Notice the form of address. I choose to describe every single person of a certain level of education and socio-economic and political awareness in India as a giver. I do this for two important reasons; one, nearly every individual in India does some charitable work in diverse ways, and two, I believe strongly that all donations made for philanthropic causes have equal significance, if not equal measurable effect.
I run a crowdfunding platform called Impact Guru. We work to help individuals and NGOs raise funds for personal, medical, and social causes of great magnitude and urgency. We began operations in 2015, at a time when crowdfunding was not a term many Indians were acquainted with. In the last two years and some months, we have been able to fundraise effectively and make some positive difference in the lives of thousands of people, including large numbers of women and children, in the country.
For clarity’s sake, let me define crowdfunding again. Crowdfunding is a subset of crowdsourcing, an alternative and ideally digital method of fundraising, with many contributors coming together on a platform to donate to campaigner projects hosted by that platform. Each of these donors typically contributes a small amount, with many donations pooling to meet a grand total.
When I co-founded Impact Guru, my intent was to leverage tech for good with the crowdfunding model. More than any other mode of fundraising, crowdfunding allowed for democratization of the altruistic space. The campaigns we host are first subject to a vetting process, and then available for public viewing, so anyone who comes by a fundraiser has the chance to donate in a quick and easy one-step process. Crowdfunding platforms makes giving that simple.
Campaigners have raised in seven figure amounts on the Impact Guru platform, on medical as well social projects, especially since our partnership with GlobalGiving, the world’s largest global nonprofit crowdfunding platform. The donor can put in as little as Rs 500 to an Impact Guru fundraiser, and donate as many times as they like to a single campaign. We are focused on putting our donors in a comfortable and secure decision-making and contributing space, where their giving decisions will be informed by knowledge about the cause, by goodwill, and by free choice.
This agenda is designed to enable you, who represent the biggest segment of donors in India. If you belong in the rather wide Indian middle-income bracket, one that contains 267 million people as of 2016,if you are an intensive internet user, if you are active on social media, then you are our angel giver. The segment of the Indian donor body that gives the most often and the greatest cumulative amount fits this description. If you are a woman, and this is true of everywhere in the world, then at any time you are more likely to give than a man in similar circumstances. These observations apply equally to Impact Guru’s donor base. High net worth individuals and corporate giving programs give as liberally, as do philanthropists with well-planned charity schedules, but the nature of their giving is distinct from yours. You have been instrumental in saving lives and pushing ourselves, as a society, toward the change we are so desperately in need of, with a massive INR 36000 crores in individual donations through 2016 (the India Philanthropy Report by Bain and Co. 2017).
As the “striving seeker” group of donors (those who have recently begun to explore the philanthropic space), India’s middle-class has risen to the occasion of benefiting those without privileges and in suffering, donating in emotionally invested and uninhibited ways. For this, the crowdfunding industry has found its feet, and is toddling on baby steps toward the mainstream fundraising step. You are to thank for it. Without the support of the middle-class, this would not have been possible.
Co-founder and CEO, Impact Guru