Harvard and Ivy League alumni come together to crowdfund for a good cause

The Harvard Club of Mumbai, IvyPlus Network, and crowdfunding platform Impact Guru are bringing together India’s Ivy League community to fundraise for a social cause. The community has already raised over INR 85,000 in less than two weeks from individuals and hopes to raise a lot more for nonprofit Indus Action that enables children’s right to quality education.

India’s crowdfunding culture, still new, is banking on the growth of the internet and social media boom in the country. The “Wine. Dine.(Feel) Fine Mixer” is happening on September 19 in Mumbai and is spearheaded by Impact Guru, a crowdfunding platform for NGOs, incubated at Harvard Innovation Lab.  Impact Guru empowers individuals and corporates to give to nonprofits in India by providing a simple and social way of raising money for social causes through crowdfunding. The platform was inaugurated by Union Cabinet Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi.

The fundraising event is in partnership with the Harvard Club of Mumbai and IvyPlus Network which consists of 40 elite US and Europe based academic institutions such as Penn, INSEAD, London Business School, MIT, and Stanford.  The Sep 19 event is raising money for Indus Action, a nonprofit which lets underprivileged children access their right to quality education. Indus Action was started by a Harvard alumnus and seeks to mobilize public resources and empower communities to solve India’s deep-rooted problems in areas such as education, public health, law enforcement and accountability.

As a platform, Impact Guru is banking on is the power of social media. According to Founder and CEO, Piyush Jain, a Harvard alumnus himself, social media is playing such an important part in our daily lives that everyone’s Facebook wall is now an invaluable digital real estate that has a potential to be used for social good. Impact Guru is the first platform in the world that rewards the act of sharing a charity fundraiser on social media by making a donation per Facebook share. The amount of the donation per share could be as high as Rs 1,000 depending on certain conditions. This Impact Guru innovation is called SMILE or Social Media Impact Linked Engagement.

Platforms like Impact Guru are trying to solve a problem the 3.3 million non-profits across India face, everyday trying to find alternatives to traditional forms of fundraising which are often inadequate and always expensive. According to Impact Guru’s research, the fundraising cost for nonprofits is as high as 35% of the funds raised. With its technology platform, the cost can drop to as low as 5%, the lowest in the crowdfunding industry.

Let’s transform lives one child at a time!

Here’s how you can help shape a child’s future

I’m sure you’ve heard of India’s very progressive Right to Education Act enacted in 2009. But did you know that as per Section (1)© of the Act, all private and unaided schools in India are required to reserve 25% seats for children from underprivileged backgrounds?

Wow, imagine potential this provision has, so many children will be able to get a good quality education. Delhi -based non-profit Indus Action’s Project Eklavya is enabling just that. Wherein they go door-to-door across low-income communities in Delhi to spread the word and help children access their right to education.

By 2020, 50% of children in India will attend private schools. Unfortunately, today’s reality indicates that a child’s school will be decided by his place of birth and family income. Moreover, without the knowledge of such a provision, most children from underprivileged backgrounds tend to drop out of public schools to work and earn a livelihood.

This policy has the potential to put roughly 10 million children across India on a different life path in the next 5 years, making it the single largest opportunity seat scheme in the world. So, how can you help transform somebody’s future?

> Educate yourself about the implications of illiteracy – Most of us are vaguely aware of the extent of illiteracy in India. But how many of us really know the impact of not educating a child? The cost of illiteracy in India stands at USD 27.7 billion annually, which is approximately 1.2% of the GDP (Source: The Guardian).

> Creating Awareness – First step to curbing this problem is talking about it to your family, friends, social media connections. Yes, spread the word. According to a 2012 research conducted by JPAL, less than 3% of eligible families in Delhi are aware of this opportunity, resulting in 35,000 opportunity seats to go unveiled annually. Start by educating those around you – whether it is your househelp, building guard or driver. Or you could even start an initiative to educate low-income communities within your locality to help them understand their rights.

> Volunteer with a nonprofit organization – We have all volunteered as college students with a public school near our college. Bring back that passion for change. It’s only a matter of an hour or two over the weekends. And if you aren’t sure where to start, then find and reach out to an NGO in your city on www.impactguru.com.

> Support organizations that make education accessible among low-income communities – Entrepreneurs and social leaders are using their skillset to create innovative tech & non-tech based solutions to educate children in rural areas and urban slums. Whether it is helping them secure admission in a quality school, providing low-cost audio guides or providing relevant vocational training.

At Impact Guru, we are organizing a fundraising mixer to support Indus Action’s initiative to reach out 10,000 low-income families to help send their children to school on Sep 19 in Mumbai. So, join us to celebrate children and start making a difference: www.impactguru.com/WDF-Mixer

Do you dream of a better world, a world without hunger, rapes, poverty and gender discrimination

Do you dream of a better world, a world without hunger, rapes, poverty and gender discrimination? A world where we are equals. A world where a child does not have to beg for food, clothes or his right to education? A world where old age brings happiness and not insecurity. And disability is not a curse. Yes, the world of our dreams.

The wait is over as we’re launching soon…so you can launch your dreams… so dare to dream and crowd-fund a better world @ www.impactguru.com

Change begins at Impact Guru ! Stay tuned for more launch related updates.