CAPE TOWN- South African economists say that the national lockdown will have a tough impact on the economy. While the government has made plans to support businesses, very little attention has been given to non-profit organisations (NPOs) within the “third sector”.
Head of Social Impact at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) Dr Armand Bam, says that NPOs play an important role in society because they act in communities where government and businesses are not able to reach.
There are over 220 000 NPOs registered with the Department of Social Development in South Africa.
“NPOs are accessible and agile to attend to the current crises and need our support. While the government can rely on our taxes to stay operational and well-resourced businesses tap into financial reserves, NPOs primarily rely on donations and personal fundraising to ensure service delivery,” said Dr Bam.
Facing the same challenges as many businesses, some NPOs may have to resort to downsizing and retrenching staff to simply stay afloat. All the while the need for their services increases.
“Although many leaders within the sector are used to working in under resourced scenarios, the impact of social distancing will affect service delivery to beneficiaries and the ability to relate in person with donors. Along with beneficiaries and donors, employees will be operating with some level of uncertainty as job security is affected,” he said.
Dr Bam shares 5 useful tips NPOs can follow during this time to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
1. Communicate with clarity
NPOs are funded by a range of stakeholders so it is important to remain in contact with the relevant board members, volunteers, employees and donors.
Maintain your digital presence, it is a cost-effective way to keep communication with a large audience. There is a global shift to transacting this way and fundraising can now occur in the palm of a smart phone user.
2. Re-evaluate your operations and budget
With the prospect of a reduction in donations immediate attention should be given to prioritising how finances are managed. The continuity of your services needs to be maintained and this means revisiting your business plan. One should be reminded of always having a plan B and C.
3. Actively search for donor/ funding opportunities
Funding remains the lifeblood of any NPO and should form part of the core operations while under lockdown.
South Africa has a range of crowdfunding platforms available for use. With the increased reliance on digital technology post COVID-19, it would be beneficial to visit one of the following: BackaBuddy; Brownie points; Click ‘n Donate; Different.org; Doit4Charity; forgood; GivenGain; Jumpstarter; MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet; Pledge-a-Portion; WeBenefit.
4. Collaborate for impact
The global impact of the coronavirus could also allow for opportunities for local and international nonprofits to find solutions in combating Covid-19. Sharing common challenges and adopting approaches could be transferable between organizations.
5. Working from home
During this time, many businesses have found innovative ways of working from home and maintaining certain services. Remember that not all staff have the same access to resources so make sure you can support their needs. Assess everyone’s job requirements and responsibilities on its own merits. Keep your staff connected with online group meetings or discussions.
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