In our view

More measured - 17 Nov 2011 Fm.co.za - Financial Mail

The recession has taken its toll on local non profit organisations but it has not necessarily led to a drop-off in companies supporting them.

In fact, by some measures SA businesses are increasing the amount they give to charities. If you ask a company how much it spends on corporate social investment (CSI), you will generally see a figure that continues to grow at an accelerated rate, says Nick Rockey, MD of Trialogue, a CSI consultancy which publishes the annual CSI Handbook.

The previous handbook shows SA companies spent R5,4bn on CSI in 2009/2010, up from R5,1bn the preceding year.

Rockey does not want to give details ahead of the latest handbook in a few weeks, but says companies are doing a better job of measuring what they contribute. This is in large part as a result of government’s empowerment codes, which create an incentive for businesses to keep track of their charitable activity.

This need to track what they contribute has meant non profit organisations have had to up their game when it comes to corporate governance, says Inyathelo executive director Shelagh Gastrow. Gastrow says businesses are no longer prepared to just give money and walk away. They want the recipients to produce a measurable outcome, which they can report to their stakeholders.

This need for a measurable outcome, however, is narrowing the types of non profit organisations and projects companies are interested in funding, and has led to organisations that support job creation and education receiving funding ahead of those that look at defending democracy and promoting the arts.