According to the Orion Organisation and the Cape Town Society for the Blind, 30 percent of South Africa’s 122 000 registered non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were forced to close in 2013.
The common assumption about these figures presumes that a shrinking funding pool is leaving thousands of worthy organisations high and dry. While not completely inaccurate, it’s not the whole truth either.
Cape Town Society for the Blind (CTSB) CEO, Lizelle van Wyk, cites poor management, and even corruption as contributing factors. Lack of transparency as to how donor money is actually being spent exacerbates an already fragile situation.
“One must remember,” warns van Wyk, “that once a donor has been deceived on what his or her funds have actually been spent on, that donor will not support any NGOs soon.”
Apart from the need for trust between donors and organisations, Orion CEO Hannl Cronjé, reminds us that sound strategy and planning is vital for the sustainability of an organization
According to Cronjé, many NGOs have an ad hoc approach to planning, using donor funding primarily to fill immediate financial shortfalls with no eye toward long-term issues like capacity building or financial stability.
Cronjé and van Wyk remind us that Advancement involves so much more than chasing funds, a theme central to our own work. Indeed, the issues they raise around the NGO funding crisis speak directly or indirectly to most of our Ten Building Blocks of Advancement. Our thanks to the CTSB and the Orion Organisation for continuing the conversation.