I recently received a phone call from the head of marketing for an NGO I believe is doing remarkable work in the field of climate change and the environmental agenda. She said, ‘Mr Mtetwa, I want to thank you. Since I began my association with CSRNEWS, I have received over R6.5 million over the last 36 months.’ That is something like R22 thousand a month. I shared this with the CEO of our external research company, and he said, ‘It’s true Mr. Mtetwa! Since we partnered with you, we have seen an upsurge in our work and have received over half a million rand, through our association with CSRNEWS.’
This is not to give ourselves a pat on the back but this is what defines us. This is why we host the Funders’ Webinars; so that we can link funders with deserving NGOs and make a real, appreciable difference in the lives of people doing amazing work in South Africa. And I am sure you would agree with me that incredible work is indeed being done.
Yet some of that work will remain dormant, for as long as the NGOs remain isolated. Companies like ours exist to bring together those that fund with those that teach, inspire, share and support. After bringing these two parties together, we so often see this really great explosion of energy and funding, and things start to move! Without this combination of financial support with the energy, passion and community development skills of NGO, many NGOs – and indeed many corporate CSI departments – can limp along, never really fulfilling their true potential.
But there’s more! In the last few weeks, we’ve launched The South African CSI Legacy Awards, conceptualised as far back as 2019. The Awards were always about examining and celebrating the work being done by funders and NGOs. Covid-19 held us back for a while, but couldn’t suppress us for long. Now we’re all systems go and excited to officially introduce you to the South African CSI Legacy Awards.
As fun and celebratory as these Awards are, the real purpose is to get NGOs and companies learning from one another. There is a real need in CSI to learn from the best; to hold up examples of excellence and uncover the principles that make some programmes resounding successes. We’ve been planning for these Awards for well on three years now. I strongly believe that there is no better way to understand what CSI is and can be, than by examining examples of programmes that are innovative, well managed and cost effective, and have lasting impact. Platforms like The South African CSI Legacy Awards are where dreams are born, ideas formalised and programmes crystalised.
I am happy to say that the nomination process for the five categories of the CSI Legacy Awards is simple and streamlined and nominations are already well underway. So, if you did not know, let me be the first to tell you – ‘nominations are now open’ – we encourage you to nominate a company or NGO, including yourselves, if you wish to. Thus will be a tremendous opportunity to benefit from the expertise of others, and possibly win a substantial prize.
Alongside the Awards, we have launched a programme called ‘THE benchMARKER’ that studies the most successful socio-economic programmes and helps NGOs and social entrepreneurs to leverage off of them. We assist NGOs and social entrepreneurship programmes to scale and amply their voices, so that funders notice them. In fact, one of the prizes for the Awards will take the form of specialised support for an emerging NGO or social entrepreneur.
With that said, some of you might have noticed that we have dropped the ‘SA’ from our name and now go by the name ‘CSRNEWS.Africa’. We are slowly transitioning our brand to look at the African continent in an all-inclusive manner. The news editor who joined us a month ago will be focusing exclusively on CSI across the African continent. And because we aim to continue producing stellar projects and programmes and provide exceptional content, we’ll be spending the next 12 to 24 months focusing on Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
Our first article in this regard looked at the differences in CSI between South Africa and Zimbabwe, and our most recent one focusses on CSI in Namibia. Not forgetting our monthly Funders’ Webinars, where attendee numbers have rapidly expanded – and for good reason. The kind of funding that some are walking away with speaks for itself.
We look forward to continuing to help each other realise our dreams. Indeed, you can count on us to keep you informed, engaged and motivated in this always exciting, constantly evolving world of corporate social investment. Until next time – let’s keep on keeping on!