Sustainable social investment â€œnot a one-way streetâ€
As government juggles a myriad of social and development priorities, organisations such as Childline are becoming increasingly dependent on private sector donations to fund their essential work.
â€œWe compete with numerous other NGOs for funding, all of whom do vital and necessary work. The dilemma is that weâ€™re having to invest more and more time and resources to attract and secure funding, when we should be improving and expanding our services to cope with the frightening number of children who need our help,â€ explains Joan van Niekerk, national coordinator of Childline.
â€œItâ€™s hard to secure lottery money and we simply canâ€™t afford to put all our eggs in one basket. Itâ€™s why weâ€™re increasingly having to look at more creative ways of securing ongoing funding, rather than living hand-to-mouth by chasing one-off donations.â€
Van Niekerk says a good example is the regular donations made by Nedgroup Investmentsâ€™ Renaissance Fund.
Nedgroup Investments donates 60% of the initial fee earned on investments into the Nedbank Renaissance Fund to four NGOs, of which Childline is one. Together with fund manager, African Harvest Fund Managers, it also donates 30% of its annual management fee.
â€œItâ€™s an ideal arrangement,â€ says Van Niekerk. â€œWe receive repeated reliable donations, which make it much easier to plan and sustain projects, while the fact that the Nedbank Renaissance Fund is benefiting charities helps to differentiate it in a crowded market.â€
Nic Andrew, Head of Nedgroup Investments, is quick to point out that thereâ€™s nothing charitable about the way the fund is managed. Unlike some other social investment funds, the investment universe is not restricted, nor are the investors required to share a portion of their returns.
â€œItâ€™s why the Nedbank Renaissance Fund is effectively able to provide the best of both worlds, fulfilling its mandate to investors, while contributing to social upliftment without any conflicts or compromises.â€
To date the fund has raised over R2 million for Childline, Habitat for Humanity, Rape Crisis and the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders, better known as NICRO. Donations are made quarterly. For the past quarter ending in June this amounted to R134 042, bringing the total for the year so far to some R279 042.
â€œThe Nedbank Renaissance Fund fulfils two important fundraising criteria for us,â€ says Van Niekerk. â€œIt provides regular income and itâ€™s not just signing cheques for charity - it also works well for the donor. Itâ€™s not a one-way street, so it is sustainable. Itâ€™s a good example of how the private sector and civil society can both benefit by working together.â€
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