ICT company Elingo (Pty) Ltd. is focused on solutions and services within the multimedia contact centre and enterprise IP telephony space, but is also a long-time sponsor of the enterprise development programme run by the Viva Foundation of South Africa – sponsorship that means sustainability for the organisation and continued assistance to those in need.
The Viva Foundation of South Africa is part of the Impact Mobilisation Department (IMD) of the Hatfield Christian Church. In 2012 Elingo sought to fulfil its BB-BEE requirement and commit to a partnership with a social enterprise with the condition to provide financial support, and decided to align with the Viva Foundation.
“Viva proved to be an organisation of integrity and one that continues to comply with the rules and regulations of our country. Elingo has a standing responsibility to donate funds to our organisation partner on an annual basis. The donation amount gets determined by the net profit after tax and the guidance of the BEE consultant, CFO and shareholders,” said Kobus Potgieter, CFO at Elingo.
Meleney Berry-Kriel, CEO of the Viva Foundation of South Africa, says Elingo’s ongoing support is critical to the organisation’s sustainability, specifically in running and applying its enterprise development programme. This programme is the channel through which it provides a much-needed service to beneficiaries of its poverty alleviation focus.
“The fact that Elingo remains on board from year to year, is a very significant benefit and value, as Enterprise Development in extremely poor settings, is a long-term endeavour. It is so much more sustainable if we know that in some form, we can count on an ongoing partnership and support, because the work is ongoing,” said Berry-Kriel.
“Also, the road to assist underprivileged entrepreneurs is a very rocky road indeed. It is not easy to find entrepreneurs that are willing and able to remain with the programme until they are truly independent. A funder that does not have unrealistic expectations in this regard, such as Elingo, is very valuable,” she added.
According to the organisation, Elingo fulfils an important strategic function in that it not only provides funding, but is also a keen supporter of the organisation’s activities and social initiatives.
“The vision is to be instrumental in transformation and the mission is to build up service hubs within high-priority poverty areas. I believe Elingo has bought into that vision and has remained on board,” Berry-Kriel continued.
This sense of commitment was once again demonstrated in November when the company was represented at the organisation’s year-end graduation ceremony.
Berry-Kriel described the day as a huge success and one of the best events the organisation had experienced, despite a few logistic difficulties and last-minute organising to cater for unexpected guests.
Potgieter added, “I was touched by the visible love amongst the staff and pupils. Also by the way the event was conducted. It was clear to me that Viva is an organisation of integrity, stability and above board. It was well organised and the children were well behaved. Love and discipline was clear and evident.”
While the CFO and Elingo is proud to be a part of this organisation’s continued service to communities and has nothing but respect and admiration for its cause and the positive work it continues to do, the Viva Foundation of South Africa believes that partnerships and the contribution of those companies with a long-term outlook are key to survival.
“A well-managed Fund Development Plan, as opposed to mere Fund Raising, is what makes the difference in the area of sustainability and sustained impact. Such a Fund Development Plan, looks like a pyramid and consists of building up a broad variety of funders and also different kinds of funders. A large number of funders need to be companies and individuals providing smaller amounts, faithfully. This is the sponsor of an individual child, or beneficiary, a teacher or a small part of the operational expenditures. Monthly and year-in-year-out – these donations make it possible for organisations to plan and fund the payroll. Charity is a Service Industry and salaries are the most important cost driver. Yet it is also the one item that is often not funded,” Berry-Kriel explained.
“I take the liberty to call upon individuals, who have seen and experienced the joy of Viva beneficiaries, to get on board and sponsor just one child in the Early Learning Centre, or one School child, or one teacher. That is Altruism and that is what will make our lives as charity practitioners, easier,” she added.