Aasra Trust – Sending Children to School with Dignity

It is not just about sending children to school, but sending them to school with dignity.

 

With this motto, Aasraa’s outreach program has successfully changed the lives of 327 children living and attending school in Dehradun’s slum areas. The Aasraa Trust was established as a social work trust focusing on education of underprivileged children in India. The children they work with, come from extremely impoverished backgrounds and are mostly rag pickers, beggars, addicts, runaways and orphans. Aasraa works towards empowering street and slum children through education, vocational training, nutrition, medical care, and providing shelter homes.

 

A lot of slum students were found to drop out of Aasra’s outreach program between the months of November to February in Dehradun. After some investigation, it was found that the little children were unable to stand the biting cold during those months. Since majority of these children came from low income families, their parents could not afford appropriate school uniform for the winter months, which was consequently affecting their learning and education program. Winters in Dehradun can be harsh, and the lack of winter school uniform did not help the situation.

 

The good people at Aasra were not about to let a slight weather condition meddle with the education of these children. In order for the children to continue going to school, without distressing their families, the trust decided to run a campaign on Impact Guru, and raise funds to provide each of them a set of winter uniform. The motive behind this campaign was to ensure that these students felt confident in going to school, and fit in with the rest of their peers. A set of winter uniform would include two full-sleeved shirts, two-worsted trousers/skirt, a sweater, a blazer, a cap, 2 pairs of socks, and 2 thermals.

 

Their target through the crowdfunding campaign via Impact Guru was to raise INR 2,00,000, but their story won the support of many, and the campaign achieved way beyond their target. Aasraa raised INR 4,20,407 within 36 days, as against their initial goal of INR 2,00,000.

 

So what was the secret behind their fundraiser’s success?

 

Use of audio-visuals

 

The team at Aasraa created a wonderful video explaining the plight of these children from financially weak homes, and the need for them to have adequate warm clothing for their health, as well as education.

 

Emotionally inviting campaign title

The title of the campaign –  ‘A sweater for Sonu’, itself, was enough to draw the attention of sympathizers, for it added a personal touch, giving us a glimpse into the lives of these amazing children.

 

Powerful narrative through their campaign story with honest goals

Their campaign story was a strong narrative about the problem and why it needed to be addressed. Moreover, it concluded with a proper break up of how the funds received through the crowdfunding campaign would be utilized. Their clear and honest goals instilled faith in the donors that their contributions would surely be put to good use.

 

Photographs of the children in school

Through their pictures of the outreach program, the donors were able to put a face to the children whose lives they would positively be impacting.

 

Proactive social media promotions

Additionally, Aasraa, along with our team at Impact Guru, were actively promoting their campaign in different circles, with the help of email marketing, and social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Google+, and LinkedIn.

 

It surely did not take magic to put a smile on these children’s faces. All it took was careful planning and stellar execution by Aasraa and Impact Guru’s team. So what are you waiting for? Make sure that you tick mark all the above-mentioned points for your own fundraisers and make them stand out while making them successful.

 

Also, Impact Guru has recently entered into an exclusive partnership with Global Giving, which allows international donors in UK and USA to contribute towards campaigns on their platform. The reason being that the pattern of foreign donations in India has highlighted child welfare, education, rural development, and public health, as the categories with the most amount of foreign funding. This is a great opportunity for your NGO to raise money from donors in India as well as abroad!

 

Hurry! Make your fundraiser LIVE on Impact Guru today!

How Foreign Donations are Revolutionising the Indian Social Sector

According to an article by the Hindustan Times, foreign donations to Indian NGOs was at a soaring amount of INR 12,000 crores in the year 2013-2014. This number nearly doubled to INR 22,000 crores in the year 2014-2015. It is to be noted that majority of the foreign donations to Indian NGOs was distributed across seven states – Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and West Bengal.

 

The drastic increase of NRI donation calls for an enlightening discussion about the potential of crowdfunding for NGOs in India through NRI donations, and the role of the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) in paving way for overall social development in a number of sectors.  The pattern of foreign donations in India has highlighted child welfare, education, rural development, and public health, as the categories with the most amount of foreign funding. The consequence of this is that we have taken a significant step in improving and securing the future generations of India by growing in these categories, and allowing common man an easier access to it.

 

Cutting back to a few years ago, NGOs had very few options to financially sustain their work. It was mostly philanthropic individuals, charitable trusts, and more recently, CSR initiatives by large corporates that made the most contributions. But today the opportunities are bursting through the seams. The era of internet connectivity and tech innovations have expanded the scope of fundraising activities that a nonprofit can take up. Crowdfunding is a case in point, where anyone, from business, to NGOs, and individuals, can raise money for projects ranging from personal needs, social work, capital for business ideas, medical expenses, to educational expenses. All you have to do is pitch your idea, make an appeal to your circles on social media, and ask them to donate to your cause and share it with others if the idea resonates with them. The more viral it gets, the more donations you draw. This has brought success to innumerable startups, social enterprises, NGOs, and individuals world over, as well as in India.

 

On the other hand, the opportunities that foreign donations brought to the social sector, are no less. The FCRA implemented in 2010 came as a blessing to NGOs and nonprofits who truly wanted to further their projects in the development sector. FCRA enables individuals, associations, and NGOs in India to receive foreign funding after a formal registration process.

