Inspiration

Learn how this crowdfunding platform is celebrating Daan Utsav

Sirisha Damarla
6th Oct 2017
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Crowdfunding platform Impact Guru has started many initiatives to celebrate the ongoing Daan Utsav, giving everyone a chance to give back to society. ‘Honour our Heroes’ is the highlight of their work.

Between November 2008 and February 2009, several individuals and NGO leaders got together and decided to launch an ‘India Giving Week’ which saw the birth of several events. In March 2009, advertising agency Euro RSCG India created the ‘Joy of Giving Week’ brand identity. Ever since, the festival has grown in scale, reaching all parts of India, and there arose a need for a name that could be understood by everyone across our vast country. Thus, in February 2014, volunteers renamed the festival ‘Daan Utsav’.

Daan Utsav is a ‘festival of philanthropy’ that aims to become a part of the Indian ethos. The week is celebrated every year around Gandhi Jayanti by engaging people in acts of giving money, time, resources, and skills spanning the corporate, NGO and government sectors, schools, colleges, and the general public.

Crowdfunding for impact

Impact Guru was started by Piyush Jain, a graduate of the Wharton School, Pennsylvania, and Khushboo Jain, an alumna of Welingkar Institute of Management, Mumbai. Impact Guru, incubated at the Harvard Innovation Lab in 2014, is a platform that provides crowdfunding solutions — small and large — to NGOs, social enterprises, startups, and individuals.

With 35 full-time employees, Impact Guru has so far raised Rs 329 crore. Working from headquarters in Andheri East, Mumbai, the company aims to change how funding is viewed and hopes to bridge the gap between donor and campaigner. It also has offices in New Delhi, Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and San Francisco.

Crowdfunding is a relatively new concept that has been rather slow to catch on in the country. The average Indian is unaware of what crowdfunding is, what the benefits are, and how it compares as a funding scheme against loans and insurance. Building public awareness was the biggest challenge the Impact Guru team faced.

Honour Our Heroes

To take Daan Utsav to newer heights this year, Impact Guru has started many fundraising initiatives. One such campaign, Honour Our Heroes, aims to provide financial and emotional support to disabled soldiers by raising funds for them. The campaign is being run in association with Queen Mary's Technical Institute (QMTI), Pune, and ‘Hrunn — Ab Hamari Jimmedari’, a project run by Redefine Concepts.

QMTI trains differently abled ex-servicemen who were rendered unfit for service in the Armed Forces due to medical reasons, and those in service who are under prolonged medical treatment for severe disability, in befitting vocational trades. Help is provided to them in their rehabilitation afterwards. Admission is also given to the families of servicemen and ex-servicemen, in that order, but only for leftover vacancies.

The only institute of its kind in our country, QMTI can accommodate 250 disabled soldiers for the training courses, but wishes to extend its capacity, grow in terms of training infrastructure and administrative facilities like hostel accommodation, and to develop a better academic environment.

Apart from this, Impact Guru is also running a contest where NGOs are invited to raise funds during Daan Utsav. Any individual can start a fundraiser for their favourite NGO or an NGO could start a fundraiser for itself. Impact Guru has also announced an additional prize for the organisation that raises the most funds, to encourage more NGOs to jump on the crowdfunding bandwagon.

Impact Guru is also working with Making A Difference, which is standing up for Adivasi youth who find it difficult to sustain school education because of abject poverty and related problems. A crowdfunding link was set up to raise funds to build youth hostels in the tribal areas of Maharashtra.

The Impact Guru team hopes to make crowdfunding mainstream, making it a part of popular culture. At present, less than 10 percent of donations happen online, a figure they want to increase significantly over the next few years. Their main goal is to be known as a socially conscious technology company trying to create a positive social impact through disruptive innovation. They look to grow by expanding into new markets and developing new products and services.

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