Daan Utsav Week Challenge 2016: For NGOs, with Love

Daan Utsav is a beautiful festival celebrated from 2nd to 8th October, across the length and breadth of the country to highlight the undying spirit of charity. Numerous corporates, not-for-profits and volunteers came together to extend the generosity. Even PM Narendra Modi inspired our countrymen to participate, on his famous Mann Ki Baat radio show

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Daan Utsav: Celebrating the Invaluable Joy of Giving

The Joy of Giving Week is observed from 2nd to 8th of October to celebrate the spirit of generosity, charity and giving. The idea ‘kuch bhi do, dil se do’ summarizes the essence of this festival.

Daan Utsav is a beautiful concept in itself. It’s about taking out time from our busy schedule and going beyond the confines of our own lives, to touch someone else’s.

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#WorldDayAgainstChildLabour: From Darkness to Hopes of a Bright Future

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The belief of children being God’s gift is nothing beyond mere tokenism. With children loitering around the streets helplessly, it is evident that child labour is on the rise in every nook and corner. Entrapped in the vicious circle of poverty and ignorance, these children fall prey to traps of trafficking, bonded labour, prostitution, petty thefts, among others.

Moving Forward against Child Labour

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Nobel laureate, Kailash Satyarthi who religiously advocates for children’s welfare, collaborated with internationally renowned photographer Robert Fogarty in the Dear World Project. The project photographs child labourers rescued by Satyarthi with their ideas of liberation and freedom written on their bodies. Indeed, a noble way to empower them.

Also, this World Day Against Child Labour, which was celebrated on June 12th, some rejoice came from the revised Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour. Hoping to carve a bright future for these innocent kids, the scheme aims at increasing the compensation of children caught in bonded labour, tenfold. The scheme also expands the ambit of bonded labour to trafficking, prostitution and begging.

LetzChange their Lives

LetzChange is proud to have partnered with Sabuj Sangha, a non-profit that works towards helping child labourers get back to the enlightening path of education. The organization runs the National Child Labour School, initiated under the Government of India’s National Child Labour Programme (NCLP) and skillfully prioritizes placing child labourers into formal schools. Not only do the children receive vocational training and mid-day meals, they are also provided with monthly allowances and regular health check-ups. You can help the NGO by making small contributions, which would help them in reaching out to more such young ones who intend to come out of the web of child labour : http://bit.ly/1tr6Z8H

Giving in India: Treading a Rocky Terrain

In India, for a majority of mango people, the very idea of ’giving’ would make them uncomfortable. Their responses for acts of generosity would range from “Will my tiny contribution even matter”? to “This seems like a fraud”! or “This is India, nothing will change here”. Their pessimistic attitude towards donating could be attributed to their lack of understanding of the concept of collective giving. This  usually deters them from doing their bit towards the needy. The testimony to the gloomy picture painted above is The World Giving Index, which aims at ranking the most charitable countries in the world. In the 2015 rankings, India lies at an abysmally low rank of 106 out of 130 countries surveyed. Also, India had a steep fall from 2014 and 2013 rankings, which were 69 and 93 respectively. These daunting statistics makes one ponder on the reasons that hold the common man back from donating.

Scepticism or Lack of Awareness?

Scepticism comes naturally to Indians, which further gives rise to a perception that NGOs lack credibility. Bain and Company, a leading consultancy, in its India Philanthropy Report 2015, states that 50% donors surveyed could not find a credible organization for their donations. This probably also throws light on the fact that individuals are either not aware about the functional charities in their vicinity or unclear about how can they help these organizations. Thus, people prefer to donate directly to the beneficiary. For all those who doubt the credentials of registered NGOs, what makes them believe the authenticity of individuals? This hesitance ultimately results in a push back for the potential NGOs.

Bhagwaan ke naam pe…

More than lack of awareness or intent, people’s belief in donating to religious places acts as a restraining force in directly reaching to the needy. Donating huge amounts of money to their respective place of worship is people’s way of relieving themselves from the bad deeds they have committed. India Philanthropy Report 2015 showcases that 27% of donors preferred donating to religious places.

Although digging deep into how the donated money is spent is a herculean task, it will not be an exaggeration to say that the amount, if donated to a well-intentioned (registered) NGO, can usher in better results.

Not for Everyone?

