Online volunteering platform ConnectFor began its journey in 2015 with a focus on tapping human capital. So far, it has connected over 6,600 volunteers with causes they believe in and care about.
Shloka Mehta, founder of ConnectFor, says “Ksham Daan, or human capital donation, is bigger than any monetary donation.” When Shloka joined the Rosy Blue Group’s non-profit foundation Rosy Blue Foundation – which is run by her family - in 2014, her primary aim was to come up with initiatives involving human engagement.
This belief is ingrained in the culture of the foundation and all initiatives, including ConnectFor, have stemmed from this thought.
At the Dasra Social Impact Forum held last month, Shloka spoke how Rosy Blue Foundation, along with NGOs and family offices, was preparing for the rising Indian philanthropic movement.
Partnering with over a hundred NGOs, Shloka says, “Most NGOs are severely understaffed, and they are very unlikely to have someone as a volunteer manager. ConnectFor aims to aid understaffed NGOs with man-hours, and act as an end-to-end volunteering management platform.”
Sharing the experiences of her friends, she said there are many young changemakers who want to do their bit for the society but do not know where to begin. With limited time available from their schedules, it becomes even more difficult to choose and reach out to the right NGO, and the well-intentioned volunteer may just find herself lost.
Founded by Shloka and Maniti Modi, ConnectFor understands the psyche of a modern-day volunteer and paid attention to important factors such as flexibility and area of interest which impact volunteering directly.
Shloka points out, “People want to choose themselves where they want to give their time, and how they want to give their time”.
ConnectFor gives volunteers this Power of Choice - volunteers can choose the cause they want to associate with, and can look for listed opportunities in that space. To harness maximum volunteering hours, one can it is important to provide information on the location where the opportunities exist and the amount of time it demands from the volunteer.
ConnectFor has also worked towards helping non-profit organisations manage their businesses by listing opportunities in areas such as web designing, proposal writing, leadership training etc.
Additionally, ConnectFor works with companies to design their CSR programmes to engage employees. Recently, ConnectFor worked with DBS to plan and execute a volunteering day for DBS employees. Eighty volunteers from the company engaged with Mann NGO, which works with young adults with special needs.
On International Women’s Day this year, ConnectFor organised five workshops for women across the NGOs they work with, which included – an entrepreneurship workshop with Gauri Devidayal, owner of fine-dining restaurant The Table, a beauty and hair workshop with Kinjal Doshi Ganatra, founder of The Blowdry Bar.
Other workshops included those on self-defence, safety for teen girls, as well as a vocational training workshop by Revathi Roy, founder of Hey Deedee. These workshops engaged over 100 women and participation seems to be the foundation for many more such workshops in the future.
Creating a win-win situation for volunteers and NGOs, ConnectFor has over 800 opportunities listed on the platform and has harnessed over 14,000 volunteer hours since its inception. It has a huge network of NGOs within Mumbai and its suburbs and is now looking to spread its reach to other parts of India starting with Bengaluru.