The Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT) has once again produced an annual Development Calendar in the form of a year planner.
Sponsored by Turning Point Consultants, the 2013 Development Calendar covers a comprehensive list of international, African and South African dates (e.g. World AIDS Day, 1 December) and events of significance to people and organisations involved in development and civil society issues in Southern Africa.
Copies of the calendar are available for collection from the SANGONeT office in Braamfontein, free of charge.
SANGONeT's physical address is as follows:
209 Smit Street
Copies of the calendar are also available from the TPC office in Durban:
103 Mahomedeya Centre
263 Sparks Road
Tel: 031 208 2458
If you would like SANGONeT to mail copies of the calendar to you (bundles of 10 copies), payment of R75 is required to cover postage and packaging costs.
Please contact Dipuo Mahanyele at SANGONeT on Tel: (011) 403 4935 or email@example.com to make the necessary arrangements in this regard.
To view the 2013 Development Calendar, refer to www.ngopulse.org/sites/default/files/sangonet_calendar_2013.pdf.
'Budget will encourage greater giving’
Taking into account the very public outcry relating to the funding crisis experienced by many non-profit organisations, Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement welcomes the proposal by Treasury to allow donations in excess of 10% of taxable income in any given year to listed Public Benefit Organisations (PBOs) to be rolled over as allowable deductions in subsequent years.
While further clarity is required, this is likely to mean that where a donor is in a position to make a substantial contribution in one particular year, the tax benefits will be extended, thereby encouraging such contributions. This could also possibly apply to pledges to fund a PBO over a number of years.
We also welcome the suggestion that consideration will be given to amending the rules governing the amount of funding that must be distributed where PBOs provide funding to other PBOs. This could enhance their capacity to forward plan, to possibly build a capital base to secure their future sustainability and to guarantee on-going support to the PBO sector by other PBOs, such as charitable trusts and philanthropic foundations.
It is also noted that government has proposed that the R14 million turnover threshold for small business corporations be increased to R20 million with a revised graduated tax structure. We are pleased to see that government will also explore the application of the same rate structure to the trading activities of PBOs in the light of the current funding crisis faced by many organisations in civil society.
Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement
Tel: 082 494 2996
2012 has been a tough year for civil society. Those funding cuts that we’d been warned of since the crash in 2008, were keenly felt. The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) wrapped up its second five year programme, the Europeans curtailed their investments, the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DIFID) restructured. The retraction in international funding was exacerbated by instability in local funding as the National Lottery in trying to get its house in order, struggled to deliver on its grant mandate. Government too continued to frustrate rather than support, being slow to pay and with large underspends on its welfare budgets. Business plodded along, on hold as it waited for the new BBBEE Draft Codes to be published.
The result is that the country may not be in recession, but it feels as if the non-profit sector is. The reality of this picture was brought to life by a recent survey by consultancy Greater Good, which interviewed over 600-plus organisations. Eighty percent of those surveyed have lost significant funding this past year, 20 percent have enough money to last another month, 17 percent have no operating cash at all. Published late last year, the report confirms my instincts - that the tough times are real, and life for civil society isn’t going to improve in the near future.
But I’ve had a forced rethink, after attending the ‘Looking Back, Looking Forward’ forum at GIBS, which hosted visionaries whose crystal balls are a whole lot more informed than mine, strategist, Clem Sunter, constitutional expert, Roelf Meyer, City Press editor, Ferial Haffajee, civil society’s Neville Gabrielle, economist, Adrian Saville and Rand Merchant Bank Chair, Sizwe Nxasana.
Hosted at the business school - the home of sharp suits, expensive cars and lengthy debates on profit and loss, the forum took an a-typical turn when the panel from their various areas of expertise agreed that the area of positive growth for 2013 wasn’t financial services, or mining, or media.
But civil society.
This is exciting, as it means that the work being done in social development is finally integrating into mainstream thinking. The commentary was fascinating: that civil society’s cross cultural mobilisation of citizenry is connecting people more than anything (think of anti-toll group, OUTA). That the nonprofit sector is where real change lies - for employment, skills development, entrepreneurship and of course, social development. That government and business have to engage if they want to move forward and civil society is the key to that action.
To hear development debates making their way onto business school panels marks a significant change in thinking. It is an opportunity we cannot miss.
Although I believe that 2013 will be tougher than 2012, I am heartened by the way the work of nonprofits and activists is being viewed. Jim Collins writes about the importance of gaining momentum to achieve change. I like to think that the years of consistent and persistent pushing are starting to gain traction. We don’t have momentum yet, but we’re starting to see the extra spin. And that’s heartening.
So rather than predictions for 2013, I have written instead a few survival tips to ensure that your organisation comes out fitter, stronger and more focused by 2014.
