Keeping non-profits accountable

03 February 2019 | Business

“Over the past decade, sponsorships, donations and corporate social investment initiatives have undergone dramatic changes and this philanthropy landscape keeps on changing,” says Revonia Kahivere, CSI Manager of the FirstRand Namibia Foundation. “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 to create a 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 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 donors 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,” she says. Once the initial research is complete, you will be able to set out your 'Giving strategy' and select a non-profit organisation.

Suggestions

• Compare mission statements. List the non-profits that fit your 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.

• There are various forms of registration for non-profit organisations in Namibia. Make sure organisations are registered.

• Transparency and accountability are 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.

• 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.

“You should be concerned 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,” Kahivere concludes.

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