'Give social media five to 10 years'
Venkat Krishnan, founder and director of GiveIndia, says it is still too early for the social media to have a significant impact on charity
What were the challenges you faced in the formative years?
One of the most important challenges that we have faced right from the beginning is outreach -- how do we make people aware of GiveIndia as a platform available for them to use, without spending a fortune on doing this. Another key challenge was finding and hiring a talented pool of passionate individuals with a corporate skill set, willing to work for much less in a not-for-profit organisation.
What was your vision when you first launched GiveIndia? How much have you achieved in the past 13 years?
The vision was to create a strong giving culture where Indians donate two per cent of their income every year to offer equal opportunity to the underprivileged. The idea was to create a vibrant ‘philanthropy marketplace’ to ensure that giving happens both efficiently and effectively.
GiveIndia now channels about Rs 30 crore per year, which is a decent number, but we have miles to go -- Indians are still giving under 0.3 per cent of their income. What we’re proud of is that we raise this money almost entirely from individuals.
How different do you think is the mindset of people today when it comes to donations, charity, helping for a cause?
I would think that people today are far more willing and eager to do so. The challenge continues to remain how best to reach people, let them know that there are vehicles available that ensure that (a) donors get to choose where their money goes (b) ensure that their donations are used for the purpose originally intended and (c) donors get reports updating them on how their money was used.
Do you think social media has changed the scenario?
It is still too early for social media to have a significant impact on these aspects. The biggest chunk of givers are people below 35 years of age and while many of them do use the social media, it is not their primary means of engaging with people.
Perhaps things will change in the next five to 10 years.