It is also believed by many that donating is an elitist activity. Only developed countries and financially stable societies can spare surplus funds for the betterment of the needy. However, we have witnessed that people have gone out of their ways to bring lasting changes in the lives of the underprivileged. The recent example being that of the Chennai floods, where the country stood by the people of the state and helped re-build it, brick by brick! Our campaign with Bhumi aimed at raising funds for those affected by the floods, received an overwhelming response as we raised more than Rs. 1 Crore in about a week.

Going Forward…

It is undeniable that there are lots of bottlenecks in embracing the giving culture in India. Donors and NGOs need to work hand in hand to create a mutually conducive environment for generosity to blossom. Charities must be transparent and receptive to donors’ needs. Also, donors need to be more liberal and smart while making donations and should give equal weightage to verifying the credentials of the non-profits. Probably, when people realize that even small contributions could make a big difference in many lives, would they step up to contribute and spread the culture of giving in India. It is only step by step can we get rid of the societal stigmas. All that is required is everyone to come together and extend their hand towards the poor and the under privileged.

#WorldEnvironmentDay2016: Protecting the Endangered

“The world has enough for everyone’s needs but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

The above adage is a cut out for the human beings. How moribund the world would become if human beings would be the only existing species on this planet! Well, it’s no exaggeration but a potential reality owing to human’s cruelty to animals. The heedless poaching of animals is gradually plundering the ecosystem. Fortunately, there are some considerate individuals and organizations who realize that world would be a better place only if all creatures could co-exist. The United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) has dedicated a special theme for this year’s World Environment Day (June 5th, 2016), – “Fight against the illegal trade in wildlife”, which is a step forward in the direction of working for the rights of animals. UNEP 2016 report says that about four million live birds, 640,000 live reptiles and 350 million tropical fishes are illegally traded throughout the world, each year. This $23 billion industry (Interpol) is a cause of worry for the UNEP and hence the 2016 Environment Day is exclusively dedicated to highlight its Zero Tolerance policy against illegal wildlife trading.

SPECIES IN DANGER

As illustrated, the situation is quite grim especially for the ‘lucrative’ animals. UN News Centre says that between 2010 and 2012, around 1,00,000 elephants were killed in Africa for their ivory. Three rhinos are killed every day and chimpanzees have become extinct in some parts of the African continent. Pangolins are the most illegally traded mammals in the world.

THE INDIAN SCENARIO

India is renowned throughout the world for its flora and fauna. The rampant wildlife deterioration in India throws light on the importance of this year’s Environment Day theme for our nation. This January, around 150 Olive Ridley Turtles were found dead on the shores of Orissa. They are smuggled to fulfil the demand for calipee (i.e. the dried cartilaginous layer in the turtle’s lower shell), which is used in traditional Chinese Medicines.

What’s more shameful is the dwindling population of our National animal! In the entire 2015, 25 of the endangered tigers had been poached or seized, whereas in 2016, till April, at least 28 tigers have already been poached. (data released by Wildlife Protection Society of India)

The woes of brutal killings do not end here. About 3,500 pangolins are boiled alive in India every year to separate them from their skin which is used for making bags costing Rs 2 lakh per bag. (and about 10,000 worldwide, according to 2014 data from the UK-based NGO Environmental Investigation Agency). The list of animals traded for materialistic pleasures is endless but the campaigns and efforts for the protection for wildlife provide some respite.

#WILDFORLIFE

“Go Wild for Life” is the slogan of the World Environment Day 2016. The dynamic slogan aims at highlighting and bringing to everyone’s notice, the need to safeguard the endangered species. Adding glam quotient to this campaign are actors Ian Somerhalder and Brazilian Supermodel Gisele Bundchen. The campaign also asks you to find your kindred species and use their own sphere of influence to end the illegal trade.

PROJECT ELEPHANT

Following the model of Kenya, which recently burnt 150kg of ivory to send signals of zero tolerance towards killings, Karnataka is all set to follow the suit. The biggest trader of ivory in India, Karnataka has decided to conduct ivory bonfire as a mark of protest. This could indeed send out a strong message to the poachers.

PROHIBITING ANIMAL TRADE ON ONLINE PORTALS

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) director tied up with e-commerce firms like Amazon, OLX, Quikr, Snapdeal to combat illegal wildlife trade through e-commerce websites. WCCB sources say that there have been instances wherein thousands of painted glass fish, dried seahorses, dried fish bladders, butterflies, and scorpions are exported illegally through the courier companies. The e-traders agreed to cooperate completely in detecting any form of illegal trading on their portal. They even asked WCCB to supply a list of wildlife contrabands, which are prohibited for trade so that they could stay alerted.

