My thoughts on the shifts that this pandemic may encourage in South Africa
COVID-19 will change everything. Like a defining moment in history (such as the Great Depression, 1st and 2nd World Wars, 9/11 and the 1994 elections in South Africa), the future will take on a new course. On the bright side, we will recover as we always do, though it may take several years before things are back on track. This experience will influence how we behave in the future. This is evident as I finish this article in the first week of April 2020 during South Africa’s ‘lockdown’. Click here for more details.
Large Numbers of Nonprofit Leaders Are Stepping Down — and the Competition to Find New Ones Is ‘Fierce’
Felecia Hatcher began thinking about leaving the group she co-founded, the Center for Black Innovation, back in 2019. After the birth of her second child, she wanted to find a way to travel less and still help young Black entrepreneurs. But then the pandemic hit, and her thinking changed. “There was no way I could leave then,” she says. Click here for more details.
Building a Solidarity Culture
On March 17th, NPQ’s economic justice desk hosted a virtual roundtable discussion about how to build the culture that is needed to sustain support for a solidarity economy. We have written extensively about the solidarity economy at NPQ because the concept is central to achieving economic democracy and collective flourishing. Click here for more details.
How Is South Africa's Digital Divide Making Inequality Worse in the Country?
South Africa can’t seem to shake the title of most unequal country in the world, which it was given by the World Bank in 2019, and still holds to this day. South Africa’s injustices are now feeding a relatively new form of disparity, that is, digital inequality. Digital access and literacy may be far from the mind of the person reading this very article on our website or app, but for many in South Africa, it is a harsh reality that is increasing the country’s inequality gap. Click here to read more.
Why Do We Bother? The Tragedy of Foundation Reporting Requirements
There’s essentially nothing a foundation must do when it comes to asking most nonprofits to provide reports on the grants they’ve received. In fact, there’s no regulation that requires a funder to have a reporting process at all. (Expenditure responsibility grants are a major exception, of course.) Yet nearly all foundations do require reports for virtually all their grantees. It’s a tragedy because, as far as I can tell, foundation staff and grantees alike often suffer under the burden of an invented system, filled with bespoke reporting requirements that don’t seem to be doing anyone much good. I’m going to take a risk here and suggest that funders should throw out reporting as it exists altogether. Click here for more details.
Individual Donors Respond to Crisis Part 1: Stronger Relationships
As nonprofits, and the people and communities they serve, faced compounding challenges over the past year plus, individual donors have provided crucial support. In fact, increased financial support from individual donors — in addition to foundations and the government — helped nonprofits to fare better through 2020 than nonprofit leaders had expected.[i] Further, a recent report from the Urban Institute found that most nonprofits, especially small nonprofits, say that support from individual donors is very important for their work. Click here for more details.
Incompetent leaders focus exclusively on results. Successful leaders notice their impact on people because leadership is about human beings, not simply producing a product. Click here to read more.
How to Navigate the Post-COVID Novel Nonprofit Economy
We are witnessing the rise of a new generation of donors and nonprofit employees. Brian Solis, Global Innovation Evangelist and Digital Anthropologist, calls this Generation Novel, or Gen N. This is an evolution, accelerated by the COVID pandemic and social upheaval, from what he previously called Generation Connected, or Gen C. Click here for more details.
Scaling Your Nonprofit's Impact Starts With Your People
As the nonprofit sector becomes more focused on accountability and performance, grantors and other stakeholders are increasingly emphasizing capacity-building. This can take the form of improved financial management, strategic planning, efficient internal communication and a wide range of other internal capabilities. Click here for more details.
Nonprofit Board Giving: It’s Not A Slam Dunk
“If a board member isn’t passionate enough to give, how can they share their passion for the mission with the wider community?” “There should be a give or get.” “If a board member won’t give, then they don’t understand their responsibility as a board member.”

Just Because Everyone Believes It…

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Thought Leaders on Early Childhood Development in South Africa
We have just launched our new publication entitled, ‘Thought Leaders on Early Childhood Development in South Africa’. This timely collection of thought-provoking essays, compiled and edited by a South African early childhood development team, led by our Director, Professor Eric Atmore, explores the concerns, opinions, and calls-for-action of thought leaders in the ECD sector in South Africa. Click here for more details.
