South African non-profit organisations (NPOs) need to start working on becoming more sustainable and re-think the way they operate as the global recession begins to bite, according to NPO funding expert, Vincent McGee, senior advisor to The Atlantic Philanthropies.
Speaking at a function in Cape Town yesterday, attended by a cross-section of organisations from the NPO, philanthropy and CSI sectors convened at Inyathelo - The South African Institute of Advancement, McGee said that the resources available to NPOs and other organisations has decreased substantially.
The workshop, organised by Inyathelo to discuss the future of funding, heard that some foundations and donors were either reducing their funding disbursements or were keeping the amounts the same, but limiting funding periods and working on exit strategies.
Participants, together with McGee, who is also a consultant to various non profits and foundations in the USA, examined the impact of the current global economic crisis on foundation funding and the donor world and how this is likely to affect funding for South African organisations.
McGee’s sobering reminder of how desperate the current financial situation is in the USA and Europe, with many foundations having lost up to 40% of their assets, brought home the need for South African institutions and organisations to become more strategic in their thinking and to employ plans to tap into underutilised resources available in South Africa.
“There will be many organisations clamouring for the same limited resources. Therefore new and creative ways of raising funds need to be employed and this could include membership fees – in some areas, community members come together and pay a modest fee to ensure that the programme benefiting their community continues, or utilising the organisation’s available resources effectively such as renting out boardrooms to other institutions.”
McGee also stressed the importance of board members giving monetary assistance to support the organisation they represent.
“It is essential that an organisation is able to say that all board members give philanthropically to the organisation. Funders’ perception of the sustainability of an organisation changes if all the board members are fiscally supporting the organisation.”
McGee said this did not mean that each member has to give millions of Rands to the organisation, but every cent donated, sends a clear message of their commitment to that organisation, and to its long-term sustainability.
Issued by Quo Vadis Communications on behalf of Inyathelo - The South African Institute for Advancement
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The South African Institute of Advancement, colloquially known as Inyathelo (advancement in isiXhosa) is a world-recognised organisation dedicated to building a sustainable South African civil society. Its core work is to advance social change by working with key institutions and non-profit organisations to ensure their long-term sustainability. This is done by developing their own capacity to raise private investment towards advancing their objectives. Whilst working with organisations to develop their resource mobilization skills. The Institute promotes social responsibility, personal philanthropy, voluntarism and self-reliance.
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