STUMBLING BLOCKS

Despite good initiatives undertaken, the world poaching levels are still steadily on rise. This is attributed to a variety of reasons. A recent WWF Study claims that wildlife rangers believe they lack the necessary equipment, training and support from the government to protect themselves and animals from poachers. There is a dearth of specialised ranger training centres throughout the world. But more than training, they deserve improved conditions of employment and a greater recognition for their work. A separate WWF Ranger insurance study of 33 countries across the globe revealed that despite the dangers of their jobs, many rangers lack health insurance (18%) and life insurance (36%).A job as noble as this needs to address the concerns of wildlife rangers, on priority.

Behavioural change, which generates compassion among people, stronger laws and a tighter enforcement, are required to burst this nexus of an organized transnational crime. It’s time we all start doing our bit by saying a big NO to all kinds of animal products. Let’s go wild for life!

Some Facts that can Help you Raise Big

The concept of online giving is in nascent stage in India. This is primarily the reason why many non-profits dread using their social networks to extract the maximum benefits from the community for their social cause. But we at LetzChange, believe in lending a hand to our wonderful partners, wherever they need our support. Following are some tips and tricks, which could make online giving a joyous experience for your donors-

  • ACTIVE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS- The whole world is virtually connected. With the blink of an eye, people across the globe can know about your whereabouts rather than by having a mere look at your static website. Facebook, Twitter are the best parameters where people judge whether the non-profit is performing actively and engaging its donors or not. A dull ‘social’ presence will serve you no good
  • TIMELY UPDATES TO DONORS- Donors are sensitive and curious humans. So, it is imperative for you to be grateful to them and update them about how every single penny they donated is being utilized. Carving interesting impact stories plays a vital role in engaging your donors
  • CONTENT IS KING: Have crisp and precise profile content, pictures, case studies, which will help your potential donors to take notice of, and appreciate your work It is only through a relatable story that you can establish a connect with donors, which will convince them to abide by your ‘call to action’.
  • CONVERT YOUR VOLUNTEERS AND DONORS TO FUNDRAISERS- Fundraising reflects the power of collectiveness. Undoubtedly, donating to a cause is a pure deed but what if your donors indulge in a little more effort by leveraging their social networks for that cause? This is a sure short formula, which can garner positive results for your non-profit. So, encourage and give them insights on the advantages of fundraising.
  • BE FAMILIAR WITH OUR TOOLS- The tools provided by LetzChange are crafted to simplify the donation procedure and make online receiving a less complicated affair for you. We have a wide array of tools, which a live dashboard where you can track your donations, analytics and monthly disbursements. Also, we facilitate easy generation of e- receipts on your behalf, for the convenience of the donors . Besides, we also offer our partners with marketing and technical support.
  • KEEP US UPDATED WITH MONTHLY REPORTS- We believe in sustaining a long term relationship with all our partners and would be glad to know the activities undertaken by them through monthly reports. This helps in keeping us aware about the initiatives and campaigns that are being undertaken.
  • PROMOTE THE CULTURE OF ONLINE GIVING- Giving in India has always been synonymous with cash or cheque-based charities or door to door fund collection. Keeping in sync with the technological advancements, we propagate the concept of online giving. This culture needs to be ingrained amongst donors, who should also be encouraged to spread the word about their initiative through their social network
  • ABIDE BY THE RULES OF LETZCHANGE- These rules have been carefully designed to bring out the best in you. We expect you to raise a minimum of Rs 25,000 from at least 10 donors within 30 days of going live. To maintain a consistency in your performance, you are also required to raise at least Rs 1,00,000 per year to continue fundraising on our platform
  • ASK DONORS FOR THE FEEDBACK- Feedback by donors has dual benefits. It gives an opportunity to you as well as us to improve our product and services.

LetzChange India together!

Use your Social Network to Change Lives

In today’s world, having great social networking skills is a boon. Everyone goes gaga over that person who has 2000+ Facebook friends and is the most popular among his/her peers. It is a common phenomenon that whatever they post or endorse, becomes the talk of the town. Imagine if the same person could use his/her network to talk about a social cause or appeal to raise funds for an underprivileged. Now, considering that even if 200 of his/her friends are benevolent enough to share or contribute even a miniscule contribution towards that cause, the multiplier effect would help grow in leaps and bounds. This precisely is the concept of fundraising that is based on the premise of “each drop counts.”

At the heart of LetzChange, is the policy of simple social giving. To inculcate the habit of social giving amongst the potential donors, we have recently introduced the Fundraising feature.

