While the concept of ‘crowdfunding’ is relatively new to India, generosity is certainly not.
Long before digital fundraising platforms were invented (or the internet for that matter), Indians had their own systems of ‘giving’, from donating to temples, to organising food for the homeless or sharing spare coins with someone in need.
So, you might be thinking, if we’re already good at ‘giving’, why do we need to get onboard with crowdfunding platforms?
I must admit, at first I was very sceptical of crowdfunding platforms, I thought it was like every other type of giving. But after running the Operation Peace Maker, Pavani and Pallavi crowdfunding campaign, I realise that they’re an extremely powerful tool for mobilizing support for causes that might otherwise be overlooked.
What is crowdfunding?
For those of you who don’t know, crowdfunding is a type of fundraising, which allows verified organisations or individuals to raise money online. It works on the premise that a broad donor base of individuals donating just a small amount of money each will reach large fundraising goals. It lets a community – or “crowd” – of individuals act collectively to make a really big difference. Crowdfunding has been used to finance some of the world’s coolest innovations (like those on Kickstarter) and support some of the world’s most life-changing non-profit initiatives.
They’re unique in that they provide giving opportunities on a large scale, with full transparency into how your money will be used and by whom. They’re becoming increasingly popular amongst millennials who know how to harness the power of online communities and bring people together to support an organisation, idea or cause. The power of crowdfunding is that it puts the the ability to make a BIG difference in our hands. No big donor machines, no long waiting times, no stale project reports. Just face to face interaction with the cause or project, and real-time support.
Pavani and Pallavi School Fund
The Pavani and Pallavi School Fund was developed in response to the need of one of our Operation PeaceMaker clients, Sandhya, who made the brave decision to leave her husband after 16 years of extreme abuse. Her main concern about leaving her husband was that she wouldn’t have enough money to send her two daughters to school while waiting for the court to grant her maintenance.
We knew that we would need approximately Rs. 100,000 to pay for the girls tuition text books, uniform and stationary, and we only had one month to get the money together. Our program budgets do not include funds for individual needs like this, but we knew we had to help. We chose the crowdfunding platform BitGiving because we wanted to support a local Indian company helping to pioneer crowd-based generosity in action in India. We loved how easy they made setting up our campaign, donating and spreading the word about our project. We were really comforted by the campaign application process, where each charity was required to submit a number of legal and financial documents to ensure their legitimacy.
In under one month we were able to raise 102 percent of our fundraising target, and extended our fantastic community of supporters in India. Last week, we were able to take the girls shopping for their school books and uniforms, we made a short video to keep our supporters in the loop.
Top five reasons to give through crowdfunding platforms:
- No posers… You can be assured that the charity and campaign are legitimate because every organisation is put through a very strict vetting process where they are required to submit legal and financial documents as well a proposal for their campaign before they are allowed to use the platform. If you want to know more about how this is done, it’s easy to look into the process each site uses, or just contact the charity and ask them directly. You deserve to have all the facts.
- Full transparency… You know exactly where your money is going. Sometimes when you give to a larger charity, you can’t be sure which project your money will be spent on. With crowdfunding platforms the charity has to specify in detail where and how the money will be spent. You decide if the story is compelling enough, and if you don’t have enough detail …. Again, just get in touch!
- Stay in the loop… You become part of a community. We were so humbled by the community we built around the Pavani and Pallavi School Fund. Its exciting for us to share our successes with everyone who contributed to the campaign with videos and newsletters updates. We also keep our community in the loop about other giving opportunities. The best crowdfunders love every comment, email, tweet, post they get and interacting with supporters.
- Commitment phobic? No worries… Unlike other types of giving, you are only required to give as much as you like when you like, no strings attached. So whether you want to really engage with the cause or just “do good” and move on, you can have it your way.
- Make a real difference…The best part is, you get to choose what you want to support. The power is in your hands to made a decision about what campaigns you think will have the most impact or are of the most important to your community.
We really believe that India is entering a new phase of giving, which is being driven by our young and generous millennials! So if you’re feeling generous today, why not check out some of India’s leading crowdfunding platforms today and see what they’re all about.
Also, if you’re running the Airtel Hyderabad Marathon you can help us raise money for our anti- domestic violence and sex trafficking programs by creating your very own Ketto fundraising platform.
We love co-campaigning with you! So, if you have any questions just let us know in the comments section below, via email or through our Facebook page!
Happy crowdfunding to you!