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Tips For Getting Involved In Philanthropy

  • 4 min read

This Youth Month (#YouthMonth2021 #LimitlessYouth), not-for-profit organisation Inyathelo is encouraging young people to realise that they have  the ability to participate actively in building a better society.

Learners can contribute to their communities by bringing fresh energy and ideas to volunteering and fundraising, in turn developing self-esteem and the power to direct their futures. They can also become positive role models for other youth.

“Volunteering and fund-raising are not only for adults,” says Soraya Joonas, Finance Director of Inyathelo, which has nearly 20 years of experience in supporting philanthropy and non-profit organisations. “Giving back can open young people’s eyes to social challenges and encourage them to learn, gain experience and grow as individuals.”

Inyathelo offers ten tips for learners who are interested  in making a difference:

  1. Work as a team: You can  have more fun and achieve more as a team than working alone. Everyone has different strengths, so take on a role that interests you and which you feel confident in. Key roles are the chairperson to run meetings and projects,  secretary to keep records, treasurer responsible for finances, and public relations officer to make sure that other people know what you are doing.
  2. Get school support: The backing ofyour school principal and a committed teacherwill help towards a project’s success. You are also more likely to have access to school facilities and equipment.
  3. Identify community needs: Ask groups and individuals about the problems that they experience and possible solutions. Make a list of issues and topics and use them to prepare a questionnaire.
  4. Analyse your capacity: Findout what resourcesare availablein your group,and which ones you still require,  in order to meet community needs.
  5. Evaluate beneficiary organisations: Identify several organisations in your community and develop a clear set of criteria so that you select the organisation you feel most comfortable supporting. The best way to do this is to visit organisations and interview the managers. Find out about the work they do, who else supports them, how many people they provide services to, and how they manage their money.
  6. Develop a fundraising plan: The key to success is getting support from other learners, teachers, parents, businesses and community members. Brainstorm concepts that will offer a service, product or experience that people will pay for and enjoy, while contributing to a worthwhile cause.
  7. Draw up a budget: You need to make as much money as possible, while spending as little as possible. Ask people to volunteer their time and skills, and to donate goods, to avoid spending money.
  8. Manage money: Keep records to prove that the money you raise is used as intended. This openness and  transparency will help you to build a relationship with your funders, and increase your chances of receiving further funding.
  9. Communicate your plans: Engage throughsocial mediathe school notice board, flyers and pamphlets, school magazines, community newspapers and radio stations.
  10. Engage with donors:  Be respectful, keep donors updated on your progress, let funders know what you have achieved with the money they gave you, and always say thank you.

To access more tips and guidelines, Inyathelo has  a comprehensive publication, The Youth Philanthropy Action Guide. Download itfree from the Inyathelo website.

The guide is packed with practical advice on the fundraising, administrative and event management work that is essential for a well-run philanthropic project. School learners can use the notes, templates and support information to raise funds,  while teachers can apply the information in life orientation lessons and assessments.

“Young people often feel helpless in the face of negative issues,” says Ms Joonas. “Disrupted learning and social distancing due to Covid-19  have exacerbated the situation. It’s been particularly hard for learners in under-resourced communities where many do not have money for data, nor help with home schooling.

“Over the years, however, we’ve seen how empowering it is for a learner to realise that he or she can contribute to the wellbeing of others. Volunteering or fundraising can be a profound experience that helps to develop talent and build positivity.”

Inyathelo held annual Philanthropy Awards from 2007-2016, to raise awareness about the topic and to acknowledge those making a difference. These included a  Youth in Philanthropy award.

The youngest recipient was eight-year-old Afeefah Patel, in 2013, who  helped initiate a national anti-rhino poaching campaign. Tyrone Aaron, the 2015 recipient, began playing the piano at the age of six. At the age of nine, Tyrone heard about the possible closure of a home for people with intellectual disabilities. He asked his mother to organise a concert which raised R30 000. Tyrone also raised over R45 000 for the Sabi Sands Conservation Trust and Rhino SA.

Inyathelo, established in 2002, works to o sustain and strengthen civil society organisations and grow local giving in support of a vibrant democracy in South Africa. See more on, Facebook and follow on Twitter.