What is a non profit supposed to do when they receive a hefty donation, potentially life changing, but end up beholden to the donor rather than their target demographic? Well, the answer is pretty simple and unfortunate: nothing. Most non profits run completely on the whims of their many donors. This style of non profit prevents most funds from ever really making the life changing impact that they planned when first setting out. It is this perspective that has fueled Andrew Rolfe, Jacob Lief, and the rest of the team at the Ubuntu Fund. Their new technique on fund raising is as simple as it is revolutionary and it could just end up saving lives everywhere.
The Ubuntu Fund’s new focus, as explained by Jacob Lief, is to set their sights on donors who can let go of their donation in order to allow the fund more control during the process. Jacob Lief was at the World Economic Forum in Davos when he came to the startling realization that would fuel this change: “The money was flowing in but we weren’t changing people’s lives.” This was pretty startling to hear for Andrew Rolfe and Lief as their work has taken on renowned importance over the years. The Ubuntu Education Fund is focused on helping impoverished and vulnerable children who live in South Africa and, more specifically, the Eastern Cape.
In order to more effectively reach those children Andrew Rolfe and the rest of the board decided to focus where they find their donations. Lief explained the Ubuntu Model by saying, “We now go for high net-worth individuals or family foundations who understand that highly restricted funding isn’t worth our time.” As a result the Ubuntu Model is receiving a smaller budget in terms of donations but that money is much more effectively being spent. The result is that the Ubuntu Education Fund is booming despite making less money than before.
Overactive donors mean well but ultimately can cause disruptions in the way that non profits are supposed to work. With the Ubuntu Model in place there is potential for non profits everywhere to truly make the difference that they seek.