“It’s hard to make things right for everyone.”
“But if everybody helped just one person, lots of people would get helped.”
Despite being motivated by quotes like these which glorify the act of charity, how many times have you backed out of the giving due to lack of convenience?
How many times have you come across an NGO and wanted to help them out, but hesitated due to the lack of transparency of the process?
the reasons which affected your confidence in trusting the organization might be any one of the following-
1) Strong distrust in the organization due to lack of transparency & accountability
2) Lack of convenience in carrying out the deliverance of charity
3) Inability in the determination of how the funds are utilized
4) Inefficient impact resulting in only 60-70% of funds reaching the end beneficiary
The plausible solution to this issue is Donatekart, which is a return to the traditional Indian way of giving, using the marvels of technology. Where they have started making people ‘donate in-kind’ again, with the help of concepts like crowdfunding and e-commerce.
Donatekart is a social enterprise that allows individuals to donate supplies needed to a charity instead of donating money. The organization was established in 2016 by Anil Kumar Reddy and Sandeep Sharma. Donatekart is primarily an online crowdsourcing platform that assists non-governmental organizations to create campaigns and collect products they require from donors instead of traditional monetary donations. Donatekart is the first of its kind in the world that enables donors and philanthropists to directly donate required products to charitable organizations online instead of money.
Donatekart is incubated by Zone Start-ups India, an accelerator program run by Bombay Stock Exchange, Mumbai and T-Hub, Hyderabad. They focus on catering to the needs of both donors and NGOs, for the former, it is transparency and convenience.
The amazing story of Donatekart
The birth of this online crowdsourcing platform dates back to 2015 when Mr. Anil Reddy, one of the founders was volunteering for a Goonj relief camp during the Chennai floods. The finding that there is a mismatch between the victims’ requirement and what they received from donors became the trigger point of this organisations’ inception. He also noticed how people were using e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart to buy rice and groceries and were sending them to the NGO’s collection centres.
Anil, then an undergrad student at NIT Nagpur, was entrusted with the delivery and distribution of relief packages to the flood victims. There was no dearth of donors, who would generously give food, water, and clothing, but the victims were in desperate need of things like tarpaulins, mosquito repellents, blankets, bleaching powder, medicines, and so on. Anil realised that NGOs (like Goonj and several others) that organised these relief camps did not get the desired products because donors were largely unaware of the specific needs of an area or a calamity. The founders discovered this was one of the pain-points that need to be addressed to ensure the intended success. They created Donatekart to serve as a bridge connecting the needs of the beneficiary and the benefactor while ensuring transparency in transactions.
The idea of Donatekart, rooted in Nagpur but soon shifted its base to Mumbai, where several large and small NGOs are headquartered.
What is Donatekart all about?
At Donatekart, they are on a mission to provide a transparent online donation platform for Indians to give. They primarily focussed on building a platform where Donors can donate in-kind to charities instead of money thus bringing transparency. Consider an orphanage launching a campaign on Donatekart where they list items like notebooks, school bags, uniforms, etc. Donors who wish to contribute can easily browse this list, and similar to online shopping, they can shop for the NGO by paying for these products. Donatekart will then deliver these items to the NGO, who can then send updates with photos and videos of distribution.
With leveraging technology and people’s acquaintance using eCommerce sites, Donatekart brings an Indian way of giving to social causes online. The start-up updates the donors on product utilization and keeps them engaged with the organization.
How is Donatekart impacting lives?
Since inception, Donatekart has worked with 800+ NGOs from all over India, across various sectors and hosted nearly 350 campaigns on its platform. 75000 unique donors channelized 10 lakhs products worth Rs 10 Crores across major Indian cities, and even difficult areas like tribal Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, and the northeast. One of the biggest and commendable projects of the firm includes its service during the devastating Kerala floods of 2018 where they raised two crores worth of products.
Many organisations have done multiple campaigns on a monthly or quarterly basis, which clearly shows the value this company brings to them as a platform.
What is the revenue model of Donatekart?
Hundred percent of the products donated via Donatekart go to the NGOs. They generate their revenue from the vendors from whom they buy the products. Since they purchase in bulk, they always leverage on the wholesale value of the purchase, thus sustaining the business without taking fees to run a campaign or make a donation.
The influence this organization bestowed on the chiefly unorganized philanthropy sector is evident from the awards they received. Donatekart was awarded NASSCOM Social Innovation Award 2018 by K. T. Rama Rao, Minister for Information Technology, during World Conference on Information Technology held in 2019, in Hyderabad. They were even invited to the United States by Bill Gates and Melinda Gates Foundation to be part of the Greater Giving Summit as a recognition of the good work they have done. They won the best social Enterprise award from action for India.
What’s the future plan for Donatekart?
The vision for Donatekart is to see every Indian contributing at least 2% of their income for social causes. Currently, only 28% of people contribute to charities in India, which is quite less when compared to other countries. Bain India Philanthropy report states that the lack of transparency is hindering the growth of giving population and we at Donatekart are trying to solve the same issue to achieve its vision. To make this happen there is a requirement to promote a lot of individual campaigns i.e. mobilizing individuals to launch campaigns on their special days like birthdays, anniversaries to support charities/social causes. Also, Many NRIs/PIOs would love to give back to the community or village they are from, which can be done using crowdfunding.
The world would be a better place if more of us can join the path of sharing and caring. Being a facilitator in this deed is no less than the benefactor. In this world where everything is driven by the thought of “What’s in it for me?”, we need more and more people to willingly share a part of the favors bestowed upon them. Only this can make us truly humane and hence build a better tomorrow.
Priyabrata Saha (PGDM C) & Ajmi Fathima (PGDM BFS)