Insights

Narrative Emergency Kit: How should we prepare for the next crisis?

Brett Davidson | IRIS
Funders, activists and movement leaders need to understand what happens in the field of narrative during a time of crisis and disruption, and prepare ahead of time rather than scrambling to respond after a disruptive event takes place. Here are five factors we need to keep in mind.

What is UX design and why is it important for your nonprofit?

Ruen Govinder | Hashtag Nonprofit
UX means “user experience” and refers to designing and creating products with the user in mind. With nonprofits, this can refer to how a user experiences your organisation via your website. Positive user experiences (UX) mean better support for your organisation and your cause. Find out more about UX design, and why your nonprofit can't afford to ignore it.

Funding crisis in North West as Social Development department fails to pay subsidies

GroundUp
Critical services for the elderly and victims of sexual assault will soon be halted if non-profit organisations do not receive their subsidies from the North West Department of Social Development (DSD). Dozens of NPOs in the province say they have been desperately trying to get funding for months. Some face closure.

Good governance, transparency and accountability are thin on the ground in South Africa – civil society must lead the way

Shelagh Gastrow
Once an organisation receives public benefit status and does not pay tax on its income, how transparent should the public expect it to be? Contrary to the US, in South Africa people prefer to undertake their philanthropy under the radar. By Shelagh Gastrow.

The impact of the Ukraine War on South Africa's food system

Tamsin Faragher
South Africa is a net importer of wheat (about 50% of our consumption) and the Ukraine is one of the main sources of our wheat imports, particularly from the Eastern part of the country. Wheat is a winter crop and the spring harvest is currently in the fields. Tamsin Faragher looks at how the war in Ukraine could impact our food security.

Half of non-profit organisations are failing to comply with the law

GroundUp
The Department of Social Development (DSD) says only half the more than 250,000 registered non-profit organisations are compliant with legal requirements. The DSD claims it is deregistering non-compliant organisations.

What do we mean by effective storytelling? Letting go of magic bullets

Brett Davidson | IRIS
How do we tell more effective stories? This is a central question for IRIS, a new collaborative hub that brings together funders, storytellers and activists. In this article, Brett Davidson unpacks the definition of 'effective' storytelling.

NPOs must be part of rebuilding SA

Setlogane Manchidi | Investec
Despite still being in the thick of the pandemic and its social impact, many will undoubtedly agree that our efforts should be forward looking and focused on exploring ways to help pick up the pieces and rebuild our country and rebuild better. We know that the government, the business sector and many other bodies will be key in this regard. However, the efforts of the vital nonprofit organisation (NPO) sector go largely unnoticed, whereas, in my opinion, they should be at the heart of SA’s rebuild.

Marginalised, desperate and angry: The poor are now beyond breaking point

Andy Du Plessis | FoodForward SA
The reality is that food prices at the tills have increased sharply over the past two years. A comparison of 2019 and 2021 food prices, conducted by FoodForward SA, shows that basic food prices have increased by 9.83%. FoodForward SA conducts a Food Price Comparison Review every two years, comparing the prices of more than 60 basic grocery products to monitor fluctuations. Rising food prices are a clear indication that access to basic foods is worsening for those with limited or no income – what is also referred to as money-metric poverty.

Non-profits deliver vital aid in the Covid-19 pandemic and need our support

Anika Berning
Non-profit organisations provide vital services to marginalised communities while employing roughly 800,000 people. But due to the economic challenges of the pandemic, South African NPOs have been struck by severe cutbacks in donations and other sources of income. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it many challenges that affect all of us in different ways. Although the devastation caused by Covid-19 has also been challenging for humanitarian organisations, it has highlighted again the important role they play, especially in times of crisis.

Making a daily difference on two fronts: Meet Andy Du Plessis, Managing Director of FoodForward SA

Helen Joannides
"We use food as an enabler and a catalyst for social change. We don’t just give food to feed people, we strategically give food to beneficiary organisations that focus on education, skills development, youth and women. In that way we strengthen communities – that really excites me about our work."

SA can ill-afford to overlook the non-profit sector in its response to Covid-19

Shelagh Gastrow
The networks provided by non-profit organisations reach deeply into communities. In the ‘new world’ in which we will find ourselves, we will need the NPO sector even more to ensure that vulnerable people and all communities receive the support they need.

A passion for supporting and developing people: Meet Omashani Naidoo, SchoolNet South Africa

Ruen Govinder | Hashtag Nonprofit
Omashani Naidoo talks to us about her journey to lead SchoolNet SA, a public benefit nonprofit company that focuses on ICT in education for teaching and learning.

The impact of COVID-19 on African CSOs - Ongoing uncertainty and a glimmer of optimism

David Barnard
The overall impact of COVID-19 on African civil society organisations (CSOs) continues to be overwhelmingly negative and widespread. 97.8% of CSOs indicated that COVID-19 impacted and disrupted their operations in one or more ways since the start of the pandemic. The loss of funding by African CSOs is still one of the most significant consequences of the pandemic. The financial health of African CSOs was problematic before the pandemic, and this situation has further deteriorated. 68.1% of CSOs reported a loss of funding since the start of the pandemic, and 57.5% expect further losses over the next 12 months.

