Now What Do Them Bones Say This Year? Written by Ann Bown of Charisma Communications, a financial sustainability consultant to the non-profit sector. Ann is the author of the book How to Fast-Track Your Board in Fundraising
Now What Do Them Bones Say This Year?
A group of leaders from a professional body decided that the once voluntary role of the Chairperson is to become a paid (salary) position as the elected chairperson is unemployed. Did they check their constitution, one wonders, and what will the other members have to say about this decision taken by a handful of office bearers?
A Chairman from an international charity appointed a foreign ‘friend’ to a senior position without the right skills for the job or knowledge of the voluntary sector with a package exceeding the graded post. Oh my, what will the donors and colleagues say?
The controversy of the PSL (Professional Soccer League) R70 million commission to be shared amongst board members after striking a five-year sponsorship deal with ABSA, led to a reprimand from the Minister of Finance regarding governance of this non-profit organisation. One of the dangers of a membership-based voluntary association arise when the watch-dogs don’t read and adhere to their own Constitution - it is clearly stated under item 6.7 that PSL will utilise its funds in the pursuit of its objectives but not for personal gain. (The constitution is posted on their website).
Information and Data
MDGs - 2015
The staff of the Novalis Ubuntu Institute in Cape Town had a dreary Christmas when internet fraudsters hacked into their bank account and stole over R90, 000. They were wiped out completely by this SCAM as the hackers falsified the Chief Financial Officer’s identity book. This occurred through a SIM card switch at an MTN outlet in Johannesburg. The money in the account was from Swedish donors for an OVC art programme.
Theft of identity is not only happening to individuals but to a number of community-based organisations (CBOs) in poor areas – there has been a steady increase in this activity for the past 5 years. Even when the CBOs can identify the culprits they don’t have the clout to take on the gangsters and are actually scared of repercussions – so maybe this is this year we need to scrutinise new employees and or volunteers more closely or even start up our own CBO Scorpions unit?
Cash-flow and Delays
A rural women’s organisation based in Montagu in the Western Cape is operating out of a shack – they applied for funding towards the first phase of a new building for a modest drop-in centre and soup kitchen that would benefit orphans from child-headed households. The Department of Social Development approved a significant amount of R40 000 towards the initial R60 000 needed to start the building. When representatives from the local Social Development offices arrived with a cheque they decided that the conditions of the grant were not being met as a permanent dwelling with services wasn’t in place - they took the cheque back and the director of the organisation is now fighting for what is rightfully an allocation towards this OVC project!
The National Lolly and changes to the Lottery Act Afoot
This Licence Operator glitch did not really stymie activities of the NLDTF so new calls for Charity proposals and other agencies were made by early 2007 in spite of several months without DA (distribution agency) members to adjudicate applications and approve grants. According to the 2006/7 Annual Report of the National Lottery Board, R1.3 billion was the slice of income to be distributed to good causes by Uthingo – this was later reduced to R1 billion and even later to R800 million – of which only R739 million was actually distributed to organisations. This should have left a fair residual and a roll-over for 2007 but some NPOs are wondering why their applications were greatly reduced by as much as 90% if adequate funding was available!
Hopefully the NLB website will get a face-lift this year with updated information including the names of the not-so-new DA members (this is only available in the annual report) and perhaps some Q&A space on why they had such a rollicking from the Auditor General on matters of governance - such as the need for an effective approval mechanism between the DA’s decisions and the accounting authority and why had site visits not been arranged as requested by the DA’s to beneficiary premises. It would be good to have such systems in place and dispel the urban legend that a one-man decision-maker is tampering with applications in the programme office!
The allocation of over R600 million by the Department of Labour towards ABET for the next 5 years might shift this criteria within the Charities focus for 2008.
SMS competitions had a reprieve after the ruling by Judge Roger Claassen on the NLB application that WiniKhaya was an unlawful lottery – the Judge stated that the Lotteries Act of 1997 had been poorly drafted and urged the Legislature to revisit the Act with the greatest of urgency - so there might be some amendments taking place this year or maybe next year or the year after – make sure your organisation is included in the consultation process when this commences.
Many believed that the case had been won by SA Children’s Charity Trust and SABC1 but in effect it was a legal point regarding who had the power to bring the application before the courts, which apparently should have been the Minister of Trade and Industry. The NLB has lodged an appeal – sound familiar?
I feel compelled to mention the National Development Agency – they have a very nicely presented strategic plan and impressive corporate looking logo but what happened to the missing millions and to those who committed the dastardly deed? We would appreciate some answers, please.
The Making CSI Matter Conference held in November last year threw a safety line to a number of new social investment programme managers – many of whom had been coerced into this role by their employers and told to do this thing called CSI as well as their existing jobs. Poor darlings.
CSI is no longer the Cinderella of business, thanks to B-BBEE Codes (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment), but companies still need to make sufficient allocation of resources. They also need people who are trained and prepared for the responsible task of grant management and project assessment as well as a will from senior management to make CSI really matter.
The recent launch of the CSI Mapping tool, funded by the Old Mutual Foundation as a joint initiative of Trialogue and Naledi Development will certainly assist with data gathering and integration of community programmes that hopefully will paint a truer picture of corporate involvement.
Our Daily Bread
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