How to support and celebrate women in philanthropy

Women’s Month is a time to celebrate and recognise the achievements of women, but also an opportunity to take note of how to support them in their endeavours. More so when it’s women who have made it their mission to help others in need of assistance. And by supporting these women, you’re not just lending them a helping hand but also those who depend on them. 

Relate Bracelets is a Cape Town-based non-profit organisation (NPO), which reported R3.2 million raised for charitable causes over the financial year ending February 2023. The organisation supports a variety of causes – ranging from the elderly to youth education and the protection of wildlife. 

Dalit Shekel, Key Accounts Manager at Relate

According to Key Accounts Manager at Relate, Dalit Shekel, people who work for charities tackle some of the most urgent and complex issues affecting South Africa, such as poverty, inequality, education, health, gender-based violence, and environmental sustainability. 

“People working in the philanthropic space bring awareness, advocacy, and action to these issues, and create positive change for millions of people. It’s by no means an easy feat. In my experience, women in philanthropy are often driven by a sense of compassion, solidarity, and responsibility to address the needs and challenges of the vulnerable and needy in their communities.”

One such woman making a dramatic difference is multi award-winning philanthropist Helen Lieberman, founder of Ikamva Labantu. Since 1962 Ikamva Labantu has endeavoured to change the devastating impact of the Apartheid system in township communities, and empower and uplift the people who live there. Their main focus currently is to support daycare, after-school, and senior programmes, and assist entrepreneurs and small businesses to thrive. 

Another example of a woman-led charitable organisation supported by Relate Bracelets is PinkDrive, whose founder is Noelene Kotschan. PinkDrive’s aim is to help prevent people from succumbing to breast, cervical, prostate and testicular cancer, with a primary focus on citizens without access to reasonable care for these conditions, and who stay in areas where health services don’t reach.

Asked how women in philanthropy can be celebrated and supported, Shekel highlights the following:

Learn more about their causes
“Learn more about their stories and causes, in order to be more impactful in supporting them. You can read their blogs, watch their documentaries, listen to their podcasts, or follow them on social media. The more you learn about them, the better you’ll know how to celebrate and support them,” says Shekel.

Engage them and find a hole to plug 
Philanthropy is not only about giving money, but also about giving time, skills, knowledge, and influence to make a positive difference in the world. “Even if you don’t have money to give to the charities they work for, you can volunteer for their organisations or causes. Offer your skills, time, or expertise to help them achieve their goals”, Shekel advises.

Word of mouth is important 
Spread the word about their organisations or causes to help them achieve their objectives. “You can do this by telling friends, family, or colleagues about what they do, or by posting about them on social media. You could write a blog post or make a video to share on your social media pages,” says Shekel.

Send them messages of encouragement to keep them going.
The philanthropic space can be emotionally taxing, shares Shekel. “These women often deal with unpleasant environments in their causes and every ounce of support can help. Send them messages of appreciation and encouragement. You can write an email, a letter, a card or a tweet to thank them for their work and let them know you support and celebrate them, to keep them motivated,” she points out. 

Women in philanthropy are proof that not every hero or heroine wears a cape. They inspire with their courage, vision and generosity and show the nation that anyone can be a philanthropist, regardless of their background, status or income. It’s for this reason that they deserve their flowers this Women’s Month.

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