Craig Featherby, Carrick’s CEO, is passionate about making a difference in the lives of Carrick clients and those around him. With the newly launched Carrick | Impact platform, his focus is on making measurable and, most importantly, impactful change.
When Craig Featherby started the Signature of Hope Trust seven years ago it was for the simple reason that he was disillusioned with where his financial aid was going. By starting his own non-profit organisation (NPO) he was able to ensure complete transparency and have control over where and how his contributions were distributed. The Trust was committed to “the vision of empowering people, building communities and changing lives on the African continent.”
Over the years Signature of Hope has successfully raised substantial funds and been involved in incredible projects, but midway through last year, Featherby felt he had to make a decision to continue with the Trust as is, or to take it to the next level. “Yes, we were making a difference, but I wanted to measure that change and the impact in communities,” he explains. “In my opinion, the bulk of charities have a ‘spray and pray’ approach. They do good things but never really measure the impact. Who is measuring the goodwill being done? Who is focusing on the core fundamentals of what you and I as donors want to focus on?”
He started researching the role of corporate South Africa and US-based corporates and what they do with regards to philanthropy (or what we call corporate social responsibility (CSR) or CSI (corporate social investment). Featherby admits that he is not a fan of the word philanthropy. “For most people it means that I’m going to ask you for something which I don’t think is right. Secondly, too many believe that in order to be a philanthropist, you need to be a Bill Gates. So I thought what about scrapping philanthropy altogether?”
And so the idea was born to build a brand off the back of Carrick Wealth. “The idea behind Carrick | Impact is simple,” says Featherby. “We don’t ask people to give money. We ask people to partner with Carrick and what better company to partner with than your own financial advisor, who you already trust with your own money?”
How does it work?
The investor or supporter contributes a portion of their money for investment on the Carrick Impact platform, where it hopefully grows and makes a profit. The platform has three pillars: PEOPLE : PLANET: YOUTH and under each of these pillars are various sub-organisations that have been vetted according to a 28-point checklist. The investor therefore has a choice as to where they would like to make an impact. Are you passionate about early childhood development (ECD)? Or is cancer research important to you? Or perhaps you want to support both rhino conservation and adult literacy, for example.
As the Signature of Hope Trust is already registered and governed as a NGO in South Africa, it will serve as the catching vehicle. So although the investor goes through the Carrick Impact portal, they are directed to Signature of Hope, which is audited and regulated.
“By partnering with Carrick, an authorised financial services provider, you are guaranteed regulations, transparency and professionalism,” adds Featherby. Then just as you would meet with your financial advisor on a quarterly basis for an update on your financial portfolio, you get a quarterly Impact report, showing your level of contribution as well as the actual impact in numbers that has been made to your organisation/s of choice.
Carrick | Impact is currently launching to the team, clients and stakeholders. “From there we will roll out to South African corporates as many have expressed interest in doing something or are possibly already doing something, but are disillusioned. We are able to white label the offering so other organisations can brand it as they like, but it is driven by our technology and through our platforms.”
The business is based on four elements, explains Featherby. “It needs to be measurable, sustainable, scalable, and repeatable.”
- Can we measure the success of your contributions towards ECD for example? Yes, we can.
- Is the program sustainable? Has it gone through the 28-point checklist? Yes, it has.
- Is it scalable? “It’s not about helping one child every three years – can we help 1000 children over 10 years?” If so, it’s scalable. And if it’s scalable it’s sustainable.
- It then needs to be repeatable – so what is achieved in a small location can be rolled out to a larger area.
“The whole concept is really about changing the face of how people view and refer to charity. If you genuinely want to do something, make sure whatever you’re doing is making an impact,” urges Featherby. “We have great financial advisors at Carrick and we generate great advice. By generating great advice, we generate great outcomes for clients. And I think that we’ve built up a good enough brand to be able to go to our 2 500 clients and say, ‘Thank you for trusting us with your wealth. Statistics tell us that 88% of people would like to do something meaningful with their money. Why don’t you start doing it in an impactful manner?”