Oct 2018

Other reasons why corporates are hesitant to donate to schools directly

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Recently I wrote a blog and gave Four Reasons Why Corporates Would Use AlumnusOnline To Support Schools. In that blog the focus was on what corporates stand to benefit materially from giving a donation to a school of their choice through AlumnusOnline. In this particular blog, however, the focus is slightly different; it is on exploring the uneasiness of corporates, whether justifiably or not, to give donations directly to schools or any other recipient, for that matter. The objective is to show, from the point of view of the donor, what it sometimes means to give a simple donation.

Poor or No Accountability Systems

One of the often under-stated reasons why corporates are hesitant to donate directly to schools despite the obvious need for them to do so is that they do not really have faith in the accountability systems used at the majority of schools. Unfortunately, these are schools where the need is dire and where donations may come in handy and make a significant difference. We often hear of anecdotes where school officials are found wanting, unable to account for donations made to their schools. Some who could account are often unconvincing and prompt doubt among donors about their sincerity. Sadly, it is episodes like these that contribute to a general lack of enthusiasm to support good causes among donors, especially for the benefit of schools.

Expenses of Outsourcing Donation Management

As a result of negative perceptions around donations to schools, some corporate donors now opt to outsource the responsibility of implementing programmes or projects to third parties. The reason for this approach is clear: as corporates they have a business to run and a core-mandate to fulfill. Administration of donations, management of projects and holding recipients of donations to account on the use of such donations are not their focal area of business. They prefer to donate their money and have someone relevant to take care of the responsibility to implement projects at the benefitting schools. This is done often at a huge cost to donors because many schools cannot be not freely entrusted with the role of administering funds to accomplish projects. Corporate donors do not have the time and specialized capacity to do this. They simply pay the receiving school through an implementing agent.

Measures On How to Deal With These Concerns

What AlumnusOnline provides to donors is ‘peace of mind’, as they are assured that all donations to schools will be conveyed in line with their instructions as donors and that they will receive reports from a reputable Accounting Firm on the use of those donations. The accounting systems that AlumnusOnline have developed are robust and credible. The Non-Profit Company is in partnership with respected global players in their various sectors, providing services they are renowned for to AlumnusOnline. For example, global companies Dimension Data and Internet Solutions take care of all technical requirements on behalf of AlumnusOnline as part of this partnership, while Bryte Insurance advises them on strategy and operations. A reputable and independent Accounting Firm, SoluGrowth, has partnered with AlumnusOnline as their fund manager. Their role is to account for every donation made through the AlumnusOnline platform, including checking line-items that the funds were used towards. This accounting responsibility does not come at a cost both to the donor and the beneficiary (school).

Furthermore, AlumnusOnline has partnered with Strauss Daly Attorneys Inc. as its independent Supply Chain Engineer. Its responsibility involves crafting bid specifications, inviting bidders, identifying of suitable service providers, drafting contracts with service providers and managing projects through those contracts. This applies in the event a donor has instructed AlumnusOnline that a particular project be implemented at a particular school. Similarly, this critical responsibility does not cost the donor or school, as shown in the T’s & C’s of AlumnusOnline website. This responsibility is a product of partnership with these global companies as part of their CSI. Therefore, the AlumnusOnline way is a marked departure from the previous arrangement where ‘middleman’ companies were used as implementing agents, often at a huge cost to donors (or schools). At the same time schools are not left to their own devices in implementing projects with monies granted to them as donations. AlumnusOnline work with the schools to take care of that, and even carry the burden for reporting and handover of projects.