The Ubuntu Education Fund is a well-known charity that helps impoverished children in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. According to chairman Andrew Rolfe, Ubuntu has had to rethink its fundraising strategy. In the past, board members would visit high-profile events, such as the World Economic Forum, in order to raise money. However, Andrew Rolfe and the organization’s leadership soon become frustrated with the limitations that donors often placed on funds. As a result, Ubuntu has shifted its focus to wealthy individuals and family foundations, which are more likely to approve funding without strings attached.
Ubuntu’s new strategy is part of an overall trend in greater selectivity on the part of charities. Gone are the days when charities indiscriminately chased financial backing. Charities understand more and more that money that is earmarked for certain purposes can do more harm than good. The most important thing is for charities and potential donors to be up front about their intentions. In this kind of matchmaking process, charities can focus on identifying the donors who will allow them to innovate and improve their efficiency. Although there have been several high-profile cases of court cases and conflicts over the years, for the most part disagreements between donors and charities is rare.
Andrew Rolfe is a private equity fund manager who heads up Ubuntu’s Board of Directors. He is a firm believer in Ubuntu’s mission and takes great pride in the charity’s work. Thanks to Andrew Rolfe’s leadership, thousands of children in South Africa’s poorest townships now enjoy a vastly improved quality of life and have access to basic services.