation Army’s mission statement – caring for people, transforming lives and reforming society – defines the organisation’s strategic objectives and the way in which it delivers on its promise and service to the community, particularly to society’s disadvantaged.
“We work with New Zealanders in their darkest hours,” says Bell. “And everything we do is guided by the mission statement and our belief that we need to be there for people when they need us most.”
The Army launched four mission goals in 2006, the success of which it is now evaluating. The goals called for making “dynamic disciples”, increasing the Army’s membership, eradicating poverty and “becoming streamlined and mission-focused” Army.
“We have pretty well concluded that this is the core essence of the direction we are going and so we will re-launch these at the end of October,” says Bell.
Survey respondents scored the Army highly for what they perceived as its effective organisation structure. And its structure is regularly reviewed to ensure that it continues to deliver on its service.
“At one point we had straight-line organisational management structure, with every section answering to chief operating officer. That has been changed to structure with CEO (Bell), chief operating officer and three ‘cabinet’ offices running the three divisions of business, programmes and personnel, who report to the COO,” Bell explains.
“People relate better to this more structured format,” he adds. “We have also delegated the decision-making down to the people who run each of our programmes.”
Activity programmes, such as the Army’s addiction programme, have their own management board and governance structure, which in turn report back up to the cabinet.
“Delivering on our mission is why we exist,” says Bell. “We are highly structured and disciplined and our goal is to serve suffering humanity. And we deliver on that.”
NZ Management’s Most Reputable Organisation survey respondents seem to agree.


Cancer Society of NZ
Dalton Kelly, CEO

“Reputation equals trust. We rely on raising our own funds through events such as Relay For Life and Daffodil Day, as well as bequests, donations and through sponsorship. Without sound reputation, we would not be so well supported by the people and businesses of New Zealand.”

Jenny Prince, CEO

“Plunket is, and has been for over century, trusted to go into homes across New Zealand. We value very highly the trust that the families across New Zealand, of all cultures and walks of life, place in us, often when their lives are undergoing huge shift.”

The National Heart Foundation of NZ
Tony Duncan, Executive Director

“Reputation is very dependent on internal culture – the way that we do things. We try to measure this through staff satisfaction surveys and exit interviews, to ensure that staff feel that their personal values and the way we do things is aligned.”

Southern Cross Healthcare Group
Ian McPherson, CEO

“Is [being] reputable important? It’s vital – we are talking about people’s health. Our members and customers have placed their trust in us – usually during difficult time. We seek to repay this commitment by providing excellent value and service.”

Bob Kerridge, National President

“As charitable organisation, it is expected that we undertake our charitable activities in professional and effective manner, and in this regard the SPCA excels. Our sincere and honest appeal to the public to support us, is received in the spirit in which it is asked.”

NZ Foundation of the Blind
Sandra Budd, CEO

“Reputation is an important part of building solid and sustainable foundation; it keeps you front of mind for your target audience, and gives your stakeholders the confidence to trust you. great reputation is invaluable to attracting and retaining great people.”

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