While most large corporates in South Africa do include a Corporate Social Investment (CSI) portfolio in their strategic planning, many simply allocate a percentage of their profits to a beneficiary, which falls short of addressing the ability of the NGO to sustain itself.
In other words: simply writing a cheque is less valuable to the beneficiary than one may think, especially over time. While a hand-out in the form of a donation may provide short term relief, it often leaves the recipient dependent on continued contributions which are not always readily available.
“We believe that it is important to give back to the communities in which we operate, but we have seen that by simply donating money is not as valuable to the NGO,” says Peter Metcalfe, Executive of Marketing and Sales at Novus Holdings. “We approach our community involvement strategically to ensure that we not only make a difference, but that the impact is sustainable.”
In response, Novus Holdings launched the Future Foundations initiative in 2015, which focuses primarily on education. The programme is based on the principle of giving ‘a hand up, not a hand-out’ and is designed to empower beneficiaries to operate efficiently on their own which is vital for their success and longevity.
Focus on education
Education is a basic human right and a fundamental driver of personal, national and global development. “Focusing on education really is taking a long term view over an issue that has a far-reaching impact. Learners need to be provided with the right tools to empower themselves so that they can then go on to teach others,” says Metcalfe.
He adds, “Essentially, by improving education we are able to alleviate poverty within a family and the learner is also then able to help uplift the community as a whole.”
In order to build a strong foundation for future growth and development, Novus Holdings commits to providing their beneficiaries with support for a period of two years. This support may come through a number of channels including mentorship and business management training, basic start-up packs and equipment such as laptops, stationery and internet access, management courses for NGO leaders, and/or repair work and renovations at facilities.
The Group also uses their dedicated Future Foundations website to help create awareness of their beneficiaries and attract other potential donors. Tracking and evaluation of the beneficiaries is an important part of the process and can also be followed on the website.
“Our Group’s vast network of suppliers, clients and customers gives our beneficiaries an extensive reach for support which helps them to gain exposure, expand their profiles, engage with a wider audience, and build further reaching relationships,” concludes Metcalfe.