by Nicky RehbockA South African public service organisation has come up with a novel festive season gift concept that will have a lasting effect on the country’s less fortunate children and animals.
The idea is being rolled out through the online Gifts4Good campaign, which offers internet shoppers a range of alternative gifts that support local poverty-busting projects.
Supporters can buy gifts in the name of friends, family, business contacts and colleagues. Once the purchase has been made online, the giver can choose to send the recipient a personalised card explaining how the gift will help change lives in South Africa’s needy communities.
The selection of gifts on offer include seeds for a school food garden, fish for orphaned endangered African penguins at a conservation scheme, books for a community library, a heat lamp to help hatch African penguin eggs, batteries to power a needy child’s hearing aid and horse therapy sessions for disabled youngsters.
Prices range from R50 to R1 000 (US$7 to $142)
Giving with a purpose
The innovative campaign is run by GreaterGood South Africa, a registered trust and non-profit organisation that connects givers with viable causes, and encourages the public to donate responsibly.
A large part of GreaterGood South Africa’s focus is an online social network whereby the public can make contact with and donate to bona fide development organisations of their choice.
The service is easy to use, secure and free of charge.
Through its advisory arm, GreaterCapital, the organisation helps associated non-profit groups improve their sustainability.
GreaterCapital experts assist such groups with research, monitoring and evaluation, developing strategies and managing incoming grants or funding.
Turning inspirations into reality
All options on offer at Gifts4Good have been carefully selected to enable the targeted social development projects to get off the ground. The beneficiaries include:
- The Bulungula Incubator’s education programme located in an impoverished area in the Eastern Cape province. This scheme provides support for local primary schools, an early childhood development centre, a community library, weekly after-school tutoring and two school-based food gardens.
- The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, which needs a new facility to develop local expertise on how to hatch African penguin eggs and hand-rear chicks.
- The Carel du Toit Community Hearing Outreach Project, which offers free screening, hearing aids and other assistive devices to 3 000 affected children in Gauteng province.
- The Amado programme, which provides equine-assisted therapy to children in the Western Cape through individual riding sessions.
GreaterGood South Africa screens each project thoroughly before it is added to the range, to determine its governance, sustainability and real impact on the ground. This ensures that such festive contributions make a tangible difference to those in need, in an accountable and sustainable way.
Extra dose of karma
“We could all use a little extra karma at the moment,” says GreaterGood South Africa’s CEO Dean Hand.
“We live in an increasingly commercialised world where every celebration, tradition or festival seems to be more about what you get, rather than what you give. At GreaterGood South Africa, we call this time of year the ‘giving season’. It’s a chance for us all to give as good as we get, by doing something that really matters.”
Since it began in 2005, Gifts4Good has raised R2.2-million ($312 000) for 26 development projects, ranging from a toy library in rural KwaZulu-Natal to upgrading a kitchen in a home for chronically sick and disabled children in the Western Cape.