Kolisis call for fresh thinking after “a time of mayhem”

Independent Philanthropy Association South Africa (IPASA)
“We need to listen to what people dealing with challenging circumstances really need,” says Rachel Kolisi, co-founder of the Kolisi Foundation. This and other fresh new thinking is being championed by young philanthropists such as Kolisi and her husband Siya as key ways in which to meet the country’s growing development challenges after the most disruptive year in democratic South Africa’s history.

Make your voice heard: Proposed Amendments to the NPO act

Nicole Copley | NGO Law
Nonprofit Organisations Amendment Bill 2018, published on 1 October 2021, calls for public comment within 30 days. Please take the time to read through the proposed amendments and submit your comments.

NPO sector needs rebranding badly to increase its impact

Anika Berning
The nonprofit sector is the only one with a name starting with a negative, communicating what it is against, not what it is for. Will rebranding the sector really cause it to have more impact? Does it even matter what the community of NPOs, philanthropists and other actors in the third sector are called?

How to stop the degradation of our museums and cultural infrastructure

Shelagh Gastrow
This year is the African Union year for Arts, Culture and Heritage. This week the African Experts’ virtual meeting on Sites of Memory and World Heritage Convention in Africa and Inter-Ministerial Meeting is taking place. While this high-level discussion occurs, on the ground we are sadly witnessing the collapse or near collapse of key museums and heritage institutions in South Africa.

NGOs must be part and parcel of achieving global SDGs

Anika Berning
While the Covid-19 pandemic rages, we often focus all our attention on surviving the day-to-day struggles while neglecting crucial global long-term goals. One specific such set is the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN in 2015 as a blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for everyone. Globally, social impact organisations have an important role to play in translating the SDGs from a global framework into local programmes that fit community needs.

Meet Bev Russell, CEO of Social Surveys

Social Surveys Africa
In today’s data driven world, sound public policy and civil society initiatives must be informed by accurate information. However, information on society’s marginalised and most vulnerable is often incomplete, inaccurate, or non-existent. For over 30 years, Social Surveys has helped policy leaders make good, evidence-based decisions with state-of-the-art analytical tools. Meet Bev Russell, the force behind Social Surveys.

Why your nonprofit needs a communications budget

Ruen Govinder | Hashtag Nonprofit
Communications is a key part of nonprofit work, but it is also where nonprofits typically fail to allocate sufficient resources. Communications budgets are usually small or non-existent, and the skills that staff need to properly manage something like social media is often taken for granted. Online visibility is a big part of fundraising, but it’s not magic. To be clear, you can raise some money, and run substantive campaigns online -- if you have a solid campaign strategy, skilled staff, and an appropriate budget. A donate button or a few tweets are not going to do it!

Philanthropy and dubious donors: Should non-profit organisations take the money and run?

Shelagh Gastrow
The world has become increasingly transparent with the advent of the internet and social media. We can, after all, see child labour and slavery, carbon emissions, river pollution, the impact of plastics and the disappearance of forests through logging and farming. We have access to more information about corruption, money laundering, State Capture and racketeering. Twitter and Facebook are full of complaints, articles and opinions about governments, companies and individuals. Even philanthropy has been under attack.

Meet Rachel Bukasa, Director of the Black Sash

Helen Joannides
Once a little girl who wanted to be a human rights lawyer, Rachel Bukasa is now 'making human rights real', leading the veteran human rights group, the Black Sash.

People with nothing, have nothing to lose

Andy Du Plessis | FoodForward SA
While we can’t condone the rampant violence, looting, and criminality that spread in certain parts of our country, we must consider that the people perpetrating the lawlessness are unemployed – many for several years already. The daily struggle to put food on the table leaves many hopeless and frustrated – and severely affects people’s mental health.

As hardship continues, empathy drives our social agenda

Andy Du Plessis | FoodForward SA
The impact of Covid-19 has been hard on everyone, in very different ways. Many have lost loved ones; their jobs or had their income reduced. Many are experiencing severe hardship and struggling to cope. Yet, in the midst of all this hardship and uncertainty, we have also seen many examples of the most beautiful demonstrations of humanity, generosity, kindness, personal sacrifice and empathy that inspire us, motivate us, encourage us and bring us closer together.

Money-metric poverty: Most South Africans can't afford basic foods

Andy Du Plessis | FoodForward SA
A comparison of 2019 and 2021 food prices, conducted by FoodForward SA, shows that basic food prices have increased by 9.83%. FoodForward SA conducts a Food Price Comparison Review every two years, comparing the prices of more than 60 basic grocery products to monitor fluctuations. Rising food prices are a clear indication that access to basic foods is worsening for those with limited or no income – what is also referred to as money-metric poverty.

Holding on to history: SA History Online under threat as Covid-19 diverts funding

Omar Badsha, Founder | SA History Online
The largest independent online history project in Africa, South African History Online, has played a pioneering role in promoting a new people’s history as well as history education. But the 20-year-old project needs more support if it is to survive.

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