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The role of loyalty programmes in sustaining non-profit organisations

Steps Clubfoot Care is a non-profit organisation that focuses on facilitating access to clubfoot treatment for South African children. They are also a My School beneficiary, the loyalty programme that South Africans know about through the Woolworths brand. Whilst many of us "swipe" for purchases with a link to our favoured charities, it is little known how valuable that swipe can be.
Aurwin Philander and Mom receive his graduation certificate
Aurwin Philander and Mom receive his graduation certificate

For Steps, who joined in November 2017, that value equates to R81,054.04 between January 2018 and February 2022.

“That pause at the till to swipe a loyalty card has provided 32 children support for their four-year clubfoot treatment journey,” says Karen Mara Moss, founder of Steps. “It’s also paid for parent in-clinic education and leaflets, transport stipends for patients living far from clinics, clubfoot braces, bedtime story books and in-clinic parties to encourage families to keep going.”

This April, My School launched an ambitious campaign for causes to remind their supporters to swipe. If the normal number of swipes for the month are doubled, then the beneficiary stands in line to win R20,000. If the beneficiary exceeds that, they could be the top cause of the month. An accolade that increases the prize value to R50,000.

Says Moss: “The beauty of this type of loyalty programme is the sustainability element of it. It’s a constant source of income to the selected cause and is not costing the shopper any more than normal to do it. There are children who started treatment as babies in November 2017 when our My School partnership started who have now graduated proudly and are starting pre-school free from disability and with the freedom to run and play with their friends without stigma or isolation.”

Steps Charity NPC is the only non-profit focused on clubfoot treatment and, since its establishment in 2005, more than 15,000 children have accessed the Ponseti method of treatment. “We were established in response to the huge need for clubfoot treatment support in southern Africa,” says Moss. “Less than 8% of patients have access to health insurance or the means to pay for treatment. Since clubfoot is a treatable condition, we had to do something to help children avoid a life of disability. The Ponseti Method was successful with my own child and so I introduced it to southern Africa to try and assist all parents whose children are born with the same condition.”

Steps supports 35 partner clinics in the South African state health sector by training healthcare workers, focusing on advocacy and supplying clubfoot braces. Clubfoot clinic coordinators are trained by Steps on parent education and clinics are supplied with parent education leaflets, posters, training, and medical devices. Steps also mentors and supports clubfoot providers in neighbouring countries with educational resources, training and medical devices.

“Clubfoot treatment is hard on families economically and emotionally. Steps intervention and support sustains them through the journey, normalises the condition and gives them hope,” concludes Moss.

If you’d like to link to Steps with your MySchool card, register here:

For more information on Steps, visit their website:

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