It’s no secret that the South African economy is struggling. Earlier this month, we officially entered a recession, after two quarters of negative growth.
And now, the Coronavirus pandemic has added to the complexity, sending our stock market and currency plunging. Businesses are closing their doors and sending their workers home. It’s an unsettling, uncertain world out there. This is not good news for South Africa’s non-profit organisations (NPOs), who provide critical services to millions of people in areas like health, education and poverty alleviation. For many of them, they rely heavily on the financial contributions of businesses to keep their doors open – and with many businesses being forced to cut back on their social impact spend during these tough times, their sustainability and impact will suffer even further. When NPOs close or scale back their activities because of a lack of funding, it’s our most vulnerable communities that suffer: women, children, the elderly, the infirm. And now, with children having to stay home from school, and parents losing income by not being able to work as a result of Coronavirus prevention measures, the demand for the support provided by our NPO community is going to grow exponentially. My simple message today is this: it’s time for us, as South Africans, to mobilise as citizens. Right now, South Africa’s most vulnerable people need every bit of support they can get. It’s perfectly understandable that we want to focus on our own survival – but it’s vital that all of us, businesses and individuals alike, stand together, and make any contribution we can to get our nation through this crisis for companies, staying committed to corporate social investment (CSI) and social impact programmes may not seem to make sense in the short term, but now is the time for South African businesses to take a long-term view. As individuals, now is the time to make a difference by supporting the people who work in our homes – the domestic workers, the gardeners – by suggesting paid time off. If that’s not possible, we can take measures to minimise exposure by providing private transport to and from work.
If you want to go one step further, and make a difference to South Africa’s most marginalised communities, you can donate funds through the Nation Builder Back-a-Buddy campaign or the Nation Builder account, to an emergency fund set up to support NPOs who have lost significant funding, or need additional funding, in this time of increased need. The Mergon Group, of which Nation Builder forms part, has already pledged R5 000 000 to this emergency fund and encouraged all South African businesses and individuals to follow suit. They say it’s during the tough times that people’s real character emerges. For every company, and every South African, who has said they want to make a difference, now is the time to put words into action. Let us show that our values are truly something we believe in and live every day.
We take hope from the fact that, despite the tough economic landscape, South African people and businesses are generous. While the reality of our subdued economy will continue to influence the social investment spend of business and corporates, we’re convinced that if we all truly commit ourselves to our country through financial contribution or volunteer work, the results will be transformational.
Nation Builder Trust Banking details are:
Nation Builder Trust
First National Bank
Cheque Account number: 62820343557
Branch code: 204-109
More about Nation Builder:
Nation Builder inspires and equips businesses to lead in social change. The team collaborates across sectors to co-create resources that assist businesses in their social development work. Nation Builder hosts regular events that bring together people who are committed to using their business as a force for good. Nation Builder is a Mergon initiative. Contact Nation Builder for more information. www.proudnationbuilder.co.za Join the Nation Builder conversation on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.