Helping Non-Profits Access Philanthropy

What do corporate donors want? 

What do 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...

Adapted from the internationally acclaimed Dragons’ Den television series, Donors’ Den is an interactive session at The Trialogue Business in Society Conference that gives representatives from three carefully selected non-profit organisations the unique opportunity to pitch a project to a panel of donors, and receive detailed feedback, empowering them with expert advice about how to hone their pitching and fundraising skills. In this 2018 video, Steph Prinsloo, the Programme Manager of the Eskom Development Foundation, points out that funding is an investment and funders want to see a return. Millicent Maroga, Head of the Old Mutual Foundation, draws attention to the fact that funding only large NGOs is an unequal practice. Read more: Donors' Den 2018, presented in partnership with Eskom Development Foundation

Risk Management in Development 

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. NozukoNkumanda of Social Impact Partners shares how social impact organisations and donors can navigate these risks.  Read more...

Even though CSI funds are set aside for social impact, they should not be unguarded. 


How Corporates Can Support Philanthropy

Trends in global corporate giving

Giving in Numbers 2019 Edition, by CEO-led coalition Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose, offers a global benchmark of corporate social investments. The report indicates that international giving in on the rise – it grew by 9% in 2018 – and six out of ten companies increased total giving in the past three years. 

Payroll giving

The Payroll Giving South Africa initiative is an ongoing national project placing charities in front of potential corporate sponsors and donors. It is represented through independent trust The Giving Organisation, of which Archbishop Desmond Tutu is patron, and is affiliated to Payroll Giving – an organised forum through which companies and their employees can support worthy causes. Payroll Giving is an easy, effective way for employees to give money to charity, with an agreed amount deducted from an employee’s salary ocellphone account.

Online crowdfunding philanthropy platform, which is funded by Different Life, has introduced ‘Different Payroll Giving’, a programme allowing employees to donate a portion of their pre-tax salary to the charity project of their choice via’s e-wallet. 

Payroll Giving provides non-profit organisations with a sustainable income, making it easier for them to plan, budget, and meet their objectives. Companies will meet their CSI objectives more easily and employees will have a lower taxable income and will receive Section 18A certificates to get tax benefits. Companies can also claim for Socio-Economic Development points on their B-BBEE scorecards

How to Support Non-Profits

The NPO Database

Philanthropists can contact non-profit organisations directly to make donations or contributions. The full list of current registered non-profits can be found on the national NPO Database (in alphabetical order): (

 An overview of NPOs in South Africa 

The South African Constitution, aimed at ensuring the quality of life and potential of all citizens, enshrines the rights to a healthy and protected environment and access to education, land, housing, healthcare, food, water and social security. The non-profit sector plays a crucial role in assisting government to deliver the full spectrum of social support services needed to help realise these rights. (

Types of support for non-profit organisations

There are several ways to support non-profit organisations, including financial support like grants, bequests, loans or equity capital, and non-financial support like donation of goods and services, volunteering and bartering. (

How to select a beneficiary organisation

With so many worthy organisations and causes, it can be difficult to decide which ones to support. Many considerations should inform this decision, including alignment between the funder and recipients objectives. (

Guide to the tax consequences of donating directly to non-profit organisations

This general guide to the tax consequences of giving directly to non-profit organisations provides a brief overview of the topic. It is not intended to be comprehensive – it is important to seek advice applicable to your own circumstances. (

Opinion piece: Giving in support of social justice advocacy 

Professor William Gumedethe Founder and Executive Chairman of the Democracy Works Foundation, asserts that philanthropy is a form of active citizenship that can strengthen democracy, reduce inequalities and promote social cohesion. He believes citizen philanthropy is just as important as corporate giving.

Policy Papers and Research


Policy Papers and Research 

Trialogue tracks local trends in corporate social investment (CSI) against those taking place internationally, comparing South African research with those reported by our global partner, Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP).  The CECP publishes two research reports annually: Giving in Numbers, which compiles data from 250 multi-billion-dollar companies, 90% of which are headquartered in the United States (US), and Giving Around the Globe, which presents high-level data from 86 companies in 17 different countries, including regional results from Africa derived from select companies that participated in Trialogue’s 2018 CSI survey.


Relevant Acts and Policies

South Africa does not have a single piece of legislation pertaining to philanthropy, which is regulated by financial, monetary, taxation and administrative statutes. 

  • Non-profit law in South Africa 

    The legal framework governing non-profit organisations includes legislation pertaining to public benefit activities carried out with altruistic or philanthropic intent. 