When Business as Usual Isn’t Working, Look to Nonprofits for Inspiration
In the Covid-era, businesses must — and will — play an essential role in dealing with the hardships created by the pandemic. But to do so, they must also recognize how the ground has shifted under them: Inclusivity is more important than ever; there’s pressure on leaders to weigh social outcomes, as well as economic ones; and resources for achieving all of this are scarcer than usual. Existing approaches may not be sufficient to meet the challenge. Click here for more details.
How to Lead When Your Team Is Exhausted — and You Are, Too
“What happened to my resolve?” a leader remarked in the middle of a session. We were discussing how he and his team were navigating the second wave of the pandemic and responding to the breaking news that a vaccine might be on the horizon. On the surface, everything was fine: The business was thriving and his company was in a good position. Click here for more details.
Leaders, Are You Feeling the Burden of Pandemic-Related Decisions?
It’s hard for many of us to feel in control as the global pandemic drags on. And yet, many business leaders nonetheless feel a tremendous amount of guilt about the impact Covid-19 has had on employees and customers, from layoffs and closures to disruptions in service. Leaders understand that corporate action can lead to personal turmoil, whether it’s the loss of health insurance for a laid-off employee with underlying conditions, the new inability to care for the special need of a child, or an increased risk of eviction. Click here for more details.
The Ten Commandments of Crisis Management
You may ask why there are so many crises that appear to have been preventable. It’s a good question. Unlike crisis management, which is mainly reactive, risk management is a proactive process with its goal of crisis anticipation and preparation. It may run counter to individual leaders’ inner nature, but the objective is not to win in a crisis. The goal is to survive, fight another day, show humility and empathy throughout, and plan for recovery and an eventual comeback. Here, then, are my Ten Commandments of Crisis Management: Click here for more details.
Five tips for nonprofit leaders to plan for proactive fundraising
Successful fundraising needs to be strategic. Too often development directors and nonprofit leaders are wearing too many hats, juggling too many projects, that preparing their development work takes a backseat. The problem with this is that it makes fundraising reactive rather than proactive. While any solvent organization is certainly having some fundraising success, taking time to set plans, goals, and strategies can take your organization to the next level. And setting aside some time to plan will make development less frenzied, freeing you up to devote more attention to other essential and programmatic decisions. Click here for more details.
Governing In a Time of Crisis: 10 Actions for Boards
  1. Keep mission and values at the center: Your mission and values should be guiding all of your decisions and how you stay in relationship with each other. It’s especially important that equity and inclusion remain priorities; even when making quick decisions, ask who will be impacted and who needs to help inform them.
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Actions for Board Members in a Time of Crisis
There has been a good amount of guidance issued for nonprofit board members in the past couple of months. Rightly so; none of us has had to govern through a global pandemic before. We’re all learning and adapting together. To avoid repeating the great resources already out there – hopefully you have been reminded about the need to be frequently checking in with your executive director and are prioritizing the health of your people – I wanted to extract some specific actions for board members. Click here for more details.
Risks for the Future We Want
Over the last six weeks, thousands of people across America have been arrested at protests, with millions marching in the streets. Despite a pandemic, so many people (including myself) have been willing to take the risk, breaking stay-at-home orders and potentially exposing themselves to the virus, in the fight for racial justice. And these risks have had results: Long-time fearless activists, timely global protests, and many actions of solidarity have taken the Black Lives Matter movement mainstream. A majority of Americans now support the movement, according to a recent Civiqs poll, and politicians at almost every level are following suit. What was seemingly impossible was made possible in a matter of weeks. How can philanthropists learn from the people in the streets and reimagine risk? Click here for more details.
4 Practices To Become An Agile Leader With A Remote Team
In the age of continuous evolution, especially after Covid-19, leaders need to learn new skills. Becoming more agile to work with a remote team and deal with an immediate crisis is key. Before the pandemic, most leaders were expected to be in charge. Suddenly, the shift to a remote workforce and a more volatile environment posed tremendous challenges for them. Google Employees, for instance, will be able to work from home until summer 2021. Click here for more details.
