Home >Lounge >Business of Life >Indians embrace crowdfunding to help covid-related campaigns
Needy people wait in long queues to collect food from volunteers of a social organisation at Horla amid the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, in Noida. (PTI)
Needy people wait in long queues to collect food from volunteers of a social organisation at Horla amid the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, in Noida. (PTI)

Indians embrace crowdfunding to help covid-related campaigns

  • Most campaigns were for food distribution and elderly care
  • Crowdfunding platforms—where individuals can raise money for a cause with small donations from a large number of people—have seen an increase in the number of donations for covid-19-related campaigns

Two days after Alifya and Zafar Jhaveri, both 32, started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money and provide essentials to the needy during the lockdown, she hit her first milestone of 5 lakh. In 20 days, the campaign has received more than 17 lakh from 311 contributors, and counting. “I didn’t think we would be able to raise so much within such a short time," says Alifya, a Mumbai-based fashion stylist.

Crowdfunding platforms—where individuals can raise money for a cause with small donations from a large number of people—have seen an increase in the number of donations for covid-19-related campaigns. They have witnessed a record two donations per minute for such campaigns, compared to about one donation in two minutes for other fundraising initiatives. Tier 2 cities are also opening their wallets more, and contributing for local communities.

“There is a marked difference between campaigns raising money for coronavirus and for other causes. People are willing to give more generously when it’s linked to covid-19," says Varun Sheth, CEO and co-founder of crowdfunding platform Ketto. “The time for raising funds has gone up 100%," he says.

Sheth says the people are reading and hearing about the covid-19 crisis throughout the day and that has made an impact in an individual’s life. “It’s taking quarter of the time to reach campaign targets. For instance, if it took two days to reach a target amount for a fund; for coronavirus campaigns, it’s half a day."

Ketto has 850 active covid-19 related campaigns, most of which were about procuring essentials for migrant workers, besides personal protective equipment, and saving local businesses. The average ticket size has increased to 2,400 as compared to 2,000 for other campaigns.

Piyush Jain, co-founder of healthcare crowdfunding platform Impactguru.com, agrees: “There is definitely an uptick in donation amount as well as faster pace at which hosts are able to reach target amounts. Overall, the generosity towards covid-19-related donations has increased."

Most campaigns were for food distribution and elderly care, with some raising money for medical equipment and capacity building, Jain adds.

Alifya, Zafar and their friends, who own a restaurant, use the money raised via crowdfunding to buy rice, dal, vegetables and other staples in bulk from a vendor and re-pack them into portions that will last a family of four to 10 days. Local police and non-profits have started helping them distribute the supplies to the needy.

About three weeks ago, Prateek Bansal, a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College, London, and an IIT Delhi alumnus, and his friends started a crowdfunding campaign to help daily wagers and the elderly impacted by the pandemic. It’s raised close to 17 lakh from 350 donors, and the figure is rising. Their original target was 10 lakh. Most of the money has been distributed to four non-profit organizations.

“We didn’t expect to raise this much. Now we think we can raise more if we can promote it more," says Bansal, 28.

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