Nedbank Private Wealth is offering two South African non-profit organisations (NPOs) the opportunity to win a share of R1 million rand for showing how they innovated and used technology to ensure the resilience of their operations in the face of Covid-19.
The Nedbank Private Wealth Innovation Awards will recognise two winners in the categories of resilience and technology, and each winning NPO will receive prize money of R600 000 and R400 000 respectively, to support them in the continuation and expansion of their work in 2021.
According to Noxolo Hlongwane, Head: Philanthropy at Nedbank Private Wealth, the Innovation Awards were introduced as a way of recognising and rewarding NPOs that were able to achieve great results despite the pandemic and leverage on innovation. They are looking at organisations that can show financial stability, strong leadership and effective risk management, and can effectively harness the power of technology.
‘Covid-19 and the national lockdown response have been a massive test of the resilience of social-sector organisations globally,’ says Hlongwane. ‘Not just in terms of the ability of these institutions to maintain themselves financially, but also to meet the growing needs of communities despite the constraining environment and limited resources at their disposal.’
Hlongwane points out that in South Africa, this increase in the demand for services from NPOs was especially acute during 2020 and, some of these social entities found themselves unable to continue serving their communities. But she explains that those NPOs that were able to respond innovatively, and use technology to their advantage, were able to continue providing the vital support and help that millions of vulnerable South Africans needed.
‘It is these innovative, resilient and technology-minded NPOs that Nedbank Private Wealth wants to recognise with these awards,’ Hlongwane says. ‘Through the prize money, we hope to give the winning organisations the means to further strengthen their operations, enhance their programmes and service offerings, and position themselves to do even more good in society into the future.’
She says that the Innovation Awards are another way in which Nedbank Private Wealth is expanding on its commitment to grow and strengthen philanthropy in South Africa. Achieving this also requires that the country has a resilient and vibrant and thriving social sector, both now and into the future.
‘We appreciate the crucial role that these organisations fulfil in our communities, and the extent to which communities are dependent on the services NPOs provide,’ Hlongwane says. ‘Our years of experience in supporting the sector have shown us that the impact of NPOs is significantly enhanced when they effectively harness innovation and more recently leverage digital capabilities.’
Hlongwane expresses hope that the Innovation Awards will not only inspire NPOs to higher levels of such resilience, innovation and digital enablement but will also catalyse meaningful discourse between social-sector organisations, their donors and partners. ‘Covid-19 highlighted the fact that social-sector stakeholders need to spend more time engaging constructively around ways to leverage investment to build greater resilience, institutionalise best-practice crisis response, and prepare our social sector for any future crises like Covid-19,’ she says. ‘We hope that these awards encourage such conversations, while also prompting NPOs and their funders to invest in systems, tools, technology and leadership development.’
Entries for the Nedbank Private Wealth Innovation Awards are now open and will run until 26 February 2021. Visit the Nedbank Private Wealth website for full details of the entry requirements and to submit entries. The winners in each category will be announced in March 2021. All entrants will also be invited to attend a workshop, hosted by Nedbank Private Wealth, at which key principles around reliance, innovation and the use technology will be unpacked by various experts in these fields.