How crowdfunding can make India a more philanthropic country
By: Rukmini Chopra
Published On: August 18, 2018
We explain how crowdfunding can encourage the practice of giving in India.
You are at a traffic signal. A child comes to you, begging for money. You hesitate at first, but then take out a 2 rupee coin, and hand it to the beggar. In India, where there is rampant poverty, this is a daily occurrence. Very rarely are we stuck at traffic jams, without beggars approaching us. It is a constant reminder of the alarming levels of poverty that exist in our country amongst other social issues such as hunger, dowry, rape and sexual assault, etc.
According to the Doing Good Index Report of 2018, India has adopted a set of reforms which targets international NGOs and funding. In 2010, India put forward Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act which initially focused on gaining international support for political parties but has now extended to activities involving sustainable development organizations. In 2013, a law was passed stating that companies with more than a revenue of INR 10 billion, have to give 2% after taxes to corporate social responsibility.
Despite such steps, India ranks low in terms of giving, when compared to countries such as Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Japan, Singapore etc. In fact, in the Doing Good Index Report, India, Pakistan and China come under the ‘doing okay’ category in philanthropy, after Indonesia and Myanmar that come under the ‘not doing good enough’ category and other countries that feature in the ‘doing better’ and ‘doing well’ categories.
Here are few of the reasons India falls behind with giving:
Public perception that non-profit employees should earn less (80% Indians said yes, 20% said no)
Laws not easily understandable (46% said difficult, 30% were neutral, 24% said easy)
People prefer to donate to religious organizations
People don’t have enough resources to donate
The report also indicates that only 39% of Indians use crowdfunding for philanthropic causes. But the good news is that 77% have stated in the Good Index Report, that they would like to use crowdfunding in the future.
Crowdfunding is gaining popularity in India as this practice has been instrumental in saving lives, fuelling creative dreams and helping social causes. According to this report, the success rate of NGO-related campaigns is as high as 70%.
This goes to say that India is philanthropic indeed. Give the people some guidance, and they will show you their support- it’s as simple as that. Hence, it is important to understand the significance of crowdfunding, not only in terms of its power to help causes but also to increase the practice of giving in India. Here’s how crowdfunding can make India more philanthropic:
Crowdfunding platforms: A verified medium to donate to
Most Indians are skeptical to donate to NGOs, as they are not sure of the organization’s authenticity. Crowdfunding platform act as third-party verifiers who do thorough due diligence before approving fundraisers.
Transparency: What you see is what you get
When you visit a crowdfunding platform to donate to an NGO’s cause, you come across the organization’s story, their work, the cause for which they require funds, how they will utilize their funds etc.
Unlike in situations where a person would visits the NGO’s website and donate to the organization on the whole, crowdfunding platforms highlight specific projects and initiatives of these organizations that people can donate to. So instead of donating to a CRY on a regular occasion, you would be donating to CRY’s initiative to eradicate hunger amongst poor children, on a crowdfunding platform. To put it in simple words, an organization’s motive is explained in detail on a crowdfunding platform, for the particular initiative.
The same goes for fundraisers related to medical or creative causes.
Crowdfunding platforms reduce one’s work of finding causes/organisations to donate to
For new donors, picking a cause or an organisation can mean hours of scrolling through websites, asking friends and relatives and researching on what needs help urgently and where they can make the most impact.
Crowdfunding platforms thankfully, do the good deed of reducing one’s labour. They sift out urgent projects, get you in touch with organisations that aren’t that popularly known (but still do important work)
There are other crowdfunding platforms that are specific to a medical social or creative cause. So if you either of these causes resonate with you, you can simply go to the required crowdfunding platform to donate.
The good part about these platforms is that they present the causes through crisp and short stories that are easily understandable by the donors.
Easy process of donating online
While the older generation still resorts to traditional methods of donating such as visiting the NGO personally, couriering the money etc, the newer generation has moved to doing charity online.
Donating money online is simple and time-saving, and crowdfunding platforms cater to this method of donations. It is also an easy process where you can make a difference in just 3 steps. The world is becoming busier where people rarely find the time to opt for traditional methods of charity.
Charity and religion in India
It is a well known fact that more than 80% of Indians are spiritually inclined and donate heavily to religious causes. This report states that the annual income of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust is Rs. 600 crore and that of Ajmer Sharif Dargah is Rs. 200 crore.
There are many reasons why Indians donate so much to charity:
Many Indians believe in reincarnation and life after life. To be included in this cycle or ‘parlok’ many believe that donating money to temples is the way to go.
Many believe that social causes such as health, education,poverty are concerns of the government but the spiritual growth is under their control.
The fear of Gods and the belief that if people don’t donate money to temples, they will attract sins or ‘paap’
Most poor and homeless people take refuge in temples. Seeing this, others donate with the belief that temples ultimately help out the needy
The belief and age-old mentality that doing charity for God leads to a healthy and happy life
Though it’s clear that Indians are inclined towards donating more to religious causes, the scenario is slowly changing with many of them contributing to medical and social causes. This report talks in detail about how Indians, especially the youth, is using crowdfunding to drive social change. Some examples include a teenager crowdfunding to fund heart surgeries for the poor, a school boy crowdfunding to provide instruments to underprivileged kids wanting to learn music, etc.
15-year-old Chris Chengappa raised Rs. 2 lakh to fund subsidized heart surgeries for poor children
Another report talks about how people are donating heavily to medical causes, hence making crowdfunding platforms mobilize over Rs. 20-25 crore every month, with a growth rate at 100%.Experts are hence terming India as the next best country in the crowdfunding sector.
With the above insights, it’s clear that crowdfunding is proving to be the much needed to tool to make a difference and encourage the practice of philanthropy. The practice provides guidance to people and a verified platform that they can trust and donate to.
Crowdfunding thus has the potential to change the landscape of giving in India.
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