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What are SDGs and why do they matter?

SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) are a set of targets adopted by the UN in 2015 for global development. The vision is peace and prosperity for all people, and care for the planet by 2030. More specifically, the targets aim to end poverty, hunger, AIDS and discrimination against women and girls.

Countries around the world have committed to investing in projects and organisations that further these goals. Every country in the UN is required to monitor their progress and evaluate how they could improve. Funders are increasingly looking for nonprofits that are actively engaged with these SDGs. Corporates and institutions are writing SDGs into their strategies and theories of change – learn to speak their language and make your application an easy ‘yes’.

 The 17 targets include Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education, and Affordable and Clean Energy. You can see a full list here.

 If you’re a nonprofit in South Africa, you’re probably already contributing to one of the goals. By becoming aware of the SDGs, you can pivot to gain the edge when applying for funding and, ultimately, achieve a greater impact for your cause that lasts long into the future.  

 For instance, if you work in sustainable fashion, recycling or upcycling materials, then you are contributing to the SDG of Responsible Consumption and Production.

 If your mission is to help unemployed people find work or to eradicate human trafficking, then you are working towards the SDG of Decent Work and Economic Growth.

 If your work builds local democracy or holds institutions to account, then you are moving the needle on the Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions goal.

 If you work to improve the lives of immigrants or people from disadvantaged or marginalized backgrounds, you are contributing to the UN goal of Reduced Inequalities that promotes the economic inclusion of all people.

 It’s not a case of changing what you do, just reframing it in the light of a global context. Small tweaks and a slightly different emphasis could go a long way to help boost your impact.

 These targets represent a global community effort to improve the state of our world by 2030. Nonprofits that choose to engage actively with SDGs can gain legitimacy, a competitive edge in securing funding, and access to more opportunities and potential partnerships. They are a chance to align your local mission with a global strategy for lasting change.

Want to know more?  Download our full guide on NPOs and the SDGs