Making sure your donation has an impact
By Revonia Kahivere
CSI Manager of the FirstRand Namibia Foundation.
Over the past decade and even before that, sponsorships, donations and corporate social investment initiatives have undergone dramatic changes and this philanthropy landscape keeps on changing.
Today, more than ever, CSI managers and donors identify with a wide range of social problems and understand the importance of solving and prioritising strategic programmes; with the aim of creating large scale quantifiable social impact.
Transparency, governance, and measurement tools are important to ensure that projects are successful and have the potential of becoming self-sustainable.
The same should also be taken into consideration when individuals support a charity, for example via the FNB Happiness Store. As the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust, we take decisions based on the charities’ track record with regard to mission statement and linked accomplishments, transparency, registration with the correct institutions, accountability and the possibility of a measurable impact.
FirstRand Namibia’s ‘111 Random Acts of Kindness’ was introduced in commemoration of the group’s 111 years of existence in Namibia. Through this fantastic initiative N$111 was allocated to every FirstRand Namibia employee to enable them to warm the heart of a Namibian. Through this initiative, branches and departments are encouraged to identify welfare organisations of their choice. We are proud of our FirstRand Namibia family who have thus far shown a corporate culture of caring and responsibility and we look forward to the many random acts of kindness that are to follow.
The complexity of philanthropy is that there are many deserving causes, and this makes the decision of support a difficult one. To navigate this process, the givers must establish their own ‘Giving strategy’. For your gratuitous giving to have a quantifiable and social impact, donors must be able to invest their time in ongoing research and know what, how, and who they want their donation to go to as well as determine the outcome they want to see.
Once the initial research is complete, you will be able to set out your ‘Giving strategy’ and select a non – profit organisation.
Follow these guidelines to make sure your donation has impact:
Compare mission statements: list the non-profits that fit your predetermined criteria and focus on organisations whose objectives resemble or complement your values. All non-profits have founding documents that set out the objectives of the organisation. This information should be listed on their websites or social media platforms.
Make sure organisations are registered: there are various forms of registration for non-profit organisations in Namibia. Make sure your charity belongs to one of them.
Transparency and accountability is key to knowing that your donation will be used for what it is intended. The organisation’s website or social media pages should provide information that include a list of board members and organisational leadership and staff. It should have details of their programmes and their annual reports, including financial reports. This will allow you to track how funds are spent. It will demonstrate if there is some level of controls in place.
Measurable Impact is crucial to understanding the impact of the organisation’s goals and achievements. A reputable organisation will give details of the reach and impact of their programmes and clearly describe their measurable goals, and use concrete criteria to describe its achievements, to support its impact claims.
It should be of serious concern if the organisations that are calling for donations fail to disclose any of the above information. This is why in-depth knowledge, effort and time should be used to illustrate comprehensive research and due diligence to identify the right partner or cause.