One does not have to be Warren Buffett to be a philanthropist; the efficient distribution of even R100 can make a world of difference to someone in need. Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa (CAFSA) links corporates and individual donors to NPOs, standing in the gap to ensure that funds are given to reputable and pre-validated charities and that every cent reaches grassroots level.
‘This year, CAFSA is focussing on going deeper rather than wider,’ says Gill Bates, CEO of CAFSA. They are striving for service excellence. Focused funding is especially relevant amidst frequent revelations of corruption in the government and private sector, as well as in the sphere of charities. Ensuring that everything is above board, CAFSA is known for scrupulous attention to detail and for ensuring that the charities they support adhere to strict governance protocols.
‘We want to get NPOs ready to receive donations to benefit their communities. Many times, the paperwork of even the most honest and hardworking NPO is just not in order. Good governance means the boxes are all ticked; we need NPOs to tick the boxes because we are in a trust deficit time, and we want them to be a trusted partner in the society and civil space. CAFSA has strong financial and IT processes and protocols in place to move funds quickly and safely.’
CAFSA’s inclusion in a global community of philanthropy bodies – the CAF Global Alliance – is what sets the organisation apart from others in South Africa.
‘We have access to international best practice studies and knowledge. We want to work smarter while utilising the lessons learned last year on both a local and global level.’ Over the past year, CAFSA not only survived the pandemic but grew their headcount at a time when many organisations were either retrenching or folding. The pandemic influenced charities in many ways, one of which was simply that NPOs were harder to reach, to provide what aid was available.
‘The pandemic forced us to revisit our strategy in terms of funding, to re-imagine a post-Covid-19 landscape and to design new philanthropy interventions in a world forever changed.’ CAFSA aims to continue with surveys and research, taking the pulse of the NPO sector during the evolving pandemic in order to utilise evidence-based research and advise corporate donors correctly. These surveys contextualise the South African NGO and NPO landscape, also enabling this sector to capitalise on international knowledge and experience through CAF surveys in other parts of the world.
Recent surveys undertaken by CAFSA reveal that South Africans want to help but don’t know where to start. There is also a high level of resentment towards the government for not delivering adequate social support during the last twelve months, while corporates report being bombarded with aid requests. CAFSA is trying to bridge these gaps through diverse services such as fund management, Give-As-You-Earn facilitation, validations and cross-border giving, amongst other initiatives.
Philanthropy includes not only the donation of money, but also of goods, time and skillsets.
‘Recent reports of surveys conducted globally show that ubuntu, as an African philosophy, and generosity generally, are on the rise.’ Another global trend, which was noticed prior to the onset of Covid-19, was the rise of the global middle class which ushers in the possibility of more sources of charitable giving. This vital global shift has potentially been slowed down due to the pandemic .
‘We target the next generation. Children do what they see their parents do. If they see generosity, they will live accordingly. CAF’s primary purpose internationally is to grow and champion charitable giving throughout the world, after all.’