HOWDY PARTNER! Lots of Learnings for a rookie NPO


A 3-day NPO workshop with SAFULA (South African Fundraising Leadership Academy) was a mind shifter for many who attended – including two of us from WOMAN ZONE, Nancy Richards and Ntsiki Sigege. Sifting down the input from 14 different speakers – in the interests of info-sharing here’s just some of what we learned:

. It’s not all about MONEY – not raising it, not spending it

. PARTNERSHIPS are the new way forward

. Collaborations, associations, consortiums, coalitions, networks – alliances by any other name – all need to be made FORMAL

. COLLABORATIONS can be useful when an organisation can’t achieve their goals alone

. MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) confirms what you will do together

. Your VISION and that of your donors need to match

. EVERYONE in the organisation needs to buy in to vision

. Partnerships should be based on VALUES – which need to grow

. Filling in international donor’s log proposal forms can help you FOCUS your purpose

. Ask yourself, are you fit and READY for a Partnership

. Partnerships need to be maintained, regularly REVIWED and need an exit clause….


. NPO Partnerships can be formed with public or private companies or other NPO’s

. RESEARCH is vital as is measuring your impact

. Companies with a R10 million turnover may be better to approach than a big corporate – small enough to make their own decisions

. There are necessarily ANXIETY issues on both sides of a Partnership

. Partnerships are ORGANIC and like any relationship, need to be worked on

. In some Partnerships NO MONEY need change hands

. Working together can AMPLIFY what you do

. If you approach more than one funder, keep everyone INFORMED

. COMMUNICATE with your donors – tell them what you’ve been doing, thanks to them

. COMMUNICATE any changes in your organisation

. Don’t INUNDATE, ask how often they would like updates

. Research and DEVELOPMENT should be included in your funding costs

. Don’t look at any project in ISOLATION

. MICROMANAGEMENT by a donor can happen if they don’t trust you

. Your SUCCESS is their success

. Think to collaborate not to COMPETE with other NPO’s

. Societal ills are COMPLEX – no one can solve alone

. EVERYONE is important from the driver to the CEO

. Build RELATIONSHIPS with individuals

. Your REPUTATION is all important

. You need a SOCIAL MEDIA strategy and policy

. GOOGLE for NON PROFITS offer you thousands of dollars worth of ad spend

. SANGOtech / SANGOnet offers discounted software

. Have your 30’ ELEVATOR PITCH always ready – put it on YouTube

. Pitch not your 5-year plan, but what you are doing NOW

. Your WEBSITE is top driving force to bring in money

. LINK social media accounts to website

. Have all your pitch info on a SINGLE SHEET on site – ready to cut and paste

. Get your venue on GOOGLE MAPS

. An NPO can be a Voluntary Association, Company or a Trust

. Of 3000 applications for city funding, only 800 NPO’s were compliant – make sure you are COMPLIANT

. There are approx 158,000 registered NPO’s in SA. Many more are applying. Many will be deregistered for non-compliance

. There are approx 132 pieces of LEGISLATION pertaining to NPO’s

. A Board needs to be ADVISORY, help with fundraising, offer direction, good practice, define expectations, leadership, decision making and ensure management is capacitated and resourced

. Each member should have INFO PACK in advance so they can apply their minds

. What strengths do your BOARD (5-8) members have? It’s not enough just to turn up

. NON-EFFECTIVE Board members can be transferred to Friends of…. They must also come off letterhead

. Board should concern with vision, mission, strategic priorities, MANAGEMENT with goals and operations

. If an NPO is also a PBO (Public Benefit Organisation) they are eligible for SECTION 18A tax breaks for donors

. There is a long list of incidences where you cant offer one of these- eg sponsorships or tithing

. MINUTES of Board meetings essential

. Information is only useful if it’s understood

. If you are still at the centre of your organisation, you need to move to the edges. The EDGE OF DISRUPTION is where innovation happens.

. INNOVATION is where Partnerships become essential

. 3 QUESTIONS a Partner may ask are: 1 – What do you know 2 – What do you solve 3 – Why or how does that matter. These respectively answer your elevated perspective, impact, relationship

. To be NOTICED in a crowded space, you must put your hand up – consistently produce outcomes of value, better than your competitors

. Judge yourself on your IMPACT not your intentions

. A business plan is an INTENTION

. Self critique / self ANALYSE – do IMPACT ASSESSMENT

. What issues are you ADDRESSING

. Know your FIELD and what you are doing in it

. Look beyond self-preservation at the VALUE of what you do

. Partners want to see STRENGTH not feel sorry for you – to see you solve problems not identify them

. You may not be able to attain the VISION but you can envision the result

. Partners should be both high and low end – people helping you and people you HELP

. Have AUDACITY, make compelling contribution

. Before you ask, what size donation can you actually handle?

. Look for PHILANTHROPISTS but know you are one too

. Your BRAND should reflect your vision, where you’re going not where you’ve been

. A Partner is looking for RoI – Return on Investment

. You want a Partner to help you be SUSTAINABLE not make money

. They will judge you on how you handle your FINANCES

. Look at your organisation thro a CORPORATE LENS

. NETWORK, learn to work across organisations

. Beware MISSION DRIFT – review regularly

. Collaborate on a project – even SHORT term requires formalising

. Try for 5 year contracts

. SHOWCASE your successes

. Do a weekly BLOG rather than weekly newsletter

. helps with GRAPHICS, Creative Commons with images. Maybe you don’t need a designer

. Remember the power of HASHTAGS – track whatever is going on facebook/twitter/instagram

. TWEET often, FACEBOOK post 2-3 times a week

. 3.6 billion people access internet on their smart phones, make sure your site is MOBILE FRIENDLY

. Why do you do what you do, take that into your organisation – who YOU ARE matters

. The world CHANGES daily – are you changing too?

