Since 2016 the DO MORE FOUNDATION has been collaborating with various funding partners to alleviate hunger and economic hardship in the Hammarsdale community near Durban. To measure the social impact of its projects in the area, the Foundation recently commissioned its first Social Return on Investment (SROI) study. The results were even better than expected, showing a significant benefit to the Hammarsdale community and confirming the power of partnerships to DO MORE.

Hammarsdale has been hard hit by unemployment, leading to a rise in food insecurity and related social problems. With food and jobs being critical levers of change, the DO MORE FOUNDATION established #DoMore4Hammarsdale, a collaborative initiative to alleviate hunger and facilitate access to economic opportunities. “The key is collaborative partnerships with like-minded organisations, which allow the Foundation to do more than we - or any other organisation - could do on our own. After two years, we wanted to measure the impact we are making so that we can objectively demonstrate the power of partnership, and fine-tune our efforts to achieve the greatest possible social returns on our joint input,” explains DO MORE FOUNDATION Executive and Trustee, Warren Farrer.

The SROI analysis, conducted by the consulting firm Vision RSM, looked at the holistic return generated from the R6,1 million that the Foundation and its partners invested between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2018 through a combination of cash, contributions in kind and training offered directly to the project. The analysis included `social returns' which were quantified using proxy financial indicators. Of #DoMore4Hammarsdale's three `hunger alleviation' projects, the food gardens at 24 early childhood development (ECD) centres in Hammarsdale showed the greatest social return, at R3.36 per rand invested. “This is exciting as we are passionate about stimulating early childhood development to help break the poverty cycle. Partnerships with Buckman and Ackermans assisted us to establish the food gardens, while The Unlimited Child is providing training, learning programmes and educational resources at the ECD centres,” says Farrer.

Establishing `economic linkages' is another important aspect of #DoMore4Hammarsdale. The DO MORE FOUNDATION compiled a comprehensive database of community members in need, which they used to link beneficiaries with economic opportunities - including employment, training programmes and documentation required to access social grants. These projects resulted in a return of R3.99 for every rand invested. “Once again, we couldn't have done it without our amazing partners who assisted with employment and networking - Mr Price Group, GP Retail and Rokwil Property Developers being some of our key partners,” Farrer adds.

Coordinating training for retrenched RCL FOODS employees in 2017 was something else the DO MORE FOUNDATION took in its stride. In partnership with RCL FOODS, the Lima Rural Development Foundation and various training service providers, the Foundation facilitated vocational training for 283 retrenched staff, yielding an estimated R5,50 return per rand invested. “The social return on investment analysis showed beyond doubt that collaborative partnerships are the key to #DOING MORE for communities in need. The power of many hands working together is exponential, as the study has shown - and that gives us confidence to aim for even greater impacts going forward,” Farrer concludes.