Growth in South African Philanthropy
The growth in the field of philanthropy, both locally and across the continent, is reflected in increasing media coverage, more financial institutions offering philanthropy-focused services, increased uptake in the number of small and large consulting firms providing philanthropy advice, and the number of private Trusts developing a more public profile (particularly on social media platforms).
In the 2013 Nedbank Private Wealth Giving Report, CEO of the Other Foundation Neville Gabriel argues that there is evidence of:
In addition, according to the Trialogue CSI Handbook (2014), 61% of NPOs reported that giving by individuals (whether through institutionalised giving or individual donations) had increased. This percentage is greater than the increases in corporate or self-generated funding reported by local NPOs.
It remains to be determined, through longitudinal studies, how this growth is reflected in philanthropic spend and in increased giving to NPOs. Despite the drop in international and government funding over past years it is encouraging to note that, as borne out in a national survey, South Africans are a nation of givers.
Public discussion and debate on philanthropy has gained greater media interest over time and is now featured more regularly in print, online and broadcast media. Some examples include:
Differences between philanthropy and charity
- African philanthropy, the new drivers of development
- The rise of African philanthropy
- Thoughts on philanthropy in South Africa
Reasons people give
New research and data on local philanthropy
Stories of individual giving and its impacts
- Five notable African philanthropists
- 10 African philanthropists who gave over $10m
- While politicians duck and dive, ordinary people make a difference
Challenges in grantmaker-grantseeker relationships
- Donor relationship management practices in the South African non-profit sector
- Smart Donors Are Putting Nonprofits Back in Charge
- The End of Hope: SA Civil Society’s Race to the Bottom
Growing funding for social justice and human rights
The politics of funding
The philanthropy advisory and support services field is another area where growth can be determined. In 2006 there was only one banking institution in South Africa with an active, profiled, publicised and well-functioning Philanthropy Office (BoE Private Clients). In the last decade, numerous other banks and wealth management institutions66 have climbed on board the philanthropy platform, and are offering a range of investment, entity set-up, tax and grantmaking advisory and support services to those with surplus wealth who are considering or are already involved in philanthropic giving.
Along with banking services and wealth management companies, a range of other service providers have also started to shape and focus their services in relation to philanthropic giving and the institutionalisation of philanthropy through the establishment of private Trusts and Foundations. These service providers include lawyers, tax advisors, strategy consultants, and grantmaking specialists, amongst others.
In addition, some private Foundations67 are taking their potential for impact more seriously and are engaging outcomes monitoring and impact evaluation specialists to assist in determining the efficacy and impact of a particular grantmaking strategy. The need for skills and expertise in the field of private philanthropy and Foundation or Trust grantmaking practices is growing, and Foundations have begun to share their learnings and challenges through affinity groups and philanthropy forums.68
Central to the recent growth in the philanthropy environment is the development and accessibility of knowledge and information about and for philanthropists. In the early 2000’s most philanthropy and grantmaking knowledge production was academic and mostly published in university-based research reports.69 More recent efforts to ensure accessible knowledge-sharing has seen publications by donor organisations, non-profits, and financial services institutions in addition to ongoing academic projects.
These include, amongst other materials:
- Advancing Philanthropy70, reflecting a shift to provide more accessible knowledge for and about private South African philanthropy
- Proceedings of donor conferences71 and the Private Philanthropy Circle symposia72
- Pocket books of philanthropy quotes sourced from South Africans and others
- A how-to publication for youth in philanthropy in South Africa
- Pinterest boards on South African philanthropists
- Communications That Count: Lessons from South African Social Investors, GrantCraft’s first publication on South African grantmaking, developed in partnership with Tshikululu Social Investments (TSI)73
The need for skilled philanthropy-focused practitioners in the fields of taxation, accounting, strategy, communications, and impact measurement, is on the increase. There have been efforts to address skills enhancement through, for example, the establishment of university-accredited non-profit management courses, but many of these focused on grantseeking, fundraising and non-profit management. In many cases these have also been either cancelled or provided on an ad hoc basis.
Courses currently on offer include:
- The Business School’s Management Programme for Non-profit Organisations at the University of Stellenbosch
- The Gordon Institute of Business Science’s Social Entrepreneurship course at the University of Pretoria
- The Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice’s executive short courses on non-profit management at the University of Cape Town
- Rhodes Business School’s Certificate in Advancement and Resource Mobilisation at Rhodes University
Currently, there are no university-accredited courses designed to support grantmaking. The University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business course in CSI funding management was terminated in 2011. In addition, the University of the Witwatersrand’s Business School, in partnership with the Southern Africa Trust, is in the process of establishing a Chair in Philanthropy, the first in South Africa.