#GivingTuesday - Let’s Celebrate and Support Giving in South Africa

Tuesday, 2 December, 2014 - 16:23

Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day founded in 2012, which is dedicated to encouraging giving in all its forms. Around the world, individuals, nonprofit organisations, businesses and others will come together for one common purpose - to celebrate generosity and to give.
#GivingTuesday is also an opportunity to celebrate and support giving in South Africa, a country with deeply rooted traditions of social giving and mutual help. There is a strong link between philanthropic giving and the African philosophy of "Ubuntu," which can be defined as "I am what I am because of who we all are." It highlights the notion of sharing resources, and caring for one another.
Recent studies and reports such as Giving and Solidarity -- resource flows for poverty alleviation and development in South Africa and The Giving Report - A survey on the giving practices of high-net-worth individuals in South Africa have provided important insights into how, when and to whom South Africans give.
There is an erroneous assumption that giving is the preserve of the wealthy. You don't have to be rich to make a contribution. It is often ordinary citizens, driven by a sense of concern, responsibility and compassion that make a huge impact on the lives of others.
Local and international initiatives such as Nelson Mandela International Day also provide strategic opportunities to mobilise public and business support for good causes. Celebrated annually on 18 July, it promotes the notion that giving a little of your time to make a difference to the life of someone else, you can start changing the world around you.
Ultimately, South Africa is still confronted with vast poverty and related social development challenges, and often non-profit organisations are at the forefront of providing support and assistance to those in need, or advocating for policies and interventions required in response to these challenges.
Mobilising more South Africans to support their work is therefore in the best interest of all non-profit organisations, especially given the changing local and international funding environment which impacts on the work and impact of the sector in general.  
Strategic support mechanisms, thought leaders, and innovative best practices are key to expanding and sustaining a giving culture in South Africa. Fortunately, a number of local initiatives are dedicated to providing strategic leadership, guidance and support in this regard.
Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement seeks to build a strong, stable civil society and democracy in South Africa by contributing to the development of sustainable organisations and institutions. This is done through the development of effective grantseeking and grantmaking practices, capacity development in the higher education and non-profit sectors and increasing corporate and individual giving through promoting dialogue, sharing information and providing support services to facilitate sustainable philanthropic ventures.
The annual Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards were established in 2007 to acknowledge, celebrate and profile those who have committed their personal resources towards broader social development in South Africa.
CAF Southern Africa promotes and facilitates effective giving, volunteering and social investment, focusing on both the business community and non-profit sectors, with the ultimate aim to increase the amount and impact of investment in the non-profit sector.
The business community plays a key role in supporting non-profit organisations and good causes with funding and other forms of assistance. The CSI Handbook, produced by Trialogue, is the publication that development and CSI practitioners turn to for thought leadership in South Africa. It has helped establish the standards for best practice in social investment in South Africa.
In addition, the annual Trialogue Making CSI Matter conference is the leading event for CSI and development practitioners to meet, share and learn. It provides delegates with new and inspired thinking, ultimately leading to improved practice and effectiveness of CSI.
The Southern Africa Institute of Fundraising (SAIF) is a professional association of individuals who are responsible for generating resources that will advance sustainability of non-profit organisations and good causes in South Africa. It aims to promote and encourage high standards of ethics, practice and public service, and continues to support the growth and professionalism of individual fundraisers and social entrepreneurs.
The Southern African Community Grantmakers Leadership Forum (SACGLF) harnesses the collective capacity of independent development trusts and community grantmakers. It was launched in 2005 to advance, build and strengthen sustainable community-based development in Southern Africa, and acts as a leadership and learning network committed to social justice grantmaking as a powerful vehicle for change. At the same time, the African Grantmakers Network is a continent-wide network of African grantmaking organisations that facilitates networking and experience-sharing among established and emerging African philanthropic institutions.
Lastly, the Internet is enabling a growing number of people and institutions to support the work of non-profit organisations and good causes in South Africa. Various online giving portals list hundreds of South African causes and organisations seeking financial support from the public. Examples include BackaBuddy, Doit4Charity and GivenGain.
So, in the spirit of #GivingTuesday, let’s celebrate giving in South Africa and encourage more South Africans to support the work of non-profit organisations and good causes making a difference in the lives of others.
David Barnard is Vice-President: Africa at TechSoup Global.
TechSoup Global is one of the two global network partners of the #GivingTuesday campaign.

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