Strategic responses to decreased donor funding for non-governmental organisations in the healthcare sector: the case of The Aurum Institute
Radebe, Margaret Sibongile
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Donor funding has become an extraordinarily unstable enterprise. The decline in donor funding has affected many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the healthcare sector in South Africa. This research study focuses on strategies employed by the case study organisation, The Aurum Institute (also known as Aurum) in response to decreased donor funding. The Aurum Institute is a Johannesburg-based Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) whose core operation is in the healthcare sector focusing on research, HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) programs. This research has adopted both an exploratory and descriptive research design. Such a qualitative approach has enabled the researcher to study the strategies that Aurum adopts in response to the changing external environment of donor funding. Data was collected by means of semi-structured interviews, document review and a case study method. The study population consisted primarily of 18 (eighteen) Senior Leadership and Management personnel and senior programme managers of The Aurum Institute who were selected largely according to their work experience and position in the organisation. In essence then, this research study aims to contribute to the resource dependency theory by identifying the strategies that NGOs in the South African healthcare sector employ in response to decreased donor funding. The study raises one major question: How can NGOs in the South African healthcare sector strategically respond to decreased donor funding? The ultimate goal of this study is to identify alternative strategies that NGOs could employ in order to limit dependency on donor funding. The strategic responses NGOs employ include diversification, collaborations, social entrepreneurship, adaptation and establishing efficiencies. The researcher anticipates that on the basis of the findings and recommendations of the study, a regime of guidelines would be developed as reference point for healthcare sector NGOs to improve their performance and efficiency, and attract donor funding on the basis of informed and evidence-based decision making processes.