The changing art of giving
Bain and Co.’s India Philanthropy Report 2017 indicates that the philanthropy space in the country has matured in the last five years. Funds contributed by individual philanthropists have been rising steadily, growing faster than foreign sources and contributions through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Alongside, the CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) World Giving Index 2017 indicates that India has moved up to a rank of 81 (among 139 countries) from 91 in 2016 (which looked at data from 140 countries).
But how does all this really translate on the ground? Have Indians, especially those who do not have deep pockets, really changed their attitude towards charity and volunteerism to bring about social change?
At the ongoing 8th edition of Daan Utsav or Joy of Giving Week, Venkat Krishnan N., one of the volunteers who evangelizes the event, said there has definitely been a change in mindset, especially among urban folk.
“In the last decade or so, people in cities have a little more time on their hands, with most of corporate India moving to a five-day week. That automatically means 50 free days. Things have also shifted on the financial front with professionals in their 30s not struggling to survive. Time and money has made people want to work to bring in a positive social change,” said Krishnan, who is also co-founder and director of Educational Initiatives Pvt. Ltd.
One aspect of being involved in giving, which Krishnan said has emerged lately, is connected to individuals getting upset about a problem and then deciding to do something about it. But for this effort to be sustainable, Anu Prasad, senior adviser at Central Square Foundation and co-founder of the India Leaders for Social Sector programme (ILSS), said that people have to first be open to re-learning and volunteering.
“A few hours a week support an NGO (non-governmental organization) to gain an understanding of the work and what it takes to be effective in the social sector. Also, meet and engage with the different people that play a role in the social sector to understand it better,” she explained.
Another factor that has worked to shift mindsets is social media, which has worked in two ways: It has made it easy for people to discuss a problem and create awareness, and it has made it possible to get in touch with like-minded people to help in causes you believe in. “People don’t need to wait for friends or acquaintances to buy into the causes they believe in. You can now go online, find strangers who support your cause and work with them,” said Krishnan.
In fact, many social sector organizations have of late used social media effectively to find volunteers and funding. “Teach for India is an organization that has harnessed the power of innovative marketing through the use of social media and technology to host tweet-a-thons and other marketing campaigns. It has benefited greatly in terms of exposure, reputation as well as funding from their innovative use of technology,” said Prasad of ILSS, which recently announced a nine-day workshop in January 2018 targeting senior leaders interested in meaningfully transitioning into the social sector.
During Daan Utsav, to understand how the giving landscape is evolving in urban India, we spoke to four new-age change-makers in the social space to understand how they are engaging with people, raising funds and finding volunteers. Their lessons could be the catalyst you need to move from thinking about giving back to society to actually getting down to doing it.
You can read about the four new-age change-makers here:
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