These six steps to surviving 2013 create a well-connected approach that will strengthen your relevance and contribution to social development, creating a solid foundation for the more stable years that sit tantalisingly close on the 2014 horizon.
1. Look beyond the of jobs jobs jobs mantra
Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. It was the mantra of 2012 which resulted in a flurry of activity because it came with access to sizeable sums of money, and is a neatly measurable indicator.
I hope that we have learnt from the HIV-years, when everyone ended up with an HIV project regardless of whether it was relevant to their work or not. And in chasing the easy funding, non-profits neglected the local options which is part of why we’re facing financial difficulties today.
My advice for 2013 is then let’s not focus on jobs, but rather on the more sustainable approach of building business. It’s the entrepreneurs who will create work for those in their communities. We have to move away from the thinking that institutions will create more work. They won’t – the financial pressure that we are already under means that many of us are cutting not creating employment. So it is common sense to think away from the traditional institutional framework. We need to broaden the base of people in employment. We need to focus on improving the systems they work in. And we need to make instill a strong sense of social focus in our entrepreneurship, so that they are a contact point of positive development.
For more on this, refer to www.ngopulse.org/article/milking-profits-tale-cows-kenya.
2. Accountability – getting our house in order
With 80 percent of nonprofits not submitting their annual financial statements and narrative reports to the Department of Social Development, we have no foundation for criticising the other sectors of democracy, business and government.
2013 must be a year where nonprofits commit to Codes of Good Practice and then follow them.
Only with an accountable, robust civil society can we attain the moral high ground and hold others to account.
Business and government are making concerted efforts to improve their accountability as evidenced in King III, and the work of the Public Protector, Auditor-General and legislative framework of the Public Finance Management Act.
We cannot afford to cruise along with a misplaced arrogance that because we do good, we are good.
If anyone is to survive 2013, accountability and transparency has to be central to their ethos.
For more on this, refer to www.ngopulse.org/article/herculean-task-good-governance.
3.Monitoring and Evaluation
If you don’t have monitoring and evaluation in place, 2013 is your year to get it going.
If you fail to get basic measurement in place, chances are your organisation will be obsolete by 2015.
Not only is measurement an important part of being more accountable, but it enables nonprofit leaders can challenge their assumptions of what works and what doesn’t.
I believe that as we all focus on monitoring and evaluation, partnerships will become easier to manage leading to a natural consolidation in the sector. When you realise your areas of expertise you begin to share knowledge and so begins a positive cycle that leads to improved more professional services.
For more on this, refer to www.ngopulse.org/article/completing-circle-some-thoughts-why-measurement....
4. From Programmes to Activism
There is a growing voice that is calling for a move away from programme funding to donor support of activism and rights-based movements. The argument is that civil society’s role is not to provide services that government should be delivering (e.g. like HIV care), but rather to hold government to account to provide these services.
It’s a good argument, and even better because it is rattling our rather traditional approach to development. I think that 2013 will see more money being available in building accountability and growing the rights-driven voice of civil society. The success of SECTION27, the Right2Know Campaign, even the Opposition To Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) in Gauteng, adds credence to this movement. This is moving the flywheel significantly and I like it. Watch out for more activism in 2013 and even more for 2014.
5. Rise of the CBO
We can’t keep ignoring community-based organisations (CBO). Just because they don’t have the institutional structures that our funding models demand, doesn’t mean that they are irrelevant. We cannot continue channeling funding for communities via national organisations just because they comply structurally to the needs of the donor.
I would like to see a concerted effort by the larger nonprofits to bring in CBOs, and to help them build up their institutional structures, securing accreditation, developing financial statements and creating annual narratives.
I think that national organisations will find that the role they can play as mentor and guide is part of their survival strategy as it is through the CBOs that they will maintain their relevance.
6. Making Profits out of Nonprofits
A key survival strategy for 2013 is to grow the profit base of your nonprofit. Usually a sacrilegious word in social organisations it is important that we start to professionalise the work that we do by increasing the surplus of funding. And this doesn’t mean going out to raise more grant funding, but rather taking a longer term view on what type of funding you need to survive. Research by the Stanford Innovation Review shows that America’s top nonprofits have funding stability as their common denominator. This is difficult in South Africa where government and donor funding is erratic. But what must happen is a focus on building a surplus into the organisation, by doing what you do well. Whether that funding stream is grant, or entrepreneurial it must be a surplus and it must provide the type of funds that you need to grow.
A case study of the Children’s Hospital Trust’s fundraising success
The Children’s Hospital Trust (the Trust) is widely considered to be one of the most successful fundraising organisations in South Africa, having raised over R420 million for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Paediatric Healthcare in the Western Cape since its inception in 1994.
A Matter of Trust is a compelling case study based on the experience gained and the lessons learned by the Trust translated into best practice within the arena of fundraising. The book is a beneficial read for any professional working in the philanthropic sector in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa.
