Believe it or not: Money also makes the welfare world go round

As a responsible welfare organisation, we are extremely proud of the manner in which we spend every cent that we receive. And we are similarly proud of the fact that we have done everything in our power to facilitate all possible benefits for those who assist us financially – we are registered as a NPO as well as a PBO (Section 18A).

With more than 75 years of experience to our credit, we are in the best possible position to judge what is needed by whom – both with regard to our association and our clients. In return for the trust placed in us by donors, we subscribe to a policy of complete transparency and proudly record all our actions for anyone to scrutinise.

We too have to pay our bills

We dislike asking for money, but we boldly do so, because we are here to serve and know the difference we make in people’s lives. Our greatest need is money, primarily because of the following:

  • most of the services we provide necessitate the employment of skilled professionals (social workers and care givers);
  • we operate predominantly in previously disadvantaged communities, and most of our clients are in the low to zero income bracket which makes it impossible for them to pay market-related rates for our services;
  • providing a door-to-door service in a vast area results in very high travelling and communication costs (the advent of cell phones in the poorest areas has definitely facilitated communication in these areas, but has had a dramatic impact on our budgets);
  • neither government nor the Lotto provides all the money needed to sustain the welfare sector; and
  • our overheads are exactly the same as yours (municipal services, insurance, telephones, petrol, etc), yet very few funders are prepared to assist in this regard.

We know that donors are loathe to give money, especially for operating costs. We know that this could be open to abuse, but, at the same time, we do feel that organisations should be judged on merit; that reputable organisations which have proven themselves over an extended period of time, should not be discriminated against.

Donors’ demands cost money

It is difficult to understand how government and private sector can have such a great expectations of the welfare sector to meet the incredible social need in this country, without attaching any value to the professionals who have to render these services or the tools they need to do the work.

Everybody insists that welfare organisations operate professionally – they must have a strong governing body, qualified management team, a five year strategic plan, business plans, goals, objectives, sound financial management, audited financial statements, regular reports on activities, professional employees, fundraising capacity, awareness campaigns; they must heal, educate, train, uplift, get community involvement, empower, create jobs, serve a worthy cause and, last but not least, not only be prepared to render their services at a rate much lower than that of private sector, but be prepared to work for no salary at all.

Our work is crucial to the well-being of the country

The welfare sector’s work is crucial to the well-being of the country as a whole – government benefits because it is saving them hundreds of millions of rands per annum and both public and private sector get massive financial benefits, as we make a valuable contribution in ensuring that this is a good country to holiday or invest in.

Imagine, just for a moment, the state this country would be in if all welfare organisations went on strike or closed their doors. The thousands of people employed by our sector would join the ranks of the unemployed, and the hundreds of thousands of people we help would become the burden of the State. Without the welfare sector, the world would be a much, much unhappier place…

We can only hope that you, as a responsible South African who cares about this country and its people, can appreciate the work that we do enough to give us some financial support.