No sector has been left unscathed by the economic shock of Covid-19, with the strained non-profit sector taking an especially hard financial knock during the pandemic. The private sector has done much to alleviate widespread hunger and protect communities against infection, but many companies have also repurposed their corporate social investment budgets, which has affected programming.

Read more: [WEBINAR] Fundraising from corporates

In a country where social impact organisations make a substantial contribution to advancing the wellbeing of communities – protecting their rights, filling service delivery gaps, defending democracy, and protecting the environment – pressure on local organisations to survive grim economic outlooks and political uncertainty could not be more challenging. Building on insights from a recent Resource Alliance study on the southern Africa funding environment, Sarah Scarth, the Resource Alliance’s Africa representative and executive consultant with Downes Murray International, explores why and how some organisations are thriving, while others are barely surviving.

Read more: Surviving and Thriving in a Challenging Funding Environment

Trialogue’s annual corporate social investment research also looks at how NPOs are accessing and using corporate funding. In 2017, 61% of NPOs indicated that their income had increased from the previous year.

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Read more: NPO income

Fundraisers ask it, corporate social investment (CSI) practitioners hear it and, after several years of hosting annual conference sessions in which non-profit organisations (NPOs) pitch their projects to a panel of corporate donors, Trialogue has rounded up some of the most consistent feedback to begin to answer the question on what corporate donors look for in fundraising pitches.

Trialogue’s 2018 research into the state of CSI in South Africa found that 78% of companies’ CSI functions proactively identified the projects that they supported; alluding to the increasing ineffectiveness of cold calling and unsolicited emails requesting corporate support. In this competitive funding landscape NPOs must master the art of the ‘elevator pitch’ and find engaging ways to grab – and keep – the attention of potential donors.


Read more: What do corporate donors want?

In 2018, 56% of non-profit organisations (NPOs) surveyed by Trialogue reported having risk management plans in place, while 53% of companies said that it was a prerequisite for NPOs to access funding. These are relatively low rates, despite the vast number of risks that can hinder effective delivery of social impact in the development sector – including logistical challenges, fraud, reputational risk, corruption, arson, war, political obstacles, procurement issues, natural disasters and more. Nozuko Nkumanda of Social Impact Partners shares how social impact organisations and donors can navigate these risks. 

Read more: Risk Management in Development

About Trialogue

Trialogue is one of only a few consultancies in South Africa that focus exclusively on corporate responsibility issues. Over 17 years of experience puts us at the forefront of new developments in sustainability and corporate social investment (CSI).

We are a 51% black-owned company and the southern African Local Authority of the CECP Global Exchange.