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How Start-up Charities in South Africa Can Beat the Odds

South Africa’s funding landscape presents treacherous waters to travel for any non-profit organisation and if start-up charities and social entrepreneurship initiatives are to succeed they will have to adopt the right thinking tools and develop robust strategic frameworks.

Ashley Visagie

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The future of South Africa hinges on the successful partnership between government, the private sector as well as the social sectors.

Government alone does not have the human resources and grassroots level expertise to actualise the plans and policies desperately needed to launch South Africa forward.

The social sector is rich with human capacity and talent that is motivated by a desire to simply do good and make a better South Africa not just a possibility but a reality for all.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Mark Pilgrim On Authenticity In Business

The challenge is that the present funding landscape and the inability of fledgling charities (start-ups) to effectively fundraise for their causes is crippling initiatives which could lead to solutions in overhauling education, fighting crime, reducing severe poverty and increasing the life expectancy and quality of life for South Africans.

Pro-active BB-BEE policies as well as Section 18A tax deductions have created an environment where on the one hand, funds are flowing to the social sector but on the other hand a great deal of irregularity and perhaps even irrationality has creeped into the funding environment.

Non-profits find themselves in a situation where funding is “here today and gone tomorrow” as the private sector directs funds to flavour of the month (perhaps the financial year) charities.

While there are many well run CSI campaigns, there are also many CSI teams that are concerned primarily with scorecard points or tax-deductions, this kind of psychology of giving does not help the social sector.

What are non-profits to do in today’s funding environment?

1. Scale down in order to scale up

Our biggest social issues can only be solved by taking creative and innovative solutions and scaling them up.

In order to scale-up it is necessary to have a model that can be replicated and one that is robust enough to be adapted to the diverse contexts unique to South Africa.

Non-profits should aim to trim down on services or projects which are not suited to their skill sets or that are not part of their core aims, doing this will assist in creating well-crafted models that are scaleable.

2. Create social impact value for donors

We all hope for an environment where giving is in abundance, the reality though, is that there are several charities competing for parts of the same funding pie (145 945 registered charities according to www.npo.gov.za).

In order to stand out non-profits should focus on delivering measurable social impact value. The only way to do this is to become data-driven, design key performance indicators and to monitor and evaluate these on a regular basis.

In the case of the non-profit sector KPIs may be: Attendance figures, literacy results, number of crimes reported etc. Donors want to know that there money is buying some kind of social impact.

3. Build relationships not bank accounts

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Too much of the way in which charities relate to donors are transactional and based on the next donation. Non-profits need to shift this kind of thinking and begin to see themselves engaged in a partner relationship.

They need to talk about what is working and what is not working with potential donors, be honest about lessons learned and be bold enough to admit when funds need to be redirected or reallocated in a way which will create greater social impact.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 6 Leadership Lessons From Bill Gates on His 60th Birthday

Developing this kind of relationship with supporters lays the foundation for long term investment rather than once-off donations.

Inherent in the idea of the start-up business is the element of risk. Investors are taking a chance on an idea that they hope will generate financial returns and eventually be able to be taken to scale.

We should not treat the social sector much differently from this, new non-profit start-ups are a very necessary part of a healthy country, and it represents the continuous application of new knowledge in designing and experimenting with innovative solutions to social problems.

The charity like the business holds some kind of inherent risk in that it might not produce just the social impact we hope for, on the other hand it also holds the potential to generate tangible social returns and to be scaled in a way that can radically change South Africa.

Ashley Visagie is the Executive Director of Bottomup, a non-profit providing education enrichment services to under-resourced schools on the Cape Flats. Ashley has a keen interest in future studies, education and gaming.

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How to Guides

(Podcast) Phone Calls Often Solve Email Problems

Irate customers can become your most ardent supporters, but it’s important to treat your clients like people. People like people, and phone calls are more personal than emails.

Nicholas Haralambous

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Emails solve problems – but they also create them. When a real problem arises in your business, is an email the best way to solve it, or should you pick up the phone and give your customer a more personal experience?

Irate customers can become your most ardent supporters, but it’s important to treat your clients like people. People like people, and phone calls are more personal than emails.

