Sometimes, you have to change your strategy to achieve more with what you have. This decision was the case for Ubuntu Education Fund, a foundation with the goal of helping children that have been victims of hunger and poverty in a township in South Africa. They help by providing food, education, and health to the families of those kids.
The donations that the foundation was doing were going to events such as the World Economic Forum. However, these high-profile gatherings were not being proactive towards their goal as they were not noticing any changes being made in the lives of those children. These meetings were packed with opportunities for charitable donations, but they were always filled with restrictions that Lief, the founder of the foundation, realized were just hindering their primary objective.
Through what they call “Ubuntu Model” the organization now favors families and people that don’t have restrictions on their funding programs. By working together with this community, they have decided to think carefully about each child and the reality they are experiencing. It is not easy though, as donors are always requesting something specific to be done with the money they were donating. This divergence in priorities between donors and the goal of the organization creates a lot of tension and misunderstanding though, but it seems to be the right path to make a difference.
The amount of funding has been increasing for the past few years, even if slowly. The operating cost is also increasing, having had a price increase of 5% in 6 years since 2008. It is important for these organizations that they are also able to raise money for improving the efficiency of their system to provide better service when doing non-profitable work. For example, if somehow a small amount of the donation money could be invested in revamping the IT systems, it would make for a more efficient program.
One of the chairman of the Ubuntu Funding, Mr. Andrew Rolfe, is also supporting the decision on relying on donors with less resistance and prerequisites. This philosophy allows the organization to fully make a plan on how they are going to operate with that money, instead of each donor deciding what they want, which could result in a mess.
The Ubuntu Education Fund is a non profit that is dedicated to bringing education to the impoverished and at risk children that live in the Eastern Cape of South Africa — specifically Port Elizabeth. Jacob Lief is the founder and chief executive at the Ubuntu Fund and it has been his goal to make a difference in that region for years. While on a speaking engagement at the World Economic Forum Lief came to a stunning and unwelcome conclusion: despite the hard work of the Ubuntu Fund in raising money, they still weren’t making a big enough difference. This lead Lief to approach his board, including Andrew Rolfe, in order to brainstorm up a model alteration.
The Ubuntu Model is the new name for how non profits are attacking their fund raising goals. The traditional role of a non profit in raising money is to just ask as many people as possible in order to raise as much money as possible. Unfortunately this leads to a situation where benefactors maintain all of the control and can thus sway how the non profit actually runs. Jacob Lief realized that benefactors were earmarking money and keeping it out of the hands of the children in South Africa so he decided to make this change. This lead Andrew Rolfe and the rest of the team to focus on benefactors who can donate with no strings attached. This is accomplished primarily by focusing on benefactors with a high net worth as well as family run foundations. These two benefactor sources seem to be the most lenient in terms of letting the non profit work as they will.
Andrew Rolfe and the rest of the board at Ubuntu Fund knew that this was going to be a risky proposition. Limiting the amount of benefactors you receive can almost always be seen as a bad thing, right? Not exactly. In this instance the Ubuntu Model has proven far more effective than anyone else could have predicted. Focusing on high quality benefactors has resulted in an improvement in terms of efficiency. Less donors are arriving but more money is making its way to the people who need it.
Andrew Rolfe is a revered businessman and entrepreneur. He serves as the Chairman of The Ubuntu Education Fund. The fund is managed by a panel of experienced and qualified directors. Over the years, Ubuntu has restructured its fundraising campaign strategy to ensure that the primary goal of the initiative is met.
Andrew Rolfe and the panel of directors started to reject the funding that held a myriad of restrictions and terms to it including partnering with high valued people and family foundations. This move was due to the fact that these kinds of funds did not benefit the people who it was initially set up for. These organizations wanted to dictate how the finances would be used. Despite the fact that NPOs require a consistent flow of finances, Andrew Rolfe stated that the operational budget would be smaller, but Ubuntu would be able to attain the majority of its fundamental goals and also enable their programs to reach the people who actually need it.
The Ubuntu Education Fund
This fund provides an intriguing insight on how social initiatives and nonprofit organizations can substantially implement feasible developments at the principal level. The fund was established by Jacob Lief and Malizole Gwaxula during the late 20th century with a goal of addressing the education plight of the vulnerable and orphan children that are situated in the Eastern Cape and Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The project was set off by the distribution of school equipment primarily through Gwaxula’s school.
The first initiative was met with the realization that various factors including HIV/AIDS, the quality of life and hunger largely worked in tandem with the lack of school equipment to impact the education quality in the area. They also found out that the conventional advancement models were not able to handle the convoluted issues that invariably affected the people. The Ubuntu model was established out of these facts and is now an internationally recognized organization.
The organization is enhanced and structured to work with these families individually to cater to the unique need of each child. It has been able to implement stable health, education and living initiatives that will ultimately improve the lives of the community.