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!

Famous Celebrities who Rescued & Adopted their Pets

Adopting a pet is the best way to own a pet, and you don’t need an animal welfare activist to tell you that. If you look around, especially in India, there are innumerable stray cats, dogs, and birds who loiter around the streets looking for scraps of food and water. Infact, animal lovers and welfare NGOs have helped animals by participating in the #PledgeABowl initiative this year, to help the urban stray this summer, by providing bowls of water, so that they don’t die of dehydration. All of these helpless animals need a home. Here to lead by example, these celebrities dismissed the concept of buying a pet from a breeder, and instead chose to adopt a pet that needed a loving home.

 

Have a look at your favourite celebrities with their unbelievably cute rescue animals:

 

George Clooney and Einstein

Clooney has already adopted his third dog, but his rescued cocker spaniel Einstein is closest to his heart.

 

Anne Hathaway and Kenobi

Anne Hathaway and her husband Adam Shulman have a new addition to their family – Kenobi.

 

Sandra Bullock and her 3 rescues

Poppy, a Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix with three legs. Ruby, a two-legged Chihuahua, and BeBe (not pictured), a Chihuahua that’s missing an eye.

 

Hilary Swank with Rumi and Kai

A strong animal rights activist, she is co-producing Fox’s Cause for Paws: an all star dog special show.

 

Jennifer Aniston and Sophie

Jennifer gave Sophie, a pitbull, a beautiful home.

Image via Celebrities and their Rescue Dogs

 

Miley Cyrus and Milky

This is Miley’s adorable white rescue pitbull named Milky.

 

Ryan Reynolds and Baxter

He fell in love with Baxter when he visited a dog shelter in Texas.

 

Charlize Theron and Tucker

A passionate animal welfare activist, she has adopted at least 4 rescue dogs.

 

Ariana Grande and Toulouse

Toulouse’s life changed after Ariana Grande adopted him from an animal shelter home.

 

Ed Sheeran and Graham

Here’s another cat person. Ed Sheeran adopted little Graham, and even made a Twitter account for him!

 

Selena Gomez and Baylor

Baylor is Selena Gomez’s 6th rescue pup.

 

Orlando Bloom and Sidi

He found Sidi while shooting for a film in Africa.

 

Miranda Lambert and her six rescues

We sure have a dog lover here. Miranda adopted 3 of them from a shelter home, and she found the other 3 in various places.

 

John Legend and Penny

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen added Penny, a three-legged pup to their family full of dogs.

 

We can all learn from these celebrities who chose to adopt rather than buy, and look to adopt our own community of stray animals, to help them in any way that we can.

 

Save our furry friends from dying this summer – #PledgeABowl!

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.