Yes, I Too Gave Irresponsibly

Before becoming the hard core GiveWise activist that I am now, I would drive around the streets of Durbanville at night, handing out loaves of bread with stickers on them saying “Jesus Loves U”. These well intentioned, yet irresponsible, actions influenced my family and they adopted the “rounds” in my absence while living overseas, as a tribute to me during the Christmas season. This made me realise that my actions really did speak louder than words, and that people, not only my family, were watching how I helped others in need. Be it good or bad. All of the above was clearly before I completed my BA (Hon) in Social Work and started working, and gaining experience, in the specialist field of Homelessness.
I had no idea that my ignorant, goodwill gestures, though noble, weren’t helping. That my giving was not achieving the outcome of a person living to their full potential. As time went on and I learned more about human development, light bulbs began to switch on one by one. These handouts were not going to effectively change this person’s life. So, what now, I asked myself?
I felt discouraged and for a while stopped giving all together. Being idle about bringing about change was just not sitting well with me and I got off my booty to explore a wiser way to give. The more I researched, the more it became apparent, that to truly help someone you need money or at least be in a stable financial position to assist long term to see change. I asked myself, “What do I have right now in my life to endorse effective social change?” At the time, I was studying Social Work and I had entry level business insight. I decided to combine the two and start a social enterprise. This apparently made me a social entrepreneur.
Once the money is made, then what? I wanted to be sure that who we supported financially (be it an organisation or an individual), would use it to bring about effective social change. We wanted to do things right. We did what any other investor would do, we scrutinised our potential beneficiaries and evaluated them before deciding who we would support. That is how the evaluation company, GiveWise Foundation, was birthed. This wiser approach to addressing social ills in local communities has encouraged other likeminded philanthropists to use GiveWise evaluations and bring much needed strength to the social service organisations in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town.
Some say it’s social innovation, to others it’s effective altruism, to us it just made sense. There is much more to the process mentioned above but the highlights of the journey are what truly matter and I hope this encourages everyone to stop and ask themselves if what they are about to give is truly impacting a human being’s life for the long term?
For many other ideas on wiser ways to give in the Northern Suburbs, please contact the GiveWise Foundation team.
In Wisdom,
Lucinda J. Valentine Managing Director – GiveWise Foundation
071 673 8641

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