This October we commemorate South Africa’s commitment to caring for the most vulnerable in our society and hope to encourage others to participate in giving back to communities. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic which saw many NPO’s close their doors, and millions left unemployed, help is now needed more than ever.

A 2019 report done by Nedbank, the Giving Report IV surveyed the giving practices of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) in South Africa in the year 2018. The report showed that although fewer HNWI were giving back to the community, those who were willing to donate before are giving even more now—more in terms of value in time. They were also more invested in terms of if their giving achieved its purpose and if there were other ways to become involved in the lives of the receivers. In addition, the report recorded that these HNWI were more thoughtful about where their money would make the most impact. Of the surveyed HNWIs, one-third of the givers had a planned budget and strategy for giving, and larger givers had a formalised approached.

The biggest supported causes were social and community development, along with religious institutions, and non-profits remaining the most supported type of beneficiary. Which shouldn’t surprise us as Iolanda Ruggiero, Managing Executive: Nedbank Wealth, points out. “Our non-profit organisations (NPOs) fulfil an important and invaluable role in our society, so it is vital for donors to work even more closely with each other to coordinate their efforts and compound the positive impact of their giving.”

This is something that seemed to resonate with givers as relationships with beneficiaries were predominantly long term. She says that “just over half of givers supported most of their beneficiaries for more than five years, while 21% had been supporting them for their entire lives.”

But how are these beneficiaries being chosen? The report highlighted five main reasons why these HNWI chose to give:

  1. They held religious beliefs.
  2. They cared about the cause.
  3. They wanted to make a difference.
  4. They were motivated by a family tradition of giving.
  5. They wanted to give something back to the community.

This feeds into the most popular channels givers use for identifying organisations: religious organisations, personal or family involvement, and their network of friends and peers. For example, when the decision was made to give “family members were the most likely to be consulted when making decisions about to whom to give to.”

Also importantly, how do we encourage others to give when they didn’t before? The report found that the most common reason for not giving in 2018 was that respondents were ‘not in a financial position yet’. However, “three-quarters of non-givers reported that they would consider becoming givers in the future were they to receive a direct request from a friend, family, NPO, or a charity, or in the case of a national disaster.”

These trends were highlighted and accelerated during the pandemic as noticed by The Love Trust. They saw some of their donors having to regrettably withdraw their support (due to the harsh financial crisis accelerated by the pandemic), but many of their longstanding and some new supports gave even more generously with long-term commitments. This allowed the NPO to not only survive the storm but flourish.

The Love Trust stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when donors and their beneficiaries build meaningful relationships. By leveraging our strengths, we can help others stand on their feet and move our nation forward.

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