Nicarela is a non-profit organisation that supports over 30 different organisations, including bursaries for scholars in the local community.

Eleven years ago, the Parkview Charity Christmas Market was launched and, up to the previous year, over R5 million has been raised for the various beneficiaries. This year, the Parkview Charity Christmas Market has 90 different craft stalls, entertainment, food & drinks and kiddies zone. Annually, over 10 000 visitors attend the market – it has become a ‘must not miss’ on the calendar!

Bridget von Holdt

Other Nicarela events during the year include the annual potjiekos competition and Halloween in the Park. All the work is done by volunteers from the community and the Nicarela team so that so much more can be donated to those that really need support.

u|Chief NGO World spoke to Bridget von Holdt, who has been involved with the market since the beginning and is looking forward to the 2017 Market to be held on 24-26 November 2017.


People have an amazing ability to GIVE and that is our biggest asset.


What were the origins of Nicarela?

It was started by a member of the Parkview community, Karola McArthur and a group of her colleagues. There was a growing need for organisations to receive funding and support and a great way of doing this was to have fun and, at the same time, raise money via the market for the 30 different beneficiaries that are supported by the Nicarela charity.


What were the challenges in terms of starting Nicarela?

It is a competitive environment as there are lots of markets, but this one has stood its ground and become a popular market on the annual calendar. Also, all of the ‘workers’ are volunteers who hold down day jobs at the same time. So the challenge is always with managing time and expectations, driving the deadlines! And attracting people to come to the market and spend their money.

What have been the successes that give you the most pride?

Getting people through the gates. The show is compact but exciting. The 90 different stall holders are all crafters – making great ideas for Christmas stockings and gifts, and they are all so supportive. We have had challenges with the different cashless environments, and the stallholders have been nothing more than supportive, honourable and just amazing. I think we have the best stallholders in the whole of Johannesburg! We have raised over R5m for the different charities over the last 10 years… And it is all done by a bunch of volunteers! Of course, with a bit of help from corporates who help with sponsorship.


Money spent this way has a far greater impact than another office Christmas party!


What are your future goals and aims for Nicarela?

To be able to maintain and sustain our contribution to the different beneficiaries. Through our various channels we are also able to assist and guide the charities / organisations in term of management guidelines, and even offer people to sit on their boards


What are the staffing challenges in your niche?

We are ALL volunteers. There are 20 ++++ people that work on the committee and they each have their extended teams. People have an amazing ability to GIVE and that is our biggest asset.


We have the best stallholders in the whole of Johannesburg


What is Nicarela’s goal as an organization?

To raise between R600 000 to R1m per annum going forward in order to support our initiatives.


Tell us about the upcoming Parkview Charity Christmas Market 2017?

The market should attract around 10 000 people. We want people to come and shop and relax in an family-friendly environment. We have a dedicated an exciting kiddies zone, over 90 stalls, food and drink, including a Gin bar, a champagne and oyster bar, and beer tent, great entertainment – a line up from Friday to Sunday, and so much more. We want people to open up their hearts, come and have fun and spend a bit of money at the same time.


Is there anything you are still looking for in terms of assistance?

Sponsorship would be helpful, such as from one of the mobile operators, Telkom, the fibre operators, banks, and so on. After all, they are talking to an audience that is in the upper demographic group. It would be wonderful if a company came on board and not only gave us money, but used this as a marketing opportunity with activations, competitions and perhaps even giving their staff the opportunity to be part of a great cause. Money spent this way has a far greater impact than another office Christmas party!


What is your best financial advice for NGOs?

Run a proper set of financials.  Manage your finances. We are lucky – no-one earns a salary. All the money goes to charity so we do not have to explain operational charges. Our committee consists of experts and skilled people who are like-minded and want to do this. So we have the CAs, the marketers, the co-ordinators, the admin experts and most of all the passion.


How important are NGOs in South Africa?

They are needed.  There are some that do this as a business and while there is nothing wrong with taking home a salary, there must be governance and transparency.


We have raised over R5m for the different charities over the last 10 years.

How can an individual or corporate evaluate an NGO in terms of being a good fit for them?

A corporate needs to have a CSI / CSR policy.  There are no right or wrongs.  But if the corporate is doing this for BEE points, then you need to have a registered NGO. Is the company doing this for points only, or is it about being a corporate citizen?  Is it about building staff responsibility and building a team?  Is it just about chequebook charity.