Mar 15

Organisational sustainability tools pave the way for more resilient civil society organisations

Organisational Sustainability Tools aim to build sustainability within South African civil society organisations

On Wednesday 9 March 2016, Capacitate launched two organisational sustainability tools in Johannesburg, designed to improve resilience among South African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), through self-assessment and capacity building.

Jason Bygate, Director of Capacitate, notes that the civil society sector has changed significantly over the past decade, with global economic pressures having had a substantial impact, both directly and indirectly.  A reduction in the availability of funding, both local and international, has meant that organisations are under increasing pressure to diversify their revenue sources and to optimise their operations for lean efficiency.  Consequently, the need for an effective sustainability strategy has never been more important for every organisation that is providing services to those most in need.

Sustainability Tools

Capacitate Organisational Sustainability Tools


In order to support non-profit organisations (NPOs)/CSOs to become more resilient and consequently more impactful, Capacitate, in partnership with the Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation, recently developed an online Sustainability Assessment Tool and an associated handbook for CSO’s in Southern Africa called ‘Building Organisational Sustainability.’ The purpose of the self-learning handbook is to build the knowledge and skills of CSO leaders and managers in leadership and organisational management with a view to sustainability.  The tools are set apart by the fact that content relating to all domains of organisational sustainability has been consolidated, allowing CSOs to plan for sustainability in a holistic manner, at an organisational level. Furthermore, the tools are informed by the realities on the ground and take into account the South African context.

The Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation became aware of the limited resources relating to sustainability available to the non-profit sector, while it was running, with its project partner, TSiBA (The Tertiary School in Business Administration), a nine month Financial Sustainability Programme with 25 non-profit organisations (NPOs), which focused primarily on the NPOs developing and implementing plans to generate alternate income streams.

Kirsten Koetsier, the Head of the Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation said, “We are pleased to partner with Capacitate to develop this self-learning toolkit, particularly given their expertise, exposure and the excellent work in sustainability carried out by them in the South African non-profit sector. Now any Civil Society Organisation can take themselves through a guided process with access to a solid resource. ”

Capacitate’s “Social Resilience” portfolio from which the tools were developed, aims to provide assistance to CSOs to maximise their sustainability, and offers a number of different services in this regard. Capacitate acknowledges, through the support of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programme, the significant contribution that USAID has made in advancing sustainability thinking and content development in this area.

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