Fundraising at LetzChange is simple and interesting. One can just set up a campaign for the charity or cause they strongly believe in. They could invite their friends through their social network and encourage them to make valuable contributions. With support pouring in from the near and dear ones, the campaign could be managed using a live dashboard where they can track donations, thank the supporters and promote the campaign vigorously. The supporters can also then share the initiative with their friends, which will in turn create a wide network of donors.

Fundraising is a unique way of connecting like-minded people through the power of social media, which can enable them to experience the joy of social giving.

LetzChange India together!

Best Things in the World are STILL FREE

There’s nothing better in this world than a direct, smooth transaction. Aren’t there so many occasions where middlemen take advantage and make unworthy money? Farmers are robbed of profits and consumers are made to pay more for products.

Now imagine this scenario in the world of giving. You donate Rs. 1,000 to a deserving charity, only to find out that 10-15% of your contribution gets deducted (as commissions/processing fee/payment gateway charges), implying that only Rs. 850-900 reach the organization. At LetzChange, we strongly believe that this is NOT FAIR.

All donations made through our platform to our partner non-profits are transferred in entirety to the beneficiary’s bank account. Our mission is to help as many well intentioned organizations as possible and to ensure that, we bear even the necessary transactional charges.

This makes us the only online giving portal in India that doesn’t charge a single fee from the amount collected. But we believe that this is just a small step to usher in a BIG change. That of alleviating sufferings of the underprivileged and making the world a better place for the poor!

LetzChange India together!

The Power of 0.5% : Bringing Education to the Slums

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What does 0.5 mean to you? Does it hold any relevance or is it as insignificant as zero?

What if we tell you that 0.5% of your day can actually change the life of child living in a slum?

To help our partner NGO Godhuli achieve their mission of spreading the wings of education in slum areas, LetzChange launches the ‘0.5 for Change’ campaign, where we show the world how much impact can 0.5% make.

With an aim to bring education to financially weak families who are either ignorant or averse to the idea of education or simply unaware of the potential of education, Godhuli provides free education to slum children including free study material, uniform as well as medical care. The NGO works independently on donations and contributions and currently operates in two shifts in the slum areas of Meera Bagh, New Delhi.

We are not just the only one trying to help this wonderful organization. The philanthropic wing of banking giants Axis Bank – Axis Bank Foundation has stepped up to match all donations to Godhuli, implying that every contribution to the organization through LetzChange will be doubled.

All you need to do is contribute just 0.5% of your day for the holistic development of the little kids and reach out to influential personalities through a simple tweet, seeking their support.

Let’s all walk together and take a pledge to make sure kids living in slums get an opportunity to learn and grow and aren’t forced to enter the world of child labour, crime etc. For once, let’s give more importance to making someone smile rather than splurging money on a luxury we can afford to live without.

Take a step towards making a child happy! Contribute 0.5% of your day: Godhuli: https://letzchange.org/c/godhuli

LetzDream Foundation and Oxfam Join Hands to Help Nepal Earthquake Victims

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It has almost been a month since Nepal came face to face with one of the biggest natural disasters of recent times, with the first major earthquake striking the nation on April 25th, 2015. But that wasn’t the end of the misery as the Himalayan nation continued to face aftershocks, escalating the tragedy further.

While the relief operation has been in full swing since then, LetzDream Foundation has stepped up to extend every aid possible to the victims of the earthquakes by providing matching-grant to all donations to Oxfam India’s ‘Provide vital relief to families impacted earthquakes in Nepal’ project on LetzChange.

Oxfam’s efforts in reaching out to as many survivors as possible and helping them recover well has been commendable. Till now, clean water has been provided to over 50,000 people and shelter to around 9,000. The organization’s aim is to provide aid to more than 4,00,000 people and to achieve the same, work has already been started in five districts- Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu valley, and the more remote Gorkha and Sindhupalchwok districts.

Over 1440 households have received emergency shelters and water containers and now the focus is on providing transitional shelters to ensure that the monsoons (which are round the corner) don’t make matters worse for the families.

But as the extent of the destruction is enormous, there is a lot left to done. Generous contributions to Oxfam’s project on LetzChange can give a new meaning to the lives of those injured and displaced in this calamity. And as all donations would be doubled, the impact is sure to help many in starting their life afresh. Visit https://letzchange.org/projects/provide-vital-relief-to-families-impacted-by-earthquake-in-nepal/ to make a contribution!