'People are no longer scared to donate online'

Jun 09, 2013, 01:23 IST | Phorum Dalal

GiveIndia, a non-profit organisation, completed 13 years last week. Phorum Dalal speaks to its CEO Dhaval Udani and founder-director Venkat Krishnan on their journey so far, the effect of social media on charity and the road ahead

A consultant for a global management consulting firm, Dhaval Udani quit is job in 2008, to join GiveIndia (GI), a non-profit online donation site that allows donors to donate to Indian NGOs, as chief information officer.

Dhaval Udani
Dhaval Udani at Give India office in Khetwadi. Pic/Madeeha Attari

“Since 2006, I was volunteering with GI, creating automated systems, feedback and report volumes and overlooking the work done by the technology vendor,” says Udani, who then became CEO in 2011

Bye, bye corporate world
While I was volunteering part-ime, Venkat had asked me to come on board, but I was unsure. The introduction of ‘online giving’ fascinated me and I was looking for an entrepreneurial experience. When I was sure the challenge was something I wanted to take on, I decided to leave my corporate avatar.

Why GiveIndia
The people I met were passionate about a cause, and this option was risk-aversive as I knew what I was getting into, having work with GI for over two years.

Year 2000
After GI was launched in 2000, the first three years were spent in getting NGOs on board. The organisation was working on ad hoc projects such as the Bhuj earthquake. Venkat was keen on sorting the backend thoroughly and understanding what worked well.

Most ambitious project
In 2003, GI introduced the online payroll project, and in the past nine years, it has been a big hit. In the first year, we had 500 employees from six companies donating a part of their salary every month, and today, we have 40,000 employees from 110 companies. In India, people want to donate but don’t want to go through any cumbersome process.

Indians and charity
The mindset of Indians has changed in the past decade. Today, they don’t ask why they should donate, they ask how they can donate.
Since 1991, the power of money has moved to younger people, who have a greater degree of awareness and are not insecure about their wealth. Working Indians between 25 and 50, want to take up charity projects.

Other projects
We have a customised project for HNIs (High net-worth individuals). We offer a wealth management system for these individuals, helping them figure out their philanthropy plan, making sure the money is utilised well. These are people who want to impart the strong value system they have gained from their parents, to their children; teaching them about caring for the right things. We organise clubs where philanthropists come together in conversation, get exposed to new projects and ideas.

Social media
I would say we are in the phase of learning and figuring out how this medium can be ultlised to the best. While NGOs are using it rampantly to create a buzz, I am not sure how much of it is converting into money. According to a global research, people usually donate or tie up with a cause that has been recommended by their family, friends or colleagues.

NGOs on board
We have a stringent process of taking an NGO on board, and the process takes approximately three to six months for our review, wherein we visit programmes and even beneficiaries. A renewal review is conducted every year. Also, a feedback report is also sent to donors every year. For this, GI has set up a rural BPO in Tamil Nadu.

What next
We want to continue doing what we are doing but on a larger scale. We want Indians give R100 crore per annum over the next 3 years. 

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