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GrowZA Insights: Harnessing the Power of the Socratic Approach for Small NGOs in SA

GrowZA is a social investment agency based in South Africa that works to support small non-profits (NGOs) in their efforts to make a positive impact in their communities.

In our 2nd book summary of 2023, we outline the principles of the Socratic approach, as outlined in the book "Socratic Selling" by Davey and it's utility for small non-profits in South Africa.

The Socratic approach involves asking questions to better understand the motivations and concerns of potential donors, rather than simply telling them about your organization and its goals. By using this approach, small NGOs can reap many benefits, including:

Improved donor relationships:

Building strong relationships with donors is key to success in fundraising, and using a Socratic approach can help small NGOs better understand the motivations and concerns of their donors and increase their engagement and loyalty over time.

Increased funding:

By tailoring your approach to each donor's individual needs and interests, you can more effectively communicate the impact of your work and generate greater support for your causes.

Better alignment of donor interests:

Understanding the specific issues and causes that donors are most passionate about can help you ensure that your fundraising efforts are aligned with their interests.

Enhanced transparency and accountability:

By having open and transparent conversations with your donors, you can increase donor trust and build a reputation for accountability and impact.

Improved donor retention:

Building strong relationships with donors and demonstrating your commitment to understanding and addressing the issues they care about can help you increase donor retention and reduce churn over time.

An excellent example of a South African organization that has successfully used the Socratic approach is Food Forward, a Cape Town-based NGO that rescues surplus food from grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers markets and distributes it to those in need. Food Forward's use of the Socratic approach has helped them build stronger relationships with donors, increase funding, and better align their efforts with the interests and priorities of their supporters.

The Socratic approach is a powerful tool for small NGOs to increase their impact and achieve their goals. We encourage all of our partners to embark on deepened conversations with social investment partners and donors as part of their outreach and engagement efforts, and to look to local, growing organizations like Food Forward as a source of inspiration and best practices.

This is how we #GrowZA


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