Listening time: 3 minutes

Related: (Podcast) Being An Entrepreneur Is Painful

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Company Posts

Why Choose ISO 90012015 As A Starting Point For Your Business

Implementing all elements of the standard can help your business, but what parts of the ISO 9001:2015 standard in particular should prove to be of most beneficial for yours? We’ve listed a few below.

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Ask for any Entrepreneur’s to-do-list, ISO Implementation and certification may not always be at the top of it. Businesses are constantly faced with financial, operational and socio-economic pressures, while business owners must make decisions on projects related to “cost vs the benefits”. But here’s why ISO 9001:2015 is a reasonable investment.

If your businesses is certified under ISO 9001:2008 you had three years to transition to ISO 9001:2015, if you don’t transition, your certification will become redundant. The three‑year period started on the date the new standard was published in September 2015. Don’t wait, your Day 1 of 365 days starts now.

Related: How ISO Certification Can Help You Access Market Tenders

Implementing all elements of the standard can help your business, but what parts of the ISO 9001:2015 standard in particular should prove to be of most beneficial for yours? We’ve listed a few below. It may also protect your business (against big business)

How can ISO 9001 make the difference for my business?

Start by viewing the costs as an investment that allows you to better assure your clients, improve your productivity and raise your ability to compete.

Your certification to the standard, can attract reputational benefits and establish a ticket to levels of business that non-certified companies certainly cannot obtain. This may be the most practical time to implement ISO 9001 for your business.

As the full process can take up to 6 months, you need time to plan and execute your transition to the new standard and it will require work, commitment and changes to the habit of doing things.

This is why it’s vital to begin early and hire consultants with a 100% certification record with any SANAS (South African National Accreditation System) or International Accreditation Body. It gives the guarantee and expertise you need.

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Your 6 steps to getting ready for ISO 9001:2015

1Establish Processes

  • Documenting and Implementing processes in your business can yield great benefits as your business grows. Setting common processes in the beginning will result in consistency in the products and services, this sets a sound foundation for expansion and future growth.
  • Save time, cost, and ensure delivery. This takes place when you have new employees and point them to processes that are well established and well documented.
  • It allows your staff to feel confident in doing their job, knowing there is a process to follow and with the help of the Document Control Process, you can always re-engineer the process to adapt to change, this results in Continual Improvement.

2Formulate PDCA cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act)

  • The fundamental basis of the ISO 9001 standard is based on Edward Deming’s PDCA Model. If implemented effectively it can benefit any type of business however large or small you are, it’s practical. The Method is also used by fighter pilots.
  • You build a culture of “careful planning, monitoring, and adjustment of actions” this speaks volumes to your employees, and your clients benefit in return.

3Increase your sales by using ISO 9001

  • By using valuable customer feedback, you build up information to monitor and review your client’s perception of your products and services, this feeds into a corrective action process, which results in a continual improvement to create relationships with existing clients and attracting new clients.
  • Most Tender Requirements from Government, Local and International Companies require ISO 9001 as a qualifier to their procurement process. This gives them the assurance that a Third Party Auditor is auditing an effective Quality Management System aligned to International Standard that has effective process control and will measure client satisfaction.

4Develop an attentive mindset to risk and opportunities

  • Risk and opportunities is the latest introduction to the ISO 9001:2015. This allows businesses to identify potential and current risks in their process and mitigate them before it’s too late, the fundamentals of a successful business.
  • By cultivating a culture where your team have a sharp eye for risk and opportunities will serve your business well.
  • Profits will be maximised while risks are spotted early and can be minimised.

5Take control of change management

  • As the saying goes, “Change is the only constant in the 21st century”. The inability to handle change and adapt accordingly is one of the main reasons that many businesses do not survive through the first two years of existence.

Related: 7 Steps To Achieving Our Higher-Level Goals

6Setting goals and objectives

  • Goals and objectives are key fundamentals of the ISO 9001:2015 standard, these are tools to assist in attaining your companies Vision.
  • When you get into the habit of setting, reviewing, and taking action against objectives, the end results is growth and driving improvement.

It is clear that implementing ISO 9001 can take your business to the next level that benefits startups to established corporates. We stress again the vital importance to begin early and hire consultants with a 100% certification record with any SANAS (South African National Accreditation System) or International Accreditation Body.

