FD Hlobisile Nsibande stands for financial resilience and child advocacy

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Save the Children director of finance Hlobisile Nsibande shares the mission she is on to help give children a better chance of survival, protection, development and participation in society.

Hlobisile Nsibande, the director of finance at Save the Children South Africa, is a key figure in one of the largest organisations dedicated to safeguarding children’s rights. With operations spanning more than 120 countries, they strive to provide essential humanitarian assistance, education, healthcare, protection, and advocacy for children in need.

According to Hlobisile, their ultimate vision is to create a world where every child is entitled to survival, protection, development, and participation. She points out that even organisations like Save the Children SA are not immune to the challenges posed by macro-economic factors such as inflation, unemployment, and rising interest rates, and they are implementing effective strategies to navigate these obstacles and ensure the continuation of their vital work.

Diverse funding sources and building trust

Hlobisile emphasises the significance of diversifying funding sources in the financial strategy of Save the Children. “Diversification is a lynchpin in mitigating funding unpredictability,” she notes. Actively engaging with various donors, exploring funding opportunities through social media, and employing targeted communications are integral facets of this approach.

The objective is to build a broad network of supporters and donors while nurturing relationships based on trust and transparency. Building trust ensures that donors remain confident in Save the Children’s mission and steadfast in their support, even amid economic uncertainties.

Ensuring long-term financial sustainability

Financial sustainability, a cornerstone for any organisation, is a goal that Save the Children pursues diligently.

“Long-term financial sustainability is a tapestry woven with effective cost management, diversifying funding streams, and building prudent reserves,” says Hlobisile.

Diversifying funding streams is imperative to reduce dependence on a single source of income, enhancing financial stability. Prudent reserve building acts as a safety net, allowing the organisation to weather unexpected financial challenges, thereby ensuring a sustained and impactful presence in the landscape of child advocacy.

Measuring impact and enhancing communication

Effectively measuring and communicating the impact of the organisation’s programmes are critical components of Save the Children’s financial strategy. “We believe in not only delivering impactful programmes but also in effectively measuring and communicating that impact,” says Hlobisile.

This process entails using indicators to measure progress and convey the impact through various channels like integrated reports, social media, newsletters, and stakeholder meetings. The objective is to provide a clear and compelling narrative of the organisation’s achievements, ensuring that supporters and stakeholders understand the effectiveness and value of the programs they support.

Effective resource management

Optimising both human and financial resources is a strategic priority for Save the Children. “Educating donors on the criticality of infrastructure support and cost optimisation is pivotal for effective resource management,” she says. This involves illuminating donors about infrastructure’s importance in supporting the organisation’s operations.

Additionally, Save the Children collaborates with community-based organisations and strategically mobilises trained volunteers within communities. This approach ensures that the organisation maximises programme impact in a cost-effective way, using resources judiciously and efficiently to achieve the desired outcomes.

Meeting compliance and stakeholder demands

Compliance with regulations and meeting stakeholder demands form the bedrock of Save the Children’s operations. “Adhering to compliance requirements is non-negotiable for us,” says Hlobisile, referring to the various regulatory and legal requirements governing non-profit organisations.

The organisation places a strong emphasis on maintaining transparency and diligently adhering to guidelines to ensure that stakeholder trust is upheld. This level of transparency is critical in maintaining the trust and accountability that are foundational to the organisation’s mission.

Leveraging technology for financial management

In the contemporary digital landscape, technology plays an instrumental role in financial management at Save the Children. Hlobisile explains, “Leveraging technology, such as our robust ERP system, allows us to automate and centralise business processes.” This technological infrastructure provides valuable insights into income sources, spending patterns, and efficient supplier management.

Additionally, it enhances the accuracy and efficiency of financial operations, enabling the organisation to make informed decisions based on real-time data.

Overcoming challenges in talent management

Talent management within the finance domain presents a unique set of challenges for non-profit organisations. “Acknowledging the challenges in attracting and retaining finance professionals, we’ve adopted strategies like continuous development and strategic outsourcing,” she states.

Continuous development involves investing in the growth and skill enhancement of the existing workforce. Additionally, strategic outsourcing is employed to ensure that the organisation has access to specialised expertise when needed, even if not available in-house.

Future growth and innovative initiatives

Looking ahead, Hlobisile shares exciting plans for growth and innovation within the organisation.

“Our vision is to continually expand our impact,” she says. “We plan to establish a social enterprise within Save the Children to generate more unrestricted income.”

This initiative aims to provide the organisation with much-needed visibility and increase its capacity to make a lasting impact on the lives of children. Furthermore, the organisation is keen on leveraging its extensive expertise in child rights through consultancy services. This initiative seeks to engage with clients to design and implement policies, programmes, projects, and practices that are child-friendly, child-responsive, and child-centred, thereby advancing child advocacy on a broader scale.

According to Hlobisile, Save the Children remains passionately dedicated to its mission of protecting and advocating for the rights of children, even amid the dynamic and challenging landscape of financial uncertainties. Through strategic financial approaches, the organisation is steadfast in its vision of creating a world where every child has the right to survival, protection, development, and participation.

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