Managing corporate identities of non-profit organisations in the social welfare sector
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Present-day South Africa is characterised by many societal and developmental issues, such as HIV awareness and prevention, child-headed households, environmental protection, poverty alleviation, violence and victim aid. However, it is widely acknowledged that government alone cannot address these issues effectively. The role of non-profit organisations (NPOs) in addressing social and development issues is increasingly emphasised. NPOs work at grassroots level and they can therefore, on the whole, identify societal vulnerabilities and risks earlier than the government sector. However, due to the economic recession, NPOs operate in a competitive environment where an increasing number of NPOs rely on a small number of donors and other resources. NPOs should therefore differentiate themselves from the competition in order to obtain public legitimacy and funding. Corporate identity management is important for NPOs to fulfil their role in social welfare and thus contribute to disaster risk reduction. The exploratory nature of this study dictates a qualitative research approach. Semi-structured interviews with management of five NPOs in the social welfare sector were conducted in order to provide an answer to the study’s research question: ‘To what extent do NPOs in the social welfare sector practise corporate identity management, in order to prevent and address social welfare risks?’ The research found that NPOs do not realise the full potential of managing their corporate identities. NPOs therefore do not take advantage of a strong and distinct corporate identity which would allow them to ensure their ability to assess, address, reduce and/or alleviate vulnerabilities and disaster risks.