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ESG & Sustainability Trends

#BizTrends2019: Quick hit trends and the problem with competing giving behaviours

The social impact space is buzzing. Social entrepreneurship is the next "rock star" career, there's more investment flowing into social ventures, more pitching competitions and more attention to the wonderful philosophy of making money and solving development challenges - at the same time.
Andy Hadfield, CEO,
Andy Hadfield, CEO,

In the last year at (South Africa’s largest volunteering platform), we’ve seen the following micro-trends playing out:

  • Corporate employee volunteering is growing – more than 17,000 staff are now registered on various forgood employee volunteering platforms.
  • Corporates still prefer tried-and-trusted volunteering events to more individualised, personalised volunteering interventions. We think this will change.
  • Causes (nonprofits) are starting to embrace technology on a broader scale, increasingly leveraging Google Grants, social media and crowdsourcing skills to plug gaps in their organisations. Our favourite example is one volunteer on forgood who has built more than 25 websites for 25 different causes!
  • The rise of the social enterprise. Increasingly, causes are trying to lower reliance on donor/grant funding by creating sellable products and services, including launching for-profit arms.
  • B-BBEE is changing – recent construction industry codes put more of an emphasis on building actual infrastructure in order to get SED points, a strong move away from companies just writing 18A tax-friendly cheques…

Yet it still feels like South Africa is behind the curve of “developed” world giving behaviours. The money donation market is tiny. The volunteering market is in its infancy. Workplace giving programmes are fragmented at best, non-existent at worst. Why? If anything, this feels like low-hanging fruit in a country like ours.

At forgood, we’ve been playing with a theory for a while now: the effect of competing giving opportunities on giving behaviour. Like many challenges, these are often quite unique to our country.

When you think about giving, there’s a lot going on.

  • Extended-family giving (black tax). While I’m completely unqualified to talk about this – giving within family units constitutes a very real flow of money in South Africa. 
  • Community giving (stokvels and community support). Both formal and informal community giving programmes can take a fair chunk of your monthly income. 
  • Faith-based giving. Tithing and church donations are right up there as mainstream giving behaviours in South Africa. 
  • Socio-economic giving. For the privileged few, a lot of giving occurs within the scope of employment. Domestic helpers and gardeners are often the target of giving attempts (sometimes whether they like it or not). 
  • Traffic light tax. South Africa is a very unequal society, so from informal parking guards to real victims of poverty that hang out at many major road intersections, the opportunity to give is never far from sight, never out of mind.

With all that competing for attention, doesn’t it feel like there’s very little time for skills-based volunteering into the non-profit sector?

We are seeing a change. We are seeing growth - as South Africans start to learn how powerful volunteering can be. It’s a slow, but rewarding process. Watch it continue in 2019.

About Andy Hadfield

Andy Hadfield is the CEO of volunteering platform and CSI management tool forgood. He launched his first startup aged 19 before going on to hone his skills in a number of tech ventures, sales apps and one of the first digital engagement programmes in the country, The Deloitte Way. In 2015, he joined forgood, heading up the team that are rolling out the most advanced large-scale employee volunteering and CSI management tool in the country.
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