FOUNDING A FOUNDATION

One could argue that people inherently have a desire to do good and that environments determine behaviours over time.  In small remote rural communities, crime and corruption as we know it in urban areas, is almost non-existent by comparison. Foundations, charitable organisations, non-government organisations (“NGOs”) and their volunteers fall in this group of people that have a desire to want to do good and help.

Often Foundations, Non-Government Organisations (“NGOs”) and the like are formed in remembrance of or to honour a high-profile person or loved-one. During my research on Foundations and NGOs, I soon realized that founding and establishing a Foundation is not as simple and easy it appeared.

Most Foundations and NGOs are formed as non-profits (“NPO”), but this does not mean that these organisations are public benefit organisations (PBO). An important decision has to made as donors and sponsors are more likely to donate to a non-profit that is registered as a PBO due to the tax deductibility of donations. The process between registering an NPO and an NPO that is also a PBO is significantly differently. Registration of the NPO takes place via CIPC and the South African Revenue Services (“SARS”) approves the organisation as a PBO, if criteria is met. We are fortunate that the Samsodien Foundation NPO, www.samsodien.co, founded in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and in honour of the late Roxzanne Renèe Samsodien, is registered as a PBO. 

Determining the purpose 

Determining the purpose for us was easy as it was carrying on the legacy of Roxzanne and the heart of the family. We always wanted to give back and serve in God’s kingdom and forming the Samsodien Foundation was a culmination of all our desires to help and create hope. Importantly though, we were adamant that the Foundation must have a main funder hence the establishment of Phoenix Financial Services Group, www.phoenixgrp.co.za . In addition, the Foundation had to have an inbound service for all so we can deliver on our dream and vision to improve the quality. We therefore developed the “Roxy Assist Services” which offers a wide range of support services to members of the public.

It is imperative to evaluate, analyse and find the purpose/s for your organisation as this will determine the next steps in a wonderful journey of bringing hope and relief to persons in distress. 

Corporate Governance 

Corporate governance was of paramount importance and we set out to develop a number of policies and procedures to protect beneficiaries, donors, volunteers, personal information, financial management and codes of conduct. 

What were some of the hurdles? 

The attempt to register a Foundation during the pandemic was daunting given the hard lockdown in the country at the time with most people working from home. Every step appeared to be twice as long in terms of opening banking accounts, registering with CIPC and obtaining Tax Clearance. 

Furthermore, the requirements for submission to the Tax Exemption Unit (“TEU”) at SARS is quite cumbersome. We worked with a company called Tax Guys, www.taxguys.co.za, to support us through the processes with CIPC and TEU. I would recommend that persons interested in registering a Foundation source a reputable company to assist them through this process. 

Media and Marketing is a critical element in the process. Without the proper website, media and marketing support, your Foundation will not receive the exposure it needs and therefore will not attract donors and sponsors. We were supported by Postt, www.postt.co.za that designed our website and entire digital marketing platform and strategy. 

Partnerships 

We always believed in forming lasting relationships and partnered with approximately 20 other Foundations involved in a variety of activities. Not only did we learn from these partnerships, but it also provided us with an immense opportunity to extend our reach to communities in a more effective and efficient manner. 

Words cannot describe the feeling when you connect and eye-ball beneficiaries, the sheer gratitude and fulfillment of hope warms the heart and fuels the drive to do more! 

Clayton Samsodien

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