  • The South African Non-Profit Sector: Brief Perspective on Current Situation and Developments Since 1994 

    Legal structures available to non-profit organisations are outlined in this article

  • The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act

    BBBEE status is an important factor for NPOs, particularly when engaging government or applying for public and/or private sector funding. Companies can earn BBBEE points by contributing to causes that promote enterprise and supplier development, skills development and socioeconomic development (SED). If a company contributes to these through an NPO, the company will only earn BBBEE points if the NPO complies with the requirements set out in the Codes. BBBEE is governed by the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act and the Codes of Good Practice, which ensure that BBBEE is implemented correctly and sustainably. 

  • Constructing a Developmental and Transformational Philanthropy in Africa Towards a New Regulatory Common Sense

    This report provides a detailed picture of philanthropy in seven African countries – South Africa, Angola, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal. It analyses the political economy of legislation that governs philanthropy on the continent, paying attention to trends and specific country contexts. Philanthropy cuts across the regulatory and policy regimes of the countries analysed. 

  • Global Philanthropy Environment Index

    This Index – formerly known as the Hudson Institute’s Index of Philanthropic Freedom – looks at levels of regulation in philanthropy’s operating environment. It assesses each country’s philanthropic enabling environment on a scale from 1.0 to 5.0. A total of 79 countries and economies across all 11 geographic regions were studied. South Africa’s score is 3.99-3.5. The global average is 3.64. Two-fifths of the countries surveyed have a restrictive philanthropic environment, while about three-fifths are favourable to philanthropy. 


South African Research

  • The Nedbank Private Wealth Giving Report IV 

    This 2019 report by Nedbank Private Wealth is a comprehensive survey of the giving behaviour of high-net-worth individuals in South Africa. The 2019 report looks at research findings from 2018 and shows a number of positive giving trends, including an increase in female givers and giving as a family. 

  • Sizing the Field: Framework for a New Narrative of African Philanthropy

    This 2013 African Grantmakers Network (AGN) report highlights the different types of philanthropic activity in Africa, looking at individuals, communities and organisations. It lays out an overall framework for thinking about these types of philanthropy and offers an analysis of trends in Africa as well as the diaspora. It takes an African-led analytical approach to mapping African philanthropy

  • 2018 Annual Survey of Philanthropy in Higher Education (ASPIHE) in South Africa

    This 2019 report, conducted by EduActive Solutions on behalf of by Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement with financial support from the Kresge Foundationanalyses philanthropic and grant income to South African universities during 2018, as well as the direct costs to universities of attracting this income, excluding marketing, media relations, public relations, events and communications

  • Codes of Good Practice for South African Non-profit Organisations (NPOs)

    Issued in terms of section 6(1)(b)(I) of the Nonprofit Organisations Act, 1997 (At No. 71 of 1997), these Codes of Good Practice clarify what constitutes good practice in leading and managing nonprofit organisations of all sizes across all interest sectors.  

  • Data for a better South African philanthropy

    Data on philanthropygrantmaking and donor funding is in short supply in South Africa. The Foundation Center is attempting to close this gap. 

  • South Africa 2019: An overview of charitable giving in South Africa

    This 2019 report by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) examines the ways in which South Africans give, examining our motivations, habits and preferences. 

  • Middle Class South Africans give away one rand in three to family, community or charity says ground-breaking new research

    Research commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in partnership with CAF Southern Africa (CAFSA), the Aga Khan Foundation, the CS Mott Foundation and the UK National Lottery found that people give away 35% of their monthly income to individuals or charitable organisations. The 2020 report found that giving money was the most common way of supporting charities, with 74% of participants having done so within the past 12 months. The second-most common form of support was giving food or goods in kind (70%) and over half (57%) had volunteered or given time to a charitable organisation. 

  • A nation of givers? Social giving among South Africans

    The Centre for Civil Society, the Southern African Grantmakers’ Association and the National Development Agency partners in a large research project focusing on mobilising resources for poverty and development initiatives from a wide range of sectors. One component of the project was a focus on individual-level giving, which gave rise to this report. 

  • IPASA: Annual Review of South African Philanthropy:Perspectives and Stories of South African Philanthropy 2019

    The Independent Philanthropy Association of South Africa (IPASA) produces a review of South African philanthropy each year. The 2019 edition defines philanthropy, contextualises it within the country, ad examines key points like philanthropy and data, philanthropy and taxation, and countering a culture of impunity in government.

  • South African Giving 2019

    The second edition of this report by CAF Global Alliance provides an overview of civic participation and giving trends in South Africa. Key findings show that two thirds have taken part in at least one civic activity, the most popular cause is helping and poor, and eight in ten people donated money during the year under review. 