. ‘WICKED’ PROBLEMS are those that are difficult to solve – poverty, inequality etc

. The biggest factor leading to economic growth is the EDUCATION OF WOMEN

. Use technology CREATIVELY to put your activities out there – YouTube

. NPO’s need to be AWARE of what’s going on in the world, not in their own bubble

. Who is your COMMUNITY, your target, your audience – know all that you can about them

. MANAGE both sides of the equation – donors and beneficiaries

. Donors need to see the DIFFERENCE you are making

. How do you ARTICULATE / present your impact

. Develop a NARRATIVE about yourselves

. SOCIAL MEDIA is not a cottage industry

. Use WHATSAPP for donor communication – if appropriate

. Those who care enough to do or donate are not always the WEALTHY

. Be aware of / align yourself to SDE’s (Social Development Goals)

. Track what people are SAYING about you

. Are you FIT for the future?

. Philanthropy is not just for the wealthy

. Money is out there – just 21 foundations were seen to  collectively spend R780 million

. Partners all have DIFFERENT ways of doing things – be aware of what they are

. Build new skills, measure impact, leverage assets, align for products, learn new ‘languages’, seek collaboration, test and experiment

. Biggest funders may be GOVERNMENT but they are slow, not innovative

. CORPORATE funders are measurement driven, risk averse

. PHILANTHROPISTS are unconventional, agile, quicker to respond

. PROPOSALS are best brief and with bullet points

. Let go of your EGO, share CONTROL and build TRUST and RELATIONSHIPS!



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Tina Thiart of SAFULA and HGG; Bulelewa Makalima-Ngewana of Cape Town Partnership; Arnold Netshambidi of SANGONet; Malcolm Boyd of Third Sector; Wynand du Toit of OptimiseCRM; Titania Fernandez and Lorenzo Davids of Community Chest; Deborah Dyer of Dept of Social Development; Warren Lodge of Life Brand; Salma Seedat of Greater Capital; Magdel Steyn of Magdel Steyn Consulting; Sam Posselt of Hashtags; Anna Vayanos of Anna Vayanos Philanthopy Consulting; Colin Habberton of GivenGain and Shelagh Gastrow of Gastrow Bloch Philanthropies – and to the Amy Biehl Foundation who hosted the course. And to all the fellow graduates who made it even more interesting.


WOMEN’S FESTIVAL 2016 – Part Two: The Talks

002 - CopyThe Talks at the 2016 Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival all began with….a great deal of talks, meetings, conversations and ideas

003 - CopyAny especially good one came from Beryl Eichenberger who suggested we have a Story Café @ Woman Zone making maximum use of our Women’s  Library…..

006 - CopyAnd so we did. The first of three started with a panel discussion on Mothers and Memoirs – with panel here (from left) Nancy Richards (facilitator), Ntsiki Sigege, Philippa Kabali-Kagwa, Ruth Carneson, Malika Ndlovu who talked passionately about their books…..reading and reciting from them respectively….

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Followed by some very personal stories from Jolyn Phillips and Lindeka Qampi…..037 - Copy 041 - CopyThe next day the discussion centred around food…..and children…starting with the kids, we heard from three children’s book authors, from the top…..Elana Agnello, Nicole Levin and Lucy Stuart-Clark….047 - Copy 058 - Copy 049 - Copy

Next came the foodies, in force…..(from the top), Cape Malay food royalty, Cass Abrahams with her daughter (there was an intergenerational theme running through the Festival too) ; two very chatty cooks from Bonteheuwel Koelsoem and Flori as well as sustainable foodies Jules Mercer and Zayaan Khan…..062 - Copy 071 - CopyWe also got some input from a couple of men….publishers Robin Stuart-Clark as well as Izaak de Vries

078 - CopyAnd talking intergenerational, mother and daughter writers Maxine and Dianne Case also shared some very personal anecdotes in the storysharing session.

095 - CopyOn the third and final day of Story Café, a panel discussion on Healing Society through writing was particularly poignant with (from left) Jade Gibson (facilitator), Michelle Hattingh, Leticia from Mosaic and Primrose from Rape Crisis…..097 - Copy 093 - CopyResponses from the audience were strong and emotional.

099 - Copy 101 - Copy….as was the final storysharing session when Nombeko Mpongo shared her story as an Aids activist author and sassy Busang Senne read from her debut novel. What more appropriate to close the Café with a poem from Bulelwa Basse who was part of the line-up in Women in Song the concert. Earlier poet Yolanda Benya had opened the session.

109 - CopyBut the last words had to be a big round of Happy Birthdays, candle and cupcakes for poet photographer Lindeka Qampi who celebrated her birthday with us.

Last but so not least, two enormous Thank You’s to the team at Clarke’s the Bookshop who set up and sold from a table groaning with wonderful women’s books  – and to Sophie Woolley, actress and film maker who very ably ‘periscoped’ the sessions and panel discussions for the world to see. Thank you guys.

021 - CopyAnd to all you came and spoke and listened, thank YOU for joining us. Look forward to see you again at the Women’s Library.

The Woman Zone Team



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