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The Non-Profit Perspective

Attention and Mindfulness in Business Strategy
We have spoken of Focus and the importance thereof in previous newsletters, but the field of cognitive and emotional intelligence is a broad and crucial one and needs constant attention, especially on an individual level. Following focus then, we have attention; defined as the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important. This is when we are most attentive, when we have an invested interest in the matter at hand. We can see this clearly when dealing with things that we can’t relate to or don’t understand and how quickly they then can become tedious and frustrating (we’ve all done geometry in school). Other topics however, feel intuitive and require little to no effort to focus on and pay attention.

Deepak Chopra speaks of three steps; awareness, desire and intention, brought together to pay attention. Attention is an invaluable tool and the path to achieve it requires a deliberate and constant practice.
Recent studies done at the University of Granada (UGR) in Spain suggest that developing attention and focus in children improves intelligence and brain function. This effect is further added to if the children are aided by an educator that guides them on the learning process. Clearly, the earlier we realise the power of attention and implement it into our lives the greater the effect, but it’s never too late to pay more attention to attention. As the Chinese proverb goes; ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago… the next best time is now.’
Addressing Mindfulness

Mindfulness, on the other hand, is more closely linked with meditation and a state of being that better embodies all endeavours. It is the ‘live in the moment’ credo expanded and applied practically to work and life. We have all experienced a state in which anything felt possible, where stresses and worries fell by the wayside for a moment and all we had was the task in front of us. This state of being is a part of mindfulness. It allows us access to a wealth of focus and attentive capability, through which we can better approach almost all aspects of life.

Where things get a little trickier with mindfulness is when we integrate it deliberately into the business environment. This is because business has become based around strategy, which as we know is the practice of looking ahead and planning for the future. Whilst on the surface this may seem to be a contradiction to our aforementioned mindfulness definition, it is not. This is because the two operate on slightly different planes and therefore rarely meet in practice. See we use attention and focus (part of mindfulness) when the time arises, a periodic tool to utilise within the process that exponentially improves efficiency and productivity.

Strategy, on the other hand, operates throughout the whole process, always there in the background, as a form of net or web that guides us and stops us from falling by the wayside. It also allows us to ensure we are in the right place to engage our attention and mindfulness, in a more invested and dedicated way. This is because we use strategy to enable attention and through this achieve mindfulness that produces results first set out when the strategy was implemented. In this regard we can adapt Deepak Chopra’s statement to suggest that three steps when applied to business involve focus, attention, and mindfulness, all brought together to implement strategy.
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Looking at the Year ahead for NPO’s

Throughout the year we have spoken about the importance of certain aspects within the Non-profit sector. From the entrepreneurial and business aspects to the social and the technological, there is a lot that’s evolving within the social sector and beyond. It is our job to actively search and discover these changing aspects of the business environment and adapt accordingly. Let us be mindful of this as we head into a new year and with it a whole host of further advances and additional changes to society and the world over.

Indeed the world and her people are constantly evolving and of course, it’s happening at an exponential rate because why not?. As we develop new tech and grow better equipped and learned civilisations, the rate at which growth then occurs quickly accelerates, resulting in the whole cycle getting faster and faster. Better tech leads to better inventions leads to a better lifestyle which leads back to more improved tech and so on, constantly and repeatedly. This means on the individual level we must all try and at least keep an eye on parts of these changes that affect the day to day activities we carry out. This will allow us to see the things that might help or hinder our missions.

Working with Tech in 2019

It is recommended, especially when it comes to tech, to approach the whole thing proactively, rather than avoiding it until necessary. Understandably this is quite difficult to do, especially amongst the chaos we already must deal with on a day to day. I think we could start by first proving to ourselves and our organisations that we aren’t afraid of the future. That tech and new methods of delivering and providing impact can, in fact, be friendly and helpful, rather than incomprehensible and terrifying. It all comes down to practice at the end of the day.

We don’t always have the time to keep up to date with the very latest information and that’s where working together has advantages. Being part of the NGO Assist Trust, for instance, provides a blanket of security when it comes to dealing with the future. The reason is that with a growing group of aspiring NPO’s all communicating and supporting each other, advances and changes in any relevant fields will be properly analysed. This can then be broken down for all the members such that everyone can reap the rewards of the future. Working in a group is arguably the biggest secret to taking on the future and the year ahead, because it does more than just help the problem, it carries with it a perpetuating peace of mind that this will always be the case…
Want to team up?... So do we! Join us at the NGO Assist Trust and let's battle problems together!
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Our Festive Networking Breakfast
We at the NGO Assist Trust would also like to take this time and thank everyone who attended our festive season breakfast. It was a fantastic experience and one that will be fueling our efforts as we push forward into the new year. Thanks again, everyone! 
Presentations, prizes and a wealth of quality networking...
A special thank you to our founder, Robert De Souza.
Passion and heart were present throughout the experience... Thank you to Cape Town APD for hosting, was great networking!
Speaking of the NGO Assist Trust…

As we have talked about, the landscape for the future is a constantly adapting one and we are responsible for being mindful of the paths we take. Being part of a Trust or group on the other hand allows us to walk the path toward the future together. The NGO Assist Trust is a group of NPO’s that all have different missions and objectives but are all aligned by the fact that they are trying to make a difference to society and have realised that the best way to do this is when we work together. From here we can share resources, information and much more.

On the topic of the Trust and the year ahead, we also have several exciting projects lined up for early next year. From our ‘Go yellow for women’ campaign to fun runs and even a sow a seed project. All of these are aimed at providing a platform for as many NPO’s as possible to participate. This will raise awareness for their cause, allow them a greater reach within their community and even options for making some money to help support their cause. We also host a networking breakfast every month, for organisations to get together and share their story. And of course, this newsletter, aimed at providing an additional resource to help us combat the misdeeds and strife within our community and bring about a better tomorrow.

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A complete support system for non-profits to network, collaborate and combine forces on fundraising events.

Download the Memorandum of Understanding right here, and be part of a community working together to become sustainable!

Selected Given Gain Cause
Sometimes the only way to survive is to appeal to people for help.

RIME FC are a thoroughly deserving cause – a soccer team in Gugulethu that is providing kids with an escape from drugs and gangs. Even the smallest donation will help! 

I-CAN Centre
The value of a good education simply cannot be overestimated. Enhance your CV with these high-tech courses today!

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