March Newsletter – From The Chief Editor

Hi there,

Have you ever had so much to say, you did not know where to start?  So much is happening in the CSI industry during this transitional time between hard lockdowns and ‘normal life’, one hardly knows where to start. 

Our many sessions with CEOs and CSI managers have helped to crystalise the direction in which the industry is headed and the key points for CSI that are emerging now.  Through these sessions I get to consolidate the various visions, ideas and concepts of leading CSI players into one industry ‘bird’s eye view’, giving me and my team a unique  picture of where, in practical terms, CSI South Africa is at.

(With that said, doesn’t it almost feel like we are just starting the year? Most company and organisational strategies are only just getting approved.  Lockdowns truly put the brakes on how we do things … but I suspect all that is changing.)

One of the great strengths of our approach at Corporate Social Responsibility News South Africa (CSRNEWSSA) is that we’re current, pragmatic, relevant.  We seek to inform, guide, inspire and challenge real CSI and NGO practitioners on the ground. Our down-to-earth approach has been remarked on by a number of CSI roleplayers, including a university which has expressed an interest in working with us on aspects of CSI. This is a testimony to the fact that academia, captains of industry, practitioners, scholars and others are noticing what we do – and that it is of practical help.

Recently, a leading consultant I spoke to was honest enough to say, ‘Simphiwe, I am scared – I don’t know what to do!’  What they did not know was that, at that time, I was just as scared, or shall we say, uncertain. What should CSI be doing now? Where does the focus need to lie?  We’re all dealing with the same questions, seeking to find our footing in what people call the ‘new normal’.  

What is the new normal?  We will answer this and more soon.

What we can say now is that all uncertainty is gone; we see where we are headed, what role we play and who in the industry is doing what. 

A leading CSI manager said to me the other day,  ‘Simphiwe your ability to realise what is going to work and what is not is a skill many lack.’ High praise indeed.  We are not able to do this because we know better; we’re able to do this because we partner with you, and the various organisations that inspire us to search for possibilities where impossibilities have made their bed. 

Our team of journalists and editors has been hard at work to bring you the best of the best to help you shape your vision, test your theories and evaluate your results.  And this is just the beginning.

So what lies ahead for us in CSI? We’ll be putting out a new podcast soon entitled,  ‘Ushering in the new normal’, designed to give NGOs tips on working with funders to secure the best possible outcomes; and for CSI managers, tips on who in the industry is doing what and the theories and strategies that are working.

In addition, look forward to the following:

  1. We’ve partnered with Indalo Inclusive, an exciting, young and vibrant organisation doing great things in the space of the green economy, climate change and entrepreneurship.  Funded by the Government of Flanders, Indalo Inclusive will be hosting a symposium on 23 – 25 March. The symposium will be attended by a number of leading executives including the Minister of Environmental Affairs. Click here to join the symposium with Indalo Inclusive, the Government of Flanders and a host of innovative young entrepreneurs contributing to the green economy.
  • We’re partnering with Nation Builder, who are offering an exciting free event in which they present their guidelines for Impact Management Reporting. Learn how to use data through compelling storytelling and visual imagery to bring your impact reporting to life. It won’t take much of your time!  Click here to join the free seminar on 25 March 2021 – it’s from 10:00 – 11:30am.

  • In an upcoming podcast we will be interviewing Setlogane Manchidi on his book on Corporate Social Responsibility, questioning how Covid-19 has affected CSI.  We’ll also be interviewing Charlene Lackay, group CSI Manager at MMI Holdings, on changes in CSI over the last twelve months – and what you can do about these changes.
  • Personally, I am working on an exciting piece that looks at CSI in South Africa and what most companies are dealing with, based on interviews with CSI managers. Expect something slightly off the wall – it’s entitled, ‘If Shaka Zulu were a CSI manager, what would he do?’

  • As most of you know, our Leadership Bench initiative is now well underway with organisations such as Momentum Metropolitan, Old Mutual, African Bank, Afrika Tikkun, Nation Builder and Tomorrow Trust all participating.  These amazing organisations have given their time to share with and guide CSI South Africa out of their current quagmires. The goal of the Leadership Bench series is to help NGOs, NPOs, corporates and consultants find their true north in the midst of uncertainty, and of course to ‘make better decisions’ – our theme for the year.

    Want to participate? Download Leadership Bench info here – (click me).

  • We have almost completed work on our latest, education-themed issue of CSI Matter, our print publication. We’ve interviewed five vice-chancellors (click me)from our leading universities and address quite a number of pressing educational issues.  Partners include Investec, Old Mutual, and others.

    To participate or learn more, click here.

  • Coming Soon
    Who is Funding Who?
    We are excited to introduce our Who is Funding Who? feature listing both local funders and international organisations.  Look out for more on that in coming weeks. 

    In a post Covid-19 world, we all need as much help as we can get when it comes to study fees – both for ourselves and our children.  We’re launching our Bursaries Programme, with our team currently hard at work finding out what bursaries are out there and how you can apply.

    Both of the above programmes are subscription services; pay only ZAR99 per month and receive a stream of regularly refreshed and updated information. Find out more by contacting us!

Outside of all that, we continue with what we do best – bringing you the best content designed to help you thrive as a CSI practitioner. Or, as our mission simply puts it: ‘We improve the practice of CSI in a changing South Africa.’

Corporate Social Responsibility News (CSRNEWS) is South Africa’s leading Corporate Social Responsibility news, media and publishing firm. We create content on social responsibility, helping government, corporates, consultants, NPOs and NGOs to reach their target markets through appropriate, targeted development news.


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