Our first exciting news of the year is that we have launched our bilingual version of Corporate Social Responsibility News South Africa. Some of our articles are now available in Afrikaans. Click here to read further in Afrikaans.
I am sure the engines for 2020 are now active and that you are revved up to create incredible impact – which is what CSI is all about. We’re here to work with you in delivering amazing results. I wish you the best for the year ahead. And when the walls seem to be caving in, the rug seems to be slipping – take heart. You’re not alone. This is how I deal with those moments of disappointment, confusion or overwork; I put everything in the hands of God.
If someone says no to my proposal, I thank them and move right along. It is God who directs my steps, so I have nothing to fear, nothing to be upset about. He knows. Peter in the Bible did the impossible when his eyes were on God – he walked on water. The moment he took his focus off God and looked at the situation, he began to sink. That is how it is for all of us who profess to follow Jesus.
In addition, I love my job! What could be better than working on the big picture of poverty alleviation through development, involving companies which sincerely want to uplift the nation, and NGOs which have the same goal? I get to meet the most incredible people, and I am constantly simulated and enriched by the challenges, the creativity, the PR versus the reality, the gems, the duds – and the willingness of South Africans to keep trying. We never give up. As a nation, our sense of responsibility for uplifting all our people is nonpareil (‘without parallel; having no equal’).
Growth in the sector
CSRNEWSSA has always received well wishes over the festive season. This past December the number of well wishes more than doubled, which alone is encouraging. The messages spoke of making a difference, of companies committed to stepping up their social responsibility projects, and of being eager to learn and cooperate.
What a sea change from even seven years ago! When we launched in 2013, it was the big corporates only who spoke this language – and much of it was PR-talk. What we’re seeing is a broadening of the concept, and in some cases – not all – a deeper commitment to making it real.
I have been amused and quite happy to see many of the phrases and images that we came up with over the years popping up in the annual reports and PR booklets of some of our corporates. That means someone is thinking about these issues. CSI issues are making it into the mainstream – and that is fine by us.
Some plans for the year ahead:
The South African Funding Report
We’re putting together a national South African Funding Report, which will establish just how much has been spent by SA companies on CSI projects, in what areas, by whom and to whom through the Great Funders’ Conference. The report was born of our own experiences after our recent Funders’ Conference 2019. We noticed that big money was available, but that very few NGOs ended up being recipients of it. Why? The money is there, but seems constantly channeled to the same handful of big NGOs. Many deserving projects go unnoticed.
Where does the problem lie? A CSI manager hit the nail on the head when she said, ‘So often we want to fund, but as soon as the idea hits the boardroom, it dies there.’ I know precisely what she means – its boardroom politics. We realised that there is still a Berlin Wall to be broken down – the boardroom Berlin Wall. There is a schism between our CSI Managers and their boardrooms, and we need to get to the bottom of it.
To this end, we’ll be launching Friday @5. These will be fun, free, brief get-together of CSI players on a Friday after work, where we’ll network and discuss some of the burning issues in CSI – things like boardroom politics, racism (yes, it’s a reality), and other issues that unpack some of our CSI obstacles.
Fridays@5s are free. They start at 5 and finish at 6:30, and our first will launch on 3 April 2020. Look out for reminders. The networking alone will make this event a highlight.
The Great Funders’ Conference
2020 will be our fourth year of hosting The Great Funders’ Conference, our premier event bringing together funders and NGOs to discuss development, funding and future plans.
These days conference prices are soaring – people are paying ZAR8000 for a two-day get-together. That’s the price of a good computer or half an Apple Mac – who can afford it? Certainly not most of our NGOs. We have to get our NGOs on board when it comes to these conferences, as the boost they give to outlook and operations is immeasurable.
For this reason our 2020 conference prices will remain as they were in 2019 – ZAR3980 inclusive of VAT. In addition, we’ll be limiting the number of tickets to 50. Here’s the low-down:
Date: 23 – 24 September 2020.
Venue: Cape Town! That is all we can confirm at present, but Western Cape, here is your opportunity.
Exciting bonus: Thisyear our two-day conference will be followed by our one-day Women in CSI Summit.
Women in CSI Summit
Date: 25 September 2020
Venue: Cape Town – as above
Price: Only ZAR980 if you have attended the Funders conference. Otherwise, ZAR1980.
Conference Super Sale
Our conference Super Sale Special is coming up – take advantage of 20% off the price of ZAR3980, and pay only ZAR3184 That’s a saving of almost ZAR796. The Conference Super Sale will be open for 7 days only. Look out for it in the next month or so. If you’re convinced that this conference will enhance your work (it will, whether you’re an NGO or a corporate), and can get your ducks in a row early, do so now. This is a saving not to be missed.
Of interest is that one of the corporates who attended last year’s conference have offered free training to NGOs attending the conference. NGOs, this is how you boost your professionalism and networking – by taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. For more info, see the conference registration form.
GAP, our Youth Volunteer Gap-year programme for unemployed youth
Lastly …. We’ve launched a new sustainability model for our own business, in which we build giving into the structure of our operations. There are two aspects:
- GAP, our Youth Volunteer Gap-year programme, in which CSRNEWSSA covers the salaries of students taking a gap year to work in local NGOs
- The 10% discount we now offer companies who refer third parties to us for our CSI services, when the services are valued at ZAR10 000 or above.
The second initiative will enable us to fund the first. This is how we develop our forgotten NGOs and get matriculants off their sofas and into productive work – for at least a period.
In closing: Carl Newport says in one of his books, ‘Do it so well that they simply can’t ignore you.’ Let this be our moto for 2020. In the midst of much mediocrity, let us stand out for our commitment, genuine-ness and attention to detail.
Looking forward to engaging with you in 2020!
Image courtesy: Happy new year vector created by starline – www.freepik.com