Want a cause? Help is at hand

A new website aims to put your bleeding heart in touch with the NGO that works for your beloved cause, and vice versa, across India, across causes

The masses' fervid response to Anna Hazare's call for an effective Jan Lokpal bill and the anti-corruption movement earlier this year has made it amply clear that India is in a belligerent mood and hungry to take up causes it believes in. In such an atmosphere, Pick a Fight (.in) could be the perfect conduit between passionate-but-directionless crusaders, and the non-profit organisations and resources they need to see their causes through to fruition.

Co-founder, Pick a Fight (.com), pictured here at his Vikhroli office
Pic/ Suresh KK

Launched in May 2011 by techies Sumit Gupta, Anupama Sharma and Ketan Bhatia, the website is an attempt to connect those fighting for a cause and looking for help with those who are willing to help. The objective, as Gupta, co-founder, puts it, is "to provide quality help in terms of finances, volunteers or other resources to different NGOs and people fighting for a cause by using our network and reach using the internet / social mediums, and to provide opportunities for people to help if they want to volunteer or offer their resources in any area of their interest."

Gupta admits that his background as a software professional doesn't really give him or the other two co-founders the experience required in the social sector to pull off such an ambitious enterprise. But he's quick to add, "But that makes us look at things from fresh eyes and think of out-of-the-box solutions. I don't think the lack of experience in the social sector can match the enthusiasm and desire to see a better India," he feels.

The idea, he says, was born out of a need to create a comprehensive resource for people who may want to address an issue, but lack the wherewithal and tools to do it. "We knew a lot of people who wanted to help and contribute to society but didn't know how. Similarly, many NGOs were unaware of advances in technology that can help them. We try to bridge that gap for them by spreading their message."

He continues, "A website is a common channel for anybody to reach us, see the work we are doing and explore options about how each one of us can contribute to the cause. It will be a repository of all the work we are doing, in all cities and will also provide options for people or NGOs to register with us and start working."

It's still early, however, and for now, Pick a Fight has been most active in Bengaluru, where it has been working with 7-8 NGOs, including Gift Your Organ, Beyond Carlton, The Dental Foundation and other schools, orphanages and old age homes actively. "We have also just set up teams of 4-8 volunteers in New Delhi and Mumbai. Once the Bengaluru and New Delhi chapters are up and running, we'll figure out the same for the other cities," adds Gupta.

Why the slow going? "We aim to work with people / NGOs who our team members know personally and can trust. This keeps the work focused, but it might be a little slow," he counters. Future plans include a feature on the site that will let people mark NGOs on a map, so that others can see which NGO offices are nearby and step up to help, fostering community involvement.

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