There are companies that want to give to charitable causes, and there are causes that need charitable giving. But in a sea of differing needs and interests, how do they find each other? Enter the brilliance behind GreaterGood South Africa. This resource, where “givers and causes [connect] online for the greater good of South Africa” is a hub for news, reports, calls to action, and relationship-building between civil society organizations and potential supporters. GreaterGood SA’s services are supported by the consulting work of GreaterCapital, a social enterprise that provides strategic impact investment advice and opportunities.
We caught up with Roxy Mitchell, Head of Marketing, at GreaterGood SA to learn more.
ConceptLink: What do you feel is GreaterGood SA’s best value-add to the CSI sector in South Africa?
RM: I think our strongest value-add is our ability to work on both sides of the social development equation – that of investor and beneficiary. Our site myggsa.co.za, for example, is an innovative online community where givers can connect with causes that matter to them. At gifts4good.co.za, supporters can “buy” a gift for a friend and support a development project at the same time. On the other end of the spectrum, thefundingsite.co.za is a great network for civil society organizations to find resources and support.
ConceptLink: What aspect of GreaterGood SA do you get most excited about?
RM: I get excited when connections work. It’s very encouraging when a giver connects with one of our member organizations through, say, volunteering and then continues to build a more meaningful and sustainable relationship with the social organization by garnering support from their company. In terms of social investment, I am excited when corporations take a strategic and long term view to social investment and truly embrace the principles of sustainability in their planning and strategy. Establishing those relationships is what our network is all about.
ConceptLink: As a leader in the social investment field, where do you see the industry heading in the near future? Any major trends?
RM: We are seeing a proliferation of online giving communities and explosion of social media, meaning the giving market will fragment. This is going to put further administrative burden on civil society to ‘chase’ online giving, but GreaterGood SA is in an excellent position to face this trend as the most trusted online giving marketplace and non-profit information and resources hub in South Africa.
We also notice CSI moving towards more sustainable strategies and investing in real enterprise development opportunities that feed back into the corporate supply chain. There’s a massive trend towards social enterprise: using capitalist market models to solve social issues while still generating a profit. Overall, the trend is about sustainable models and less about straight charity.
ConceptLink: How is GreaterGood SA gearing up for those trends?
RM: One way we are gearing up for these trends is by consulting on the development of corporate citizenship policy. Traditionally many companies have looked at their social investment into communities in isolation of other interventions, but we want to encourage a more integrated approach to corporate responsibility – a move from CSI to corporate shared value (CSV). CSV is much more integral to the company’s competitive position and profitability because it leverages the unique resources and expertise of the company to create economic value through the creation of social value. These business drivers already start speaking “business language” and will assist in CSI claiming the limelight that it deserves on any corporate agenda.
We’re also tackling the issue of enterprise development, which is notoriously challenging in South Africa. Companies in S.A. are legislated by Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment policy (B-BBEE), which aims to accelerate transformation and socio-economic equality in the country. B-BBEE has created more demand for B-BBEE projects and knowledge around how to set them up and integrate them back into the company supply chain, so that the projects have a guaranteed market. Through the South African Social Investment Exchange (SASIX), South Africa’s first online social investment stock exchange, we’re giving anyone the opportunity to invest in both social and enterprise development projects that have already been pre-screened for measurable social impact. GreaterCapital is looking to source more of Enterprise Development projects to list onto SASIX and meet our clients demand.
Another area we are addressing is impact investment through the South African Network for Impact Investing. This project came as a result of the news that South Africa lags behind in the use of Socially Responsible Investments (SRI) for pension fund portfolios. The SAII platform raises awareness about blended returns – funds that generate both financial and social return. We’re hoping it encourages stakeholders in the sector to have constructive and results-driven conversations about impact investment in South Africa.
The last project I wanted to highlight is our Guide to Finance for Social Enterprises in South Africa, compiled in partnership with the International Labour Organization. We based it on extensive interviews with social organizations in South Africa, asking them what finance issues they faced and where the information gaps existed in the industry and trying to fill them.
For more information about GreaterGood SA, see their site at www.myggsa.co.za or contact Roxy Mitchell at email@example.com or +27 21 762 7944.
Photo credit: leadsa.co.za