Ubuntu Educational Fund is a nonprofit who’s mission is to help disadvantaged children in the Port Elizabeth community in South Africa. They support their education as well as other needs such as food and transportation. For most of the nonprofit’s history, they worked with donors who had strings attached to what they gave. Eventually the leaders of the nonprofit, including the founder and Chief Executive Jacob Lief as well as Chairman of the Board Andrew Rolfe, realized that this was complete nonsense. So many strings were attached in so many ways that they couldn’t actually fulfill the mission that the charity was all about.
Leaving this world behind, Andrew Rolfe and Jacob Lief decided to only accept money from organizations and individuals who gave freely and didn’t dictate exactly how the money was to be used. They are now able to completely focus on effective ways of actually helping children thrive with educational opportunities in a string-free environment. They have said that they find family foundations and wealthy individuals who understand that highly restricting how the money is to be used is counter productive and hurts the mission of the nonprofit.
One example that Andrew Rolfe brings up is individuals who donate not so much to help the charity’s mission but instead just to get their name on a school or scholarship. They are more interested in boosting their brand than actually helping children like Ubuntu Educational Fund is designed to do. Not soliciting these type of people anymore has freed the leadership of the nonprofit up to engage with donors who actually care about what the nonprofit wants to accomplish and how they go effectively go about it.
One thing that Andrew Rolfe has stressed is that it’s important to set the donor’s expectations and involvement from the get-go so that there are no misunderstandings or wasting time on donors who aren’t really behind the nonprofit’s goals. He holds these discussions early in the process so that future conflicts can be avoided and so that everyone’s time and money can be more effectively used.