Turning seven this year, 5 For Change has been an annual highlight on the Cape Town social and philanthropic calendar. In 2018, however, its founders are shaking things up and taking the black tie gala upcountry to Gauteng. This year's event will be hosted at The Station in Newtown, Joburg on Saturday, 27 October.
If you're new to the 5 For Change concept, here's what all the fuss is about: Every year the founders, Adriaan Dippenaar, David Deetlefs and Ross McKernan, host a black tie fundraiser in support of five fledgling social enterprises, shining the spotlight on these commendable causes and providing a platform for those with the means to give back. This year's beneficiaries are Dlala Nje, OLICO Maths Education, enke, CRSP DSGN and Hustlenomics.
In the run-up to the event, Bizcommunity will be profiling each of the beneficiaries, but to kick things off, we chatted to Robyn Deutsch, managing director of 5 For Change, to find out more about the initiative's beginnings and how it has evolved over the last seven years, as well as what revellers can expect from this year's classy affair.
Tell us a bit more about the masterminds behind 5 For Change, and what prompted them to launch the initiative.
Robyn Deutsch, managing director, 5 For Change
5 For Change's founders are David Deetlefs, Adriaan Dippennaar and Ross McKernan - old friends from school who have also done various volunteer and philanthropic initiatives with each other throughout the years. They always say they started with the simple goal of 'making giving back to worthy causes accessible and fun', they just didn't know exactly where that goal would take them.
In 2012 they decided to start working towards that mission by throwing a fundraising event to bring together some of their friends who had started some inspiring charities and social enterprises with as many other young professionals in Cape Town as possible. This was 5 For Change's first black tie gala and since the incredible response to the first event, it has become a beloved annual event and has grown in scope and size every year - as has 5 For Change as an organisation.
Are there any notable success stories to share since the launch of 5 For Change in terms of the many beneficiaries with which you've worked?
Absolutely! During our first year - 2012 - we worked with another 'startup' organisation called Greenpop. Our founders were friends with Greenpop's cofounder Misha Teasdale, and we all talk now about how young organisationally we all were at that time. We were proud to highlight Greenpop's mission to (re)connect people to our planet and plant trees and raised a modest amount of money for them which they used to purchase a shipping container that is still in use at their tree nursery today.
Since that time, they have become one of the most prominent environmental NGOs in South Africa, planting over 100,000 trees in Southern Africa, hosting huge festivals and leading the 'Treevolution' in South Africa and beyond. We are so proud of their growth and success!
Tell us more about the 5 For Change Catalyst Programme - what does it entail?
The Catalyst Programme is one of my favourite aspects of our organisation! Last year, in order to supplement the value provided by the gala and create more comprehensive value for our beneficiaries, we piloted the programme.
The aim of the 5 For Change Catalyst Programme is to accelerate the development of our social enterprise beneficiaries and provide them with long-term value through one year of ‘incubation’ support and resources. We really tailor the programme each year to the specific needs and priorities of each organisation, which are incredibly diverse from year to year and within each class.
Examples of support we have provided through the programme in 2017 and 2018 include: social media training, fundraising and strategy consulting, proposal writing assistance, team and leadership training and graphic design services.
Having been a fixture on the Cape Town social and philanthropic calendar for six consecutive years, why the move to Joburg for 2018's event?
Hosting a Joburg event has been a dream of the founders for a long time and has been something that friends and partners have been asking of us as well! I think the answer to the 'why now' question is simply that we finally have the capacity to pull off such a big move. Building on the success of last year's record-breaking event, having a full-time employee, and having matured so much organisationally, we just felt we were very well positioned not only to throw an event in Joburg, but to throw an event up to the high standard of the 5 For Change brand.
We do want to assure all of our amazing Cape Town friends and supporters that we will absolutely be back to Cape Town and haven't forgotten our roots. And, of course, that they are all welcome to make the mission and join us up in Jozi for the occasion!
What do you look for when selecting organisation beneficiaries, and how can those hoping to be part of the initiative apply?
The founders and I prioritise a few key aspects of an organisation when choosing a new beneficiary class: innovation, young and passionate local founders/team, impact, sustainability and scalability and social enterprise model (as opposed to traditional charity approach). We also just love to support organisations that excite and inspire us and that we know will do the same for the guests at our event.
Another key element is definitely the size and 'age' of the organisation - we make sure that the organisation is in the best place to fully benefit from 5 For Change's programme. An organisation that is too new or with too limited capacity to participate in the Catalyst Programme for instance, won't be able to benefit from the full value of the programme. Alternatively, an organisation that is well-established or well-funded may not benefit as much as other organisations from the awareness and funds we are able to provide, which we want to prevent as well. So it really is finding that perfect balance. We also work to make sure there is a nice diversity within our beneficiary group, so it is a bit of an art as opposed to a science.
Organisations can send enquiries throughout the year to az.oc.egnahcrof5@ofni. We will do a call for applications and post our application form on all of our social media sites, usually one to two months after our last event. We expect to post a call for applications around December 2018. In addition to incoming applications, we also conduct a lot of internal research and invite organisations to apply as well. Once we have gathered enough applications, we shortlist the applications to our favourite 10-12 and invite them for in-person interviews. From there, we choose our beneficiaries.
How has the initiative evolved over the last seven years - what can attendees expect at this year's event?
I think that's a great question. On one hand, I can talk about how we evolved in years one through six in Cape Town, which involved increasing attendance, more glitz and glam, raising more money etc. But, this year in Joburg really is breaking new ground.
We are taking over the biggest and most epic venue - The Station in Newtown. It is a huge covered, outdoor venue (an old train station) that can technically host 5,000 pax concerts! We're expecting 1,000 people this year, which is double what we have ever had in the past. We are still finalising our MC, headliner and DJ acts, but I will say we are so, so excited about the quality of entertainment Joburg has to offer! And the response has just been overwhelming so far, and we are still almost two months out. People are buying up our VIP tables in record numbers, buying corporate group tickets, we're creating really cool custom packages that we've never had the opportunity to do before.
So, I would say to expect the same high standard of black tie glamour and 5 For Change brand that you are accustomed to, but with a big city Joburg twist. And also to expect a little bit of the unexpected, which is what is making this year so much fun.