The upside of virtual board meetings
Like everyone else, members of corporate boards have had to innovate quickly due to Covid-19. A once-in-a-generation economic shock has put vital strategic decisions on the table without the luxury of in-person meetings. Boards have had to balance the unfamiliarity of going virtual with the pressures of protecting their organizations from catastrophe. While most boards are still finding that balance, a number of fast-adapting companies have found that virtual board meetings are better than the real thing. Aside from the obvious benefits of reduced travel and increased attendance, shifting to virtual has allowed boards to improve governance and collaboration through shorter agendas, crisper presentations, more inclusive and bolder conversations, and broader exposure to key executives and outside experts. Click here for more details.
What would it take to reskill entire industries?
As the global health crisis begins to recede in some countries, the economic one is only just beginning. As of May 27, 2020, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that 94% of the global workforce lives in countries with active workplace closure measures. Businesses across a range of sectors are facing catastrophic losses, resulting in millions of workers vulnerable to layoffs. Meanwhile, the past few months have also seen a rapid acceleration of three major forces: deglobalization, digitization, and corporate consolidation. With consumer habits shifting rapidly to online consumption, businesses have had to respond quickly with “digital transformation” plans in months instead of years. In line, one popular Internet meme singled out Covid-19 as the member of the C-suite responsible for digital transformation, as opposed to the chief digital or chief executive officer. Click here for more details.
COVID-19 has exacerbated climate concerns
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, the dominant narrative in the climate change space is ‘nature is healing’. This narrative has emerged from the decrease in air pollution across hotspots and other climate wins. While it is important to highlight this, as it demonstrates the impact of human activity on nature, it also leaves out key considerations about how economies will recover and the impact of the pandemic on communities already coping with climate change. It is possible that the financial impact from COVID-19 will, in the longer-term, leave millions more vulnerable to climate change. Click here for more details.
Failure Is Not an Option: How Nonprofit Boards Can Support Leaders of Color
As capacity-building consultants to the social sector, we regularly support nonprofit organizations, their leaders, and their boards. Some of this support involves leadership coaching for individuals and teams. At a meeting earlier this year of racial equity capacity-building organizations, we found ourselves in a conversation about what we are seeing as we coach CEOs, executive directors, and other C-suite leaders of color. Now, COVID-19, as well as the multiple cases of police violence against Black people that we are witnessing, are laying bare the structural racism that undergirds so much of the US social milieu in which our nonprofit clients swim. These impacts can be found everywhere, including the racial inequities in philanthropic dollars and access to small business loans for people of color (POC)-led nonprofits, and disproportionate impacts of the virus on communities of color, even as countless numbers across the country are protesting racial injustice and speaking out about its ongoing traumatic effects, especially on Black people. In this context, leaders of color in nonprofit organizations are in many ways proverbial “canaries in the mine” as their experiences and needs may portend the health and long-term viability of the sector as a whole. Click here for more details.
Why Fundraisers Should Press “Play” Not “Pause”
Larry C Johnson will show us how to step back and create fundraising programs that are impervious to broad swings in the economy, and how to develop revenue streams that liberate your organization to truly deliver on its mission. Click here for more details.
Strategic Planning in a Nutshell: 4 Key Steps
As more and more foundations seek to increase their impact by concentrating on a limited number of priorities, they often adopt a strategic plan to guide them. Written by staff members or a joint staff-board task force, sometimes with the help of an outside consultant, a strategic plan lays out the foundation’s goals and its strategies to reach them over a specified period (five years is common). Developing a strategic plan often takes up to two years. But it doesn’t have to be such a time-consuming, complicated process. It is, in fact, conceptually quite simple, and should take less than a year from start to finish. Click here for more details.
How Foundations Can Avoid Common Pitfalls and Collaborate
After the 1992 Watts riots, 29 foundations — national, state, and local — formed a collaborative to restore damaged neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The partnership led to better results in the three communities on which the partnership focused, according to a recent assessment by the University of Southern California’s Center for Philanthropy and Public Policy. A little more than two decades later, in 2013, as Detroit was exiting bankruptcy, a dozen foundations — also national, state, and local — forged an alliance to save Detroit’s world-class art collection. Click here for more details.
Covid-19: Are we asking the right questions about… Unlocking the economy?
  • Unlocking the economy in the best way possible was the theme of a CDE webinar held on 08 May 2020.
  • In other countries the areas where the virus has spread the most has been within homes and on public transport. Workplaces can more easily introduce measures to avoid spreading the virus, unless they are working directly with the public, according to TIPS economist Neva Makgetla.
