Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement has launched a new web portal as part of our efforts to help nonprofits and key institutions raise much needed funds and support. The www.askinaythelo.org.za site is designed to give civil society organisations, universities, libraries and museums free access to world-class resources and intelligence on Advancement and fundraising, tailored specifically to the South African context. It will also provide a platform for these non-profits to share best practice as well as practical tips, tools, articles, videos, case studies and research on building financially sustainable institutions and organisations.
Inyathelo Programme Manager Nazli Abrahams says it is critical that South African civil institutions and society become better at generating and securing funds if they want to survive. “Government funding for higher education has deteriorated to such an extent that most institutions are now “state assisted” or “state affiliated” rather than “state funded”. South Africa is also now regarded as a middle-income country and international funding is being channelled elsewhere. Already, many of our non profits have been forced to dramatically scale down their work or close their doors. We urgently need to develop and improve our capacity to raise funds and ensure the long-term sustainability of our once vibrant civil society,” insists Abrahams.
Established nearly a decade ago, Inyathelo is now an internationally-recognised Advancement institution that has developed and refined the practice of grant-seeking and grant-making in a South African context. Abrahams says the word Inyathelo means ‘advancement’ in isiXhosa. Advancement is not just a euphemism for fundraising. It’s about building, maintaining and improving support, skills and funds for projects, NGOs or institutions. Advancement is about finding common cause with those who have similar values and aspirations and those who want to give their time, talent and financial resources to worthy organisations and institutions. And then it’s about how that cause can be advanced to yield tangible, sustainable improvements and practically realisecommon goals.
The information and resources on the ASK Inyathelo web portal have been categorised according to Inyathelo’s ten “building blocks” of Advancement – namely governance structures and practices; strategy and planning; leadership; human capacity; external relationships; voice; visibility; fundraising tools; financial management; and monitoring and evaluation. Visitors to the site will be able to access all the resources for free and will be able to comment on material and engage with Inyathelo by sending comments or messaging via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. There will also be monthly polls to take the temperature of the sector; latest national and international news relating to the practice of Advancement as well as advice from Advancement practitioners about everything from proposal writing to managing your social media.
Abrahams insists the web portal is not just for advancement or fundraising professionals but is also relevant to academics, administrators, project and programme managers, librarians and curators – basically anyone who is involved in trying to build financially sustainable institutions. “Generating funds and support requires investment and expertise. Those willing to put their hands in their pockets and pull out a six-figure sums expect time and money to be spent on them. You need to build the capacity and skills within your institution to mobilise new resources. We believe our web portal is a great place to start. Fundraising can no longer be seen as a pastime or a luxury you can’t afford. Adequate resources, energy and expertise need to be dedicated to the task if you want to survive,” says Abrahams.
Programme Manager | Inyathelo - The South African Institute for Advancement