These two Chartered Accountants started a crowdfunding platform to form a circle of giving and receiving
ShareALittle is the brainchild of childhood friends, Trishla Pareek and Divya Singhal, who became friends at the age of 10 at Welham Girls’ School, a boarding school in Dehradun.
Trishla and Divya, both chartered accountants by profession, founded ShareALittle, an easy-to-use crowdfunding platform that successively nurtures an environment conducive of giving back and helping others. Its aim is to help genuine NGOs start fundraiser events and spread the word about their campaign.
“We saw that people were willing to help others in need but did not always do so because of the lack of transparency and general distrust in whether the contribution would reach the right person,” says Trishla.
ShareALittle also wants to encourage people to make recurring donations and not just limit donations to birthdays or anniversaries.
During the pandemic, the duo was concerned about the education sector, so the friends set out to equip underprivileged students with digital devices.
“We collaborated with NGOs even before we had registered our company. So, the added pressure to help the children as soon as possible drove us to be the most efficient version of ourselves. We streamlined business processes, set up the website, and officially launched in November 2020,” says Trishla.
During the lockdown, ShareALittle ran an umbrella campaign called Project DigiKit,
and managed to raise Rs 300,000 from 62 donors in just over two months. This helped 35 students get digital devices that enabled them to continue their education from home. It also raised Rs 145,000 from 44 backers to buy 15 digital tablets for hearing-impaired students in Mumbai. For the Vahani Scholarship Trust, ShareALittle raised over Rs 130,000 from 18 backers to buy 20 smartphones for students from underprivileged backgrounds.
Trishla explains, “A donor’s relationship with the campaign does not end when (s)he contributes towards a cause. We provide them a direct message from the beneficiary talking about how the donated funds have benefitted them to complete the funding cycle.”
The founders say the biggest challenge was breaking the stereotype that charities misappropriate funds or that funds do not reach relevant people. However, the pandemic turned out to be an opportunity as over 600 million Indians with smartphones were active on social media platforms, creating a ready and active donor base for ShareALittle to explore.
With the pandemic taking most communication online, Trishla and Divya say that WhatsApp has been key to their operations.
“Given the pandemic, WhatsApp was an essential mode of communication right from the inception of our startup, given that we founders come from two different cities – Delhi and Kanpur. WhatsApp has been the main mode of communication between ShareALittle and our community, comprising donors (existing and potential donors), campaign owners, vendors and the internal team,” says Divya.
Trishla says they use different broadcast lists and groups for communication.
“These include an existing and new donor broadcast list of more than 500 people to spread the word about new fundraisers by sharing videos, flyers and textual content over WhatsApp; and another donor broadcast list to provide updates on beneficiaries after they receive funds, ongoing campaigns, meeting campaign milestones, and completion of campaigns.” They also use WhatsApp Business for automated replies.
“Given that we started out as a two-member team, the features offered by WhatsApp business, including the automated reply feature, setting up of business and out of office hours, contact labelling etc., helped us ease the process of communication with our community,” she adds.
Currently, ShareALittle is focusing on causes that enable and improve access to quality education.
“In the future, we hope to expand on the causes we work for and aspire to include women’s empowerment, malnutrition, and other causes that bring about a tangible change in society,” says Divya.
This story is part of a series spotlighting extraordinary, inspiring women from different walks of life for the See Us, Hear Us campaign powered by WhatsApp for International Women’s Day. You can read more such stories from the month-long campaign here.
Edited by Anju Narayanan