  • Surviving and thriving in a challenging funding environment

    The Resource Alliance’s Southern Africa Scoping Project Report (March 2016) presents a range of voices in the social impact sector and offers a comprehensive understanding of the funding environment – the challenges faced, and what is most needed to be successful. 


International Research

  • Global Philanthropy Report: Perspectives on the global foundation sector

    This inaugural report by researchers at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at HarvardUniversity attempts to understand worldwide philanthropic practices and trends, provides comparative analysis across countries and regions, and helps to create an evidence-based discussion on global philanthropy. The report points to the necessity of collaborating in order to scale impact and meet the $7 trillion of annual investment needed to satisfy the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It also indicates that 58% of foundations do not collaborate with other foundations and remains highly fragmented.

  • Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018

    The longest-running, most comprehensive report on charitable giving in the United States, this annual report indicates that Americans give $427.71 billion to charity in 2018.

  • 2018 CAF World Giving Index

    This longitudinal study looks at charitable behaviour around the world and shares insights into the nature of giving and trends in global generosity. It is based on data collected from 2013-2017 and includes results from 146 countries collected throughout 2017. Key findings include the fact that giving has increased in developed countries, the giving gap between continents is closing, and most people around the world reported helping a stranger and volunteering their time in 2017, but the proportion donating money declined for the second year in a row. 

  • The Global Landscape of Philanthropy

    Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS), a network of about 100 philanthropy associations and support organisations in 40 countries, has released a report that examines individual and institutional giving, community philanthropy, collaboration, infrastructure organisations, and how philanthropy supports government and civil society. It gives voice to the diversity of philanthropy practices, recognises and identifies trends and cultural aspects of giving, and highlights challenges facing the sector. 

  • Non-profit Marketplace: Bridging the Information Gap in Philanthropy

    This 2018 paper by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and McKinsey&Company points out that the non-profit marketplace lacks the robust flow of timely, accurate information that a stock exchange has, for example. The sector must therefore capture, analyse, distribute and use information more effectively. Being able to define and measure performance and impact will help non-profits to attract high-net-worth donors and foundations. This paper explains how non-profits can go about this. 

  • Research Brief: The Landscape of Large-Scale Giving by African Philanthropists

    This report, compiled by The Bridgespan Group, was released in June 2020. It examines the emergence of  more structured, formal philanthropy that has evolved on the African continent over the last few decades. 

Read more: Policy Papers and Research


Resources for Philanthropy

Philanthropy is considered a forgotten investment asset – it creates value, but it is often difficult to quantify that value.

There are many different types of philanthropy, each presenting a different approach to giving. The following philanthropy resources should provide you with a range of options, whether you are a philanthropist, a company keen to support philanthropy, or a non-profit organisation looking to access philanthropy.  

Supporting non-profits

Support for non-profit organisations can be divided into two main categories: financial and non-financial support.

Financial support  includes things like bequests, grants, loans and equity capital, where financing is provided by external investors buying shares in a company.  

Financial support provided by funders can be either restricted or unrestricted. Restricted support means that funds provided must be used for a specific purpose or project. Unrestricted funds can be used at the NPOs discretion and are often put towards general operating costs like staff salaries and other overheads.

Non-Financial support involves things like the donation of goods and services, pro bono work, volunteering, and bartering –where services or goods are exchanged without money changing hands. Non-financial support can also include things like supporting the NPO's transition into a social enterprise, which helps to ensure the organisation’s long-term sustainability.

How corporates can support philanthropy

There are many benefits to corporates supporting philanthropy. Not only does this support create a positive image around the business, it allows the organisation to ‘give back’ to the community, while also creating an empathetic workplace that boosts the morale of employees. To this end, many organisations put corporate programmes in place that encourage staff involvement in the form of making donations and volunteering for non-profits.

Examples of corporate programmes include: Matching gifts, where the company matches the amount donated by the employee; Volunteer grants, where the corporate makes a financial donation to match every hour that a staff-member volunteers for a non-profit; Payroll deductions, which allow employees to donate a portion of their pre-tax salary, and Corporate Sponsorship where financial support is provided to a specific non-profit.

Helping non-profits access philanthropy

As a non-profit  it can often be daunting to know how to access corporate philanthropy donors, and what deliverables or resources to highlight when pitching for funding once you have found them.

There are a variety of ways to find corporate donors – some good places to start are with things like canvasing your organisation’s contacts,  putting out a call on your mailing list or social media, and contacting corporates that are active in your sector or local community.

After several years of hosting annual conference sessions in which non-profit organisations 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. 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: Resources