 

An interesting dynamic can be established between the two aspects (crowdfunding and foreign donations) in the social sector. A combination of NRI donations and crowdfunding for NGOs in India not only allows NGOs to raise funds with higher currencies, but will also keep a check on the utilization of funds received, and the projects undertaken with those funds. Moreover, social media communication, which is fundamental to crowdfunding is a great catalyst to draw in, and encourage NRIs to make donations towards development in their homeland. This also puts responsibility of accountability on Indian NGOs to utilize the funds they receive through NRI donations, appropriately. Interestingly, FCRA prohibits political funding through this method.

 

The bottom line is that crowdfunding in combination with foreign donations has the potential to be a sustainable financial model for NGOs in India, looking to create a better India with their various interventions. As long as the ulterior motive is to add long-term benefit to society, there is no reason that individuals or corporates, both, in India and overseas won’t want to be a part of it. The only questions remains is if Indian NGOs and nonprofits are quick enough to recognize and seize such opportunities.

 

Indian donors living in the UK and USA, can donate towards vetted NGOs in India now, and are further incentivised to participate in India’s development activities, by claiming tax benefits from their own government. The Indian NGOs that are interested to reap the benefits of this partnership may visit this link.

Strategic Philanthropy: The new game-changer in the world of Giving

4% of the world’s billionaire are of Indian origin. In comparison to most developing countries, philanthropy in India has grown a lot in the recent years. No longer are we caught in the stereotype that the Indian population is engaged in philanthropy and giving, but only when it comes to temples and religious institutions. In the recent years, it has been observed that India’s younger generation has created a new wave of social responsibility in giving. As the Indian economy is growing with the spending capacity of people increasing, the individualistic mindset of people is also undergoing a change. Such a change in thought isn’t just limited to individuals and groups, but also corporate, who have recognized the benefits of what has been termed as – ‘strategic giving’.

 

Let’s begin by understanding what strategic giving really is. No, it isn’t just an annual CSR activity where you sign a grant cheque for a non profit, and in turn gain some goodwill. The relationship between a corporate and a nonprofit is much more nuanced, in a way that ensures both are equal beneficiaries of the partnership. This means companies ensure that their charitable giving activities are targeted towards a certain issue that will support their own business objectives. For that, companies need a pre-determined strategy that includes, goals, budgets, investments, and long-term giving objectives. That said, strategic giving can be narrowed down by certain criteria that define its underlying logic.

 

  • Fundraising activities are chosen based on pragmatic rationale, as opposed to emotion.
  • A company’s fundraiser will have a common area of focus, one that aligns to its value objectives.
  • A strategic giver aims to give larger donations, but to fewer causes.
  • Strategic giving isn’t just about money, but also about volunteering, collaboration, and activating personal networks.

 

Contemporary philanthropy has taken many different forms. With technology and digitization playing a major role in our lives, the newer generation is leaning towards online giving through online donations. One simply has to choose an online crowdfunding platform and set up a campaign for the cause. Especially with the impact of demonetization on our economy, crowdfunding in India is picking up pace quickly. All of these factors, among others, need to be taken into consideration before creating a concrete plan of strategic giving for an organization. Besides, it’s not enough to just have an initial plan, such a form of philanthropy is an ongoing process that requires timely monitoring and evaluation. To provide deeper insight into such a process, we’ve listed out the elements that one should consider before developing a plan of strategic philanthropy.

 

The fundamental reason for giving

Define your aspirations. The underlying theme of any philanthropic activity needs to be to create an impact and bring a change. If you are able to understand the purpose you want to achieve through your charitable deeds and donations, then you’ll have more clarity on how to go about it. The best way to figure this one out is by imagining the outcome you would like to see from your efforts. When you know which cause matter to you most, you’ll be able to carefully select a few organizations to support.

 

How you’ll go about it

Consolidate all the resources you are putting in. This means you need to determine your financial resources available for donations, your team that will be involved, volunteer work, and the time you can dedicate to the project.

 

The channels through which you will give

Determining a tangible way to donate, one that best suits your organization is an important element of strategic giving. With the development of concepts like crowdfunding, most people are opting for online giving. Also remember that money isn’t everything. You can add value, through personal resources, personal networks, communication assistance, etc.

 

The time frame

How far ahead are you willing to commit? In most cases, strategic giving involves a long-term relationship, wherein the nonprofit and the company are dependent on each other in equal parts. Having long-term plans allow financial stability to a nonprofit. However, the time frame depends entirely on a company’s business forecast.

 

Strategic philanthropists are most successful when their charitable giving reflects the vision and mission of their own businesses. The reason is that donating to an organization doesn’t just mean giving a donation, but it means that you have aligned yourself with their cause. Therefore it is vital to pick organizations that you are comfortable being associated with for a long time. Going further beyond, organizations should aim to leave a legacy with their philanthropic strategy. Take the example of the TATA group, that is known and honored for their contribution in the charitable sector. With regards to philanthropy in India, the TATA group formed one of the largest trusts that has fueled innumerable development projects in the country.

 

Strategic giving make a difference not only in how you are viewed, but also in increasing business opportunities, drawing in employees, as well as in providing a meaningful way to express one’s personal philosophies. Now, more than ever, corporates are in the midst of a culture that propagates social responsibility. With an array of options such as online fundraising and crowdfunding, corporates have the chance to grow their philanthropic portfolio and make it as comprehensive as possible. Implementing a strong strategy for giving is the best way to do well in your own ventures, as well as to make a difference in society.

 

Craft your strategy to change lives today!