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How ISO Certification Can Help You Access Market Tenders

Want to leap-frog your competitors by building your business credibility?

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ISO Certification

2017 has been a challenging year thus far. A decline in exports, slower growth in private consumption and fixed investment has caused the economy to contract in Q1 and enter into its second technical recession since 2009. This means that it is now more crucial than ever to break away from your competition to survive in this economy.

The question we as businesses are all asking, is how can we become more competitive during these tough times?

The answer is ISO Management systems and certification.  The implementation process allows organisations to streamline their processes and benchmark to international standards that have worked for the likes of Toyota, Coca Cola, MTN SA and many more.

The ISO Certification gives your clients the national and international credibility that they are looking for, in you as a business.

What are ISO Standards?

ISO is not an acronym, it is derived from the Greek word ISOS, which means equal and is interpreted as The International Organization for Standardization, which comprises of various National Standards being superimposed into one International Standard. There are approximately 21500 ISO Standards, from Quality, Health and Safety, Information Security, Environmental, Energy and many more. (The International Organization for Standardization)

The ISO standards set a precedence for companies to create a Management System which comprises of Policies, Objectives, Processes, Risk Assessments and Procedures with the aim of being able to provide a consistent service.

The standards requirements can assist a one-man tuck shop to large corporates such as Google.

Think about it this way, when you buy a house, does your insurance company grant you a policy without an Electrical Certificate of Compliance? Do you buy a brand new laptop, mobile device or any other electrical device without a warranty or guarantee? Will you send your child to a hospital that does not have standards in place? Will you buy vegetables that have not undergone the necessary food safety controls?

We, as consumers, have all become cautious, hence the birth of ISO Certification. An independent body (Watchdog) such as the SABS, BSI, TUV, and Bureau Veritas conduct regular audits against your processes and the International Standard to create the assurance you are looking. How ISO Standards And Quality Management affects SMMEs

That is why your company must invest the time and money to implement the value adding systems with the right consultant. This in turn will provide your current and potential clients the assurance that you have the relevant processes in place to deliver what is required and will provide you with the competitive edge. You are not too small to become ISO certified.

Where do I start if I want to become ISO Certified?

where-do-i-start-if-i-want-to-become-iso-certified

ISO Management systems work on a four-phase approach to develop, implement, train and assist organisations through certification.

The following will give you an overview of how the process works:

Phase 1: GAP analysis & Identification of processes

  • GAP Analysis Audit on the choice of your ISO Standard
  • All Staff to undergo awareness training on the ISO Standard (Requirements)
  • Analyse & identify current systems (Policies, Objectives, Risks, Processes and Procedures) within the company and gather information.

Phase 2:  ISO Management System Development

  • ISO Management systems manual (Policies, Objectives and Mandatory Procedures)
  • Process documentation and Standard Operating Procedures
  • Risk assessments and tools to assist in Monitoring, Measuring and Analysing. 

Phase 3: Implementation

  • Coaching and change management of Top Management and attaining Leadership Values.
  • On the job training with all staff and workshops on the ISO Management Systems
  • Internal Auditor & Maintenance Training
  • Internal Audit, non-conformances, corrective actions and reviewing of risks
  • Management Review Meeting and Review of all Statistical Analysis.

Phase 4: Certification

  • Stage 1 Desk Study Audit with the Certification Body
  • Stage 2 Certification Audit, Non-conformances and Corrective Actions completed
  • Annual Surveillance Audits to justify continuous improvement.

ISO standards aren’t rigid rules, but rather a set of generic requirements and guidelines to what we as a business should be following.

It’s the basics of business, we tend to overlook the basics and focus on profits, which jeopardies our quality and service.

Your clients are becoming more advanced, better informed and their expectations are growing. Having ISO Management Systems provides organisations with the competitive edge over their competition, by gaining National/International recognition.

In fact, any organisation, whatever their size or industry sector can give themselves a secure future by introducing ISO Management Systems. Remember to look for management systems that can guarantee 100% certification with any certification body such as SABS, TUV, BSI, Bureau Veritas, DEKRA etc.

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