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SpeakBindas Interviews GiveIndia.org

Assume that you’re sitting at a local tea-stall and enjoying your tea. At that time, a very innocent child of age around 4 years comes to you ans starts begging for money. How would you feel? And what will you do? Well, if you’re passionate about humanity you will try donating couple of rupees to that kid and move on. If you’re very emotional, you will donate with the tears in your eyes thinking that what about all other kids? If you’re philosophical, you will not donate and try to teach that kid (who has no understand power at all) about the negative aspects of begging.

But in all the different situations, one thing remains common and is that the kid is needy. Something concrete needs to be done to provide them shelter, food and education. This is the ultimate thought to empower and uplift them.

There are many NGOs in India which are working in various sectors to support the human life such as woman empowerment, child labour, education, youth, environment, health, human rights and etc. But even though they have the best of intentions of helping the needy, they have no idea about how to raise the needed fund. In such a case, websites like GiveIndia comes in place. GiveIndia works as a bridge between donor and NGO. They select the NGOs as per their terms and provide fund for various activities. GiveIndia makes it easy for the dedicated NGOs to remain focused on what they are doing without worrying about the required fund.

SpeakBindas had an online interview with Umesh Nayak who was appointed as GiveIndia’s representative to talk with us. Below is our conversation.


Q.: GiveIndia is a unique platform which builds a bridge between a donor and an NGO from INDIA. What really inspired you to have such a different idea to create GiveIndia?

Ans.:    Underlying everything Givendia does is the belief that equity or “equal opportunity” is the cornerstone to civilization. Every human being must have roughly the same opportunity to succeed in life, irrespective of where or how s/he is born.

Unfortunately, this tends to not be true. The last two decades have witnessed a widening of the gap between the rich and poor in India. While the poor in India don’t get a fair chance to succeed in life (lack of access to decent education, healthcare and livelihood opportunities), the well-off continue to enjoy benefits from a globalising economy- greater incomes, reducing taxes, 100% inheritance, etc. The net result is a ticking time-bomb of growing social unrest.

GiveIndia believes that a caring and sensitive well-to-do section can change this without waiting for the situation to explode. Two aspects of a “giving culture” contribute to making a difference-

[a] Greater sensitivity and caring
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
Giving promotes heightened sensitivity among the givers. It forces us to be aware of the existence of the poor, acknowledge our own good fortune and creates a sense of duty towards those less fortunate.
[b] Availability of resources
If Indians gave back to society in the same proportion as Americans do, we could be donating Rs 60,000crores a year to help those in need! As against this, all reasonable estimates of giving in India vary between Rs1,000-5,000crores p.a.

Rs60,000 crores a year exceeds the government’s own allocation of resources to education and healthcare.

Several studies indicate that people give more if they are convinced that their contributions are making a difference. To create a sustainable giving culture, one would therefore need to ensure that the donations are channeled efficiently to the most effective organizations. GiveIndia hopes to catalyze the creation of a “philanthropy marketplace” in India that will ensure that in the long term, resources do reach the most effective organizations in an efficient manner.

Q.: How do you feel knowing that your initiative is helping many needy and unprivileged people in India?

Ans.:The obvious answer would be ‘good’, however our interactions with the NGOs and civil society highlight the amount of work that’s yet remaining to be done and that brings a sense of greater responsibility.

Q.: GiveIndia provides a list of categories to donate to, starting from Children to Youth. What according to you are the most three areas where the monetary help is MOST needed to make a real change and upliftment in INDIA, and why?

Ans.: Monetary help is required in all areas to improve the quality of life since they are interlinked in one way or the other.

Q.: GiveIndia simply works as a mediator between a donor and an NGO. In that case, how does it sustain itself?

Ans.:    In order to make GiveIndia sustainable in the long run, we retain 9.1% of donations made through us. Our website has been designed such that all online donors (except payroll givers), while donating, add a small contribution to help meet GiveIndia’s own operating costs. This cost has been kept down to 9.1% of the gross donation (i.e., when you donate Rs110, Rs100 goes to the NGO and donation option you chose). For Payroll Givers using “My Account” as the mode of payment, your company continues to pay this amount to GiveIndia directly, so you don’t need to pay this additionally.

This contribution of 9.1% of the donations will help us recover most (but not all) of our operating costs, thus helping GiveIndia get closer to self-sustainability, so that we can continue providing you the support to make your donations to trusted organisations. Do note that even after this, GiveIndia will continue to incur deficits that will be grant-funded. As and when our costs are lower than 9.1%, we are committed to reducing the percentage we retain for ourselves. GiveIndia’s financial statements are available online. This includes transparent disclosures of our cost structures, so that you can make an informed judgement on our operations.

We would also like to inform you that 9.1% is far below fundraising cost benchmarks anywhere. Most secular International and Indian fundraising agencies spend anywhere between 25-50% of the donation amount on fundraising and advocacy/ promotion. Even websites that offer only a “pure transfer” facility without offering any NGO due diligence/ assurance, or feedback reports on how the donations are used, charge anywhere between 5-15% of the donation amount. We are able to keep our costs relatively low, thanks to a highly committed team of staff that works at a fraction of their “market rates”, a large band of very dedicated volunteers, zero outlay on Board members and our deep belief in the need to keep ourselves as “thin” an organisation as possible.

We have chosen to seek contributions for our own costs directly from you, our donors, rather than from some large funding agency. We believe that you, as a valued donor, will continue to “force” us to be as efficient as possible and set higher standards for us than funding agencies would, and we value that pressure.

Q.: What kind of management skills does it require to run GiveIndia for various jobs such as to scrutinize an NGO, inspire people to donate, keep an eye on donation being used for the right purpose etc.?

Ans.:    GiveIndia is a very professional and operations intensive organization. Our team consists of around 35 full-time and part-time employees and several volunteers. Our employees are often professionals from the corporate sector who have chosen to help the less fortunate over a mainstream career. Although they receive regular salaries, these are way below corporate standards. Our volunteers work with us for free. The founder is an IIM-A alumnus and so is the current CEO. We professionals managing various departments of the organization ensuring that proper systems are in place to track and monitor the flow of funds, feedbacks and verification of the same.

Q.: Any special message you would like to share with people through the platform of SpeakBindas?

Ans.:    While an increasing no. of professionals are joining the social sector, it is necessary to have more of them. The best brains in the society are often deployed in catering to the consumerist mindset, whereas a far better impact can be achieved if a fraction of the same were deployed towards dealing with social issues at ground level as well as policy and advocacy level.


Devang Vibhakar is the Founder and Editor of www.SpeakBindas.com. He has interviewed more than 350 people. His effort was recognized by Limca Book of Records, twice. He has been to Scotland as well as Germany as part of vocational & cultural exchange programs and has compiled five books so far. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of entrepreneurs to avid readers of SpeakBindas. He can be reached here.

One thought on “SpeakBindas Interviews GiveIndia.org

  1. Saurabh Rai says:

    aahh… we should always donate … but it shud be genuine…

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