A Matter of Trust details the challenges that the Trust has faced, as well as opportunities that the Trust has created through strategic and innovative methods. In describing the Trust’s ethos, strategies and protocols, the case study is a useful ‘how to’ guide for nonprofit organisations to operate effectively and grow in the current socio-political environment while building a successful brand.
The book outlines critical elements that every nonprofit organisation should embrace in order to gain competitive advantage. These include engaging, consulting and relationship building with key stakeholders and funders, as well as building and maintaining a reputation for excellence and integrity in order to engender a significant amount of positive public sentiment and support.
The unique and practical publication showcases two of the Trust’s most successful fundraising campaigns and highlights the factors that have contributed to this success in such a way that similar organisations can transfer these principles to projects and campaigns they are embarking upon. In telling the story of the Children’s Hospital Trust’s formation and of its consequent success, A Matter of Trust endeavours to contribute to the growing spirit of philanthropy in the country and to demonstrate the gains made in paediatric healthcare in the region.
Who should read this book?
Anyone who is interested in effective fundraising and is motivated to strengthen the non-profit sector, particularly:
- Nonprofit leaders seeking insight into principles that can ensure greater success for their organisations;
- Donors and philanthropists who require a framework from which charitable organisations can be assessed to determine viability and sustainability;
- Business leaders who wish to ensure that their companies are good corporate citizens through working with effective nonprofits; and
- Students and academics who are eager to learn more about the non-profit sector and the inner workings of a non-profit organisation.
The Children’s Hospital Trust
Fundraiser for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital & Paediatric Healthcare in the Western Cape
Tel: 021 686 7860
Fax: 021 686 7861
For more about the Children’s Hospital Trust, refer to www.childrenshospitaltrust.org.za.
- In the past few weeks the role of NGOs in South Africa received much attention. Various events and initiatives focussed on the funding challenges facing the sector, the need for improved governance, the relationship with government, the involvement of civil society in deepening our democracy, and the broader role and relevance of the sector in relation to various challenges facing South Africa.
Key examples in this regard include "People’s Power, People’s Parliament: A Civil Society Conference on South Africa’s Legislatures" which was held from 13-15 August 2012 in Cape Town, the launch of the "Voluntary Code of Governance and Values for Nonprofits in South Africa", the release of a report on “Critical Perspectives on the Sustainability of the South African Civil Society Sector”, and the National NPO Summit that was hosted by the National Department of Social Development from 15-17 August 2012 in Johannesburg.
It is no secret that many NGOs are confronted with serious financial and capacity challenges. Many have already closed down or had to scale back their activities. At the same time, South Africa is faced with overwhelming development challenges – education, health, poverty, etc. Increasingly, government departments and agencies are incapable of responding to these challenges – lack of capacity and leadership, corruption, etc., resulting in slow or no service delivery, and an alarming increase in social unrest in many parts of the country.
Finding solutions to these challenges will require the unique contributions of all development stakeholders throughout the country, driven by a common vision as captured in the National Development Plan 2030.
However, what is of great concern is the lack of meaningful support by government and others for the work of NGOs, and the conflicting views of people in government about the role of NGOs in South Africa.
Given the size of the NGO sector, and the broad scope of NGOs’ services and activities, it is a common fact that NGOs more often than not are the ones that fill the “delivery gap” in our society. Where else can people turn to for assistance and support regarding basic social needs? But if NGOs continue to close their doors or serve less people because of funding constraints, what will be the long-term consequences for many South Africans? What will happen to abused women in Cape Town if Rape Crisis closes down or why are organisations such as Project Literacy not getting more support given the adult basic education challenges facing millions of adult South Africans? Furthermore, what will happen to advocacy work and keeping government accountable if NGOs such as Treatment Action Campaign, Section 27 or the Right2Know Campaign don’t secure enough external support for their work? Whose interest will it serve if any of these organisations disappear from the scene?
The bottom-line is – why are NGOs not receiving more support and recognition for the role they play in South Africa?
President Zuma made a number of very encouraging remarks about NGOs at the recent NPO Summit. Media headlines in this regard included “Zuma unhappy over lack of financial support for NGO's”, “President Zuma praises non-profit orgs for sterling work”, and “NPOs remain indispensable partner for government: Zuma”. He even stated that the “doors and windows” of government must be permanently open for NGOs given their role in support of the poor in society.
But these comments are not consistent with the experiences of many NGOs when dealing with government departments and agencies. Even those agencies mentioned in the President’s speech – the National Lotteries Board and National Development Agency – have a problematic history and track record in terms of their relationship with NGOs. Recent comments by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande that some NGOs are part of an "ideological third force" are also not helpful in strengthening cooperation between NGOs and government.
