South Africa: Philanthropy and Civil Society in SA, Part Three - We Need a New Governance Blueprint


We need to clean up our act internally. Any transgression or lack of clean, ethical, rule-bound governance will be used to taint and discredit the work of the entire sector.

In Part One of a three-part series, I reflected on the need for transformation along racial, gender and sexual orientation lines in the not-for-profit sector. In Part Two I reflected on the need for an accelerated attempt to fund social justice work in the long term, using local wealth and strategies. In part three, I argue for the rapid transformation of our governance practices. The principles I set out below apply equally to both elected and non-elected structures including all the variations of not-for-profit governing structures (such as boards and trusts).

The less visible sway factors

In the funding world, one of the biggest influences on the outcome of any funding application is the ability of an organisation to show that it has due governance and independent financial oversight mechanisms; this is part of the due diligence assessment of donors and funders. Because donors and funders themselves cannot and should not be governing the organisations they fund, they look to a body that they can trust.

I cannot overemphasise that...

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