The Ubuntu Education Fund, a nonprofit that helps impoverished children in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province found that even after raising large sums of money, they were not able to change people’s lives. This is because of stipulations donors put on their funds. Now, the Ubuntu Fund turns down all grants and donations that have restrictions on them. The nonprofit works with a smaller budget but they can change more lives because of it.
Restricted donations dictate how the money was to be spent, even if that was not the best way to help people. Now, instead of serving donors who put restrictions on their donations, the Ubuntu Fund finds the best way to help the children. The Ubuntu Fund works with children on an individual level, providing education, health, and other things they would need to rise out of poverty.
Finding donors willing to spend money with no strings attached is not easy. Some want to dictate what program the money is spent on. Others want to be part of the day-to-day operations of the nonprofit. While having donors serve on a non-profit board can be beneficial if the donor has relevant professional experience, it also creates pressure to follow the donor’s wishes, even if that is not the direction the nonprofit wants to go.
What charities really need is an ongoing stream of restriction free money that can be spent on their programs, staff training, IT support, and whatever else they need to innovate new ways to help their cause.
Many people advising both charities and donors encourage discussion before donations to avoid conflicts later on. Even though high profile disputes between donors and charities still hit headlines now and then, relations have improved. More charities are saying no to restricted donations.
Andrew Rolfe is the board chairman for Ubuntu Fund. Andrew Rolfe has given continued and unconditional support to the Ubuntu Fund.
Andrew Rolfe was on the committee for a recent fundraising gala. Andrew Rolfe is committed to helping the children of Africa and the Ubuntu Fun in the best ways possible and in the ways that makes sense for the nonprofit.