I am delighted to repost the blog on Responsible Donor Exit from Tshikululu, a Social Investment advisory firm in South Africa that I met at the European Evaluation Society conference last week in Holland . The short report outlines different choices of Phase down, Phase out, or Phase over for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As we in foreign aid evaluation have noted, donors should have set criteria for engaging with grantees to facilitate the transition and exit from programs, including exit plans and designing exit in from the beginning. What this report adds is open communication and joint agreements on timelines, exit grants and post-exit ‘scans’ that may foster further partnerships. Especially pleased to see them recommending “programme beneficiaries should therefore be empowered to direct the development processes that affect them.” Enjoy…
Towards responsible donor exiting strategies and practices
10 May 2016 | Silvester Hwenha |
Social investment has evolved as the result of a number of factors, including a growing interest by high net worth individuals and institutional investors in tackling social issues at the local, national or global level. Social investors have also become increasingly relevant in many countries as a result of mounting social challenges amid declining public funds to provide social services. The rationale for social investment is based on the realisation that social or environmental factors can impact a company’s bottom line and therefore are important factors in business. Besides, it has long been acknowledged by civic society and business that government alone cannot confront and solve all of society’s problems.
Social investors typically channel their funds through non-profit entities including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community based organisations (CBOs) to deliver social and environmental programmes in communities where such programmes are required. However, while social challenges require long term interventions to address, social investments often support programmes in short funding cycles. In many instances social investment funds are redirected to other social challenges thus necessitating exiting of programmes.
Exiting programmes is usually a highly sensitive and difficult process for donors, grantees and beneficiaries. For most donors, the reasons for exiting programmes include changing priorities and/or leadership, dwindling resources and the potential threat on programmes by the emergence of political instability. Despite having legitimate cause to exit programmes, donor agencies, foundations, trusts and corporate donors often do so with little advance notice, communication and consultation with programme partners.
 Hwenha, S. (2016, May 10). Towards responsible donor exiting strategies and practices. https://web.archive.org/web/20161002091204/http://www.tshikululu.org.za/insights-opinions/entry/towards-responsible-donor-exiting-strategies-and-practices