Choose wisely when giving

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Revonia Kahivere

Staff Reporter

WINDHOEK – The FNB brand mantra “how can we help you?” is not only central to the business model and the bank’s customers but also to the Corporate Social Investment policy, where FNB envisages being a great Namibian business, creating a better world.

“While it is wonderful to give, and many people are doing so, be it via the FNB Happiness Store or direct donations to their preferred charity, it is also imperative that donors ensure that the companies they wish to support are open, honest, and transparent and that the money reaches the intended audience,” says Revonia Kahivere, CSI Manager at FNB Namibia.

“Identifying the right partner or cause remains one of the most important decisions for a donor. Research indicates that people choose to support causes that are close to their heart. In some instances, a donor or a relative has survived an illness, or they have personal experience with an important social issue.  This is also the case when people feel some affinity with a cause, like animal welfare for example,” says Kahivere.

“The problem with choosing a cause this way is that you’re likely to partner with an organisation that already enjoys a lot of support or an organisation that may not make your donation go further in achieving the impact you hope to see. A lot of social interventions have a weak or no positive effect, coupled with the risk of fraud targeted at Non-Profit Organisations with possible weak governance controls,” adds Kahivere.

There are many deserving causes, and this makes a donor’s decision a little bit more difficult. To navigate this process, you must establish your own ‘Giving’ strategy. She explains that, “For the donation to have a quantifiable and social impact, donors must be able to invest their time in ongoing research and know what, how and who they want their donation to go to as well as determine the outcome they want to see.”

Kahivere gave some tips on what to look out for when considering giving:
Compare mission statements: list the non-profits that fit your predetermined criteria and focus on organisations whose objectives resemble or complement your values. All non-profits have founding documents that set out the objectives of the organisation. This information should be listed on their websites or social media platforms.
Make sure organisations are registered: there are various forms of registration for non-profit organisations in Namibia. They are either established as, non-profit companies or as voluntary associations in terms of common law.

Transparency and accountability is key to knowing that your donation will be used for what it is intended. The organisation’s website or social media pages should provide information that include a list of board members and organisational leadership and staff.  It should have details of their programmes and their annual reports, including financial reports. This will allow you to track how funds are spent. It will demonstrate if there is some level of control in place.

Measurable Impact is key to understanding the impact of the organisation’s goals and achievements. A reputable organisation will give details of the reach and impact of their programmes and clearly describe their measurable goals and use concrete criteria to describe its achievements, to support its impact claims.

It should be of serious concern if the organisations that are calling for donations fail to disclose any of the above information. “Undertaking such comprehensive research and due diligence may be overwhelming to many donors, due to the knowledge, effort and time required to identify the right partner/cause. Where possible social investment professionals can help in undertaking this process on their behalf,” says Kahivere. “Let us continue giving to contribute towards Namibia being a happy healthy nation, but make sure that your well-intended donation benefits the right audience on your wish list.”

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