  • Government and business must engage each other constructively in the interests of creating more open, competitive business environments in which regulatory constraints are minimised.
  • A more collaborative approach between established business leaders and governments, at national, provincial, and metro levels, will allow South Africa to move through the lockdown levels as fast as is possible.
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How Covid-19 should impact the way you manage risk in your business
The way businesses approach risk management is becoming critical, says Saloshni Pillay, Head of Global Markets Sales & Structuring at Absa Corporate & Investment Banking. Africa is in a very precarious position as the global COVID-19 pandemic escalates. The financial markets across the continent have been particularly hard hit due to heightened volatility and deterioration in liquidity conditions across various asset classes. The disruption to global supply chains and trade has caused sizable knock on effects in terms of how companies are thinking about cash management and liquidity. Companies are already facing a myriad of issues and decisions in terms of the sustainability of their business relevance, human capital and digital platforms. With a looming global recession, companies are in a tailspin around all these factors. Key considerations in the short term are how companies will approach and formulate their risk management decisions. It is going to be critical for companies and financial institutions to work together to navigate through this crisis. Click here for more details.
OPINION | SA youth were asked what they needed during the pandemic. Here's what they said | Fin24
Youth on the world's youngest continent have something to say during this Covid-19 crisis: "Don't just talk at us, talk with us and listen to what we need". A campaign to reach three million youth in the first three weeks of South Africa's lockdown showed us how much you can learn when you listen to the voices of young people and how important it is to make sure they have accurate information to keep themselves safe and informed. What did we hear? Scourge of fake news Young people are being flooded with fake news and misinformation. Early in the lockdown, the campaign called out in real-time a growing trend of youth reporting that they were afraid to get tested by community health workers because of misinformation falsely alleging that testing kits were infected with Covid-19. Click here for more details.
NPOs left high and dry after being ‘sidelined’ by government
The NPO Alliance says board members of many organisations are now personally liable for the debt incurred by their organisations. The poor, hungry, disabled and the abused could be dealt a devastating blow as Covid-19 brings the non-profit organisation (NPO) sector to its knees, to the detriment of the most vulnerable in society. The sector, which largely depends on donor funding and good Samaritans, plays a critical role in vulnerable societies, providing critical care, service to the poor and assist with awareness and access to government services. Click here for more details. 
Giving a voice to the marginalised communities in Southern Africa
In its mandate to strengthen the voice and agency of marginalised communities in the SADC region, the Southern Africa Trust has launched weekly public webinars which are known as Society Talks. The emphasis of the series will be to inform, engage and share experiences to the broader society within the focus areas of the Trust. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the Southern Africa region, Society Talks is a platform that unites affected communities, participants and stakeholders to engage in progressive dialogue with the intention of developing responsive solutions as a collaborative. Over the 15-week period, some of the topics will include socio-economies relief, climate justice and disaster preparedness, women & gender empowerment, role of the youth, migration and development, as well as building public-private partnerships. Click here for more details.
7 tricks for making good decisions in times of crisis
From pausing new projects to making staff cuts to finding ways to cut expenses, business life during the COVID-19 is filled with tough decisions. And while most of us know the havoc stress can wreak on decision-making, from altered valuation and feedback processing to a tendency to revert to “safe,” habit-based options—there’s little respite from pandemic-induced pressure, causing decision-making to be tougher even as the stakes are higher. Click here for more details.
Crisis of Confidence: Your Nonprofit’s Worst Fundraising Enemy
If you’re going dark on your donors right now out of fear – real, misplaced or some combination thereof – you’re doing everyone a disservice. Your organization, and all those who rely on your continued existence, will be left in the lurch without donor support. I mean it! Donors don’t want to be abandoned by you right now. They want to help. How do I know? Research shows donors are very supportive of their nonprofits through uncertain economic times. Your donors, especially, want to give to you. Folks who love you haven’t stopped loving you. Click here for more details.
How to Survive an Imperfect Nonprofit Culture
I want to make a point about the significance of a culture of philanthropy. About treating our internal stakeholders as kindly as we treat our external ones. About being grateful to those who support us and work with us, donors and staff alike. About being able to fully enjoy and embrace our missions and feel simpatico with the values our organizations enact every day. About how this is critically important if you want to be successful at generating philanthropy (both money and acts of service). Click here for more details.