Fundraising @ LetzChange: Making the Experience Better  

At LetzChange, we are always working hard to find better ways to allow people to communicate and raise funds from their social networks. In the recently concluded Giving Premier League, we promoted the fundraising tool, which enabled people to urge their social contacts to support their campaign for charities, via personalized emails. What came as a sheer encouragement for our efforts was that a lot of campaigners used the service, which resulted in more than 22,000 invites being sent in the 40 days.

We always recommend that fundraisers select and segregate their contacts and only send invites to those who they think will be interested in the said campaign. However, we are changing the way this communication used to take place as it was observed that there were attempts to send mass messages to their out of date contact lists, resulting in a lot of hard bounces (unsent emails).

To make the entire process better, we are now allowing people to connect their own Google accounts to their LetzChange profile. In doing so, the invites and thank you emails will be sent from the person’s own account, instead of our servers. This will make the invites more personal, giving them a better chance of landing in the recipient’s inbox instead of spam and allow invitees to have successful conversations. Our servers will also manage sending the messages in batches, so that we comply with the limits set by Google.

We hope the experience of fundraising at LetzChange will only get better, as our team strives to come up with more tools that help our partners scale up, without any hurdles.

#GivingPremierLeague: Introducing Teams and Crossing the 25 lakh mark

LetzChange is proud to announce the launch of the Giving Premier League, India’s first ever fundraising challenge where we are curious to find the most generous region in the country.

This is where NGOs, working to serve various causes have been clubbed together based on their geographical region to form teams. These are teams of hardworking Samaritans who have dedicated their lives to bring about a change because they believe that their vision, passion and initiative can make a difference in this world. This is their chance to not only network with other like-minded people in the region but also appeal to generous donors to contribute in the development of their region.

After putting in gruelling amounts of effort to ensure that each Team was well balanced and had equal number of NGOs as well as a good chance of winning in the league, here’s presenting the teams for this year!!

Bengaluru Bravehearts

Telugu Titans

Chennai Changemakers

Empathetic East

Northern Knights

Heartland Heroes

Magnanimous Maharashtra

Each state is well represented and each team has a mix of NGOs that are representing multiple causes like education, child care, women’s welfare, elderly care, etc.

The biggest giving league is on, in the first twenty days itself we have crossed the 25 lakh mark, every 10 minutes there is a new donation coming in and the social media feed is buzzing with #GivingPremierLeague.

The LetzChange team is really excited and brimming with active arguments and sometimes cheeky insults as Regional Managers defend their teams passionately.

It’s getting crazy competitive in here, and we want your help to win. So what are you waiting for? Lend your support to the NGO you find most deserving in your region here.

 

Introducing Giving Premier League 2017: India’s Biggest Fundraising Festival

With an aim to help NGOs complete their fundraising targets at the end of the financial year,  LetzChange is proud to present the ‘Giving Premier League 2017.’ This is a one of its kind online fundraising event where donors can contribute in the development of the region they hail from, by supporting the team that represents their home town.

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From a Little Boy Running Away From Misery, to a Man Facing Challenges Head On

There are traffic signals in every part of the city and there are people associated with those crossings. While we might get accustomed to their faces but their existence becomes worth only a passing glance.

It’s almost as if we register their presence absent-mindedly and rarely do we pause to think of their identity. Rarely do we ponder about their past or the future that awaits them. And since ‘they’ might not be closely related to us, their situation is not of immediate importance.

Many of them are run away kids, who have left their homes and families behind, in the naivete hope of finding a better world. One such child was Brijesh, who, fed up of his family, for they gave up on the mischievous child who got scolded wherever he went.

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Gramin Samassya Mukti Trust: Creating Opportunities for the Deserving

In the Hindi movie Talaash, Kareena Kapoor who plays an escort makes a heart wrenching statement “jinn logon ki ginnti hi nahi hoti, unke liye kya justice?” And momentarily, going beyond our day-to-day concerns, we are forced to think about the plight of commercial sex workers.

Knowing that poverty doesn’t hold many doors open, we are forced to think about what could possibly serve as a beam of hope and happiness for Continue reading “Gramin Samassya Mukti Trust: Creating Opportunities for the Deserving”

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!