So, what happens next? How do we ensure that the role of NGOs is properly acknowledged and supported in future? Finding answers to these questions are not simple, but also not impossible.
The recent focus on the NGO sector as highlighted above is definitely encouraging. It is in everyone’s interest if we know more about the internal and external challenges facing the sector, if the sector takes more responsibility for its governance practices, if more issues about the sector are discussed in national fora such as the NPO Summit and if the President of the country repeats his recent comments about NGOs on a regular basis.
But more needs to be done. NGOs have a critical role to play in this regard through the relevance and impact of their work. But government – on all three tiers and through its associated agencies – has an obligation to utilise the skills and experience of NGOs in confronting the development challenges facing our country, while also respecting the critical role of NGOs and broader civil society in deepening our democracy.
If government fails to act accordingly, the President’s comments will be seen as more empty promises, development efforts will be further delayed, and more people will be frustrated with the lack of service delivery.
Sadly, more NGOs will also close down.
The frustrations experienced by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) when applying for lotto funding came under spotlight when a group of NGOs marched to the National Lotteries Board (NLB) offices on 27 January 2012 in Pretoria.
The march highlighted NGOs’ concerns regarding the Lotto which are well-documented in a study undertaken by the Funding Practice Alliance, the class action to the Western Cape High Court and other related issues.
Shelagh Gastrow of Inyathelo - The South African Institute for Advancement argues that the march highlighted the growing national anger over the way the NLB distributes public funds. Gastrow slammed the NLB for its “Epic failure of the board to fulfil its stated mandate to distribute funds to NGOs that make a difference to the lives of all South Africans, especially the most vulnerable.”
The situation has also irked the fury of the opposition, Democratic Alliance, which expressed the view that there is a ‘growing trend’ where needy charities are being overlooked by the NLB in favour of African National Congress-aligned organisations. The DA also questions the way board members of distributing agencies are appointed.
Meanwhile, government’s intention to amend the National Lotteries Act to speed up the processing of applications for funding is an encouraging step in the right direction. However, we hope that such amendments will translate in the removal of existing bottlenecks.
Below are some of the articles previously published on NGO Pulse in relation to the Lotto issue:
- March to the Lotto Offices
- NLB CEO Resigns
- Charities to Demand Answers Over NLB Grants
- Department to Amend the Lottery Act
- Lotto Board Won’t Pay for Audit – Nevhutanda
- NLB Blamed for NGO Closure
- NLB to Act on Alleged Irregularities
- NGOs Urged to Bring Graft Proof
- NLB Failure is Also Minister’s Fault
- NGOs Lose Funding to ANC – DA
The Department of Trade and Industry is calling for public comment on the draft Lotteries Amendment Bill.
This follows an announcement by Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, at the recent National Lotteries Board conference that government has launched a review of the Lotteries Policy Framework which he said will lead to the introduction of a lotteries Amendment Bill.
Davies also stated that his department wanted to make a number of changes to the Act as well as further regulatory reforms.
The deadline for submission of comments is 7 June 2013.
For more information or to submit your comments, refer to www.ngopulse.org/opportunity/call-comments-national-lotteries-amendment-act.Source:SANGONeT
The HIV Vaccine Trials Network says that with the next attempts expected to be years away, top researchers now say there is a ‘void’ or a ‘gap’ in current clinical-trial efforts to test whether a vaccine is safe and effective.
The organisation says an autopsy on the past four big bids to make an HIV vaccine has informed the field as to what does not work, the latest casualty being a trial of HVTN 505 that was halted early because it did not prevent HIV.
The HIV Vaccine Trials Network director, James Kublin, points out that, "It leaves us with a gap of several years before we [can expect to] have another HIV vaccine-efficacy trial under way and that is unfortunate."
To read the article titled, “Billions of dollars later and still no AIDS vaccine,” click here.Source:Times Live
The Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) has called on the managing editor of Swaziland's only independent newspaper group to resign because he is too close to King Mswati III.
MISA, the foremost media freedom group in the region, says that Martin Dlamini's position was 'untenable'.
In a scathing attack on the Times of Swaziland, one of only two newspaper groups in the kingdom, MISA Swaziland chapter said Dlamini could not discharge, 'his unbiased editorial duty when he would appear to be beholden to the authorities'.
To read the article titled, MISA tells 'Times' Editor to resign,” click here.Source:All Africa
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) says that a Pan African Parliament (PAP) decision to launch a continent-wide campaign to promote press freedom is a ‘major move’.
In a press statement, SANEF points out that, “(We) regard this as a major move by a governmental institution to combat the growing secrecy adopted by most African governments in the conduct of affairs which should be open to the public.”
The organisation further states that attacks on journalists had resulted in deaths, injury, and long prison sentences almost entirely on trumped-up charges.
To read the article titled, “PAP media declaration hailed,” click here.Source:Independent Online