GiveIndia promises donors who donate through us a detailed feedback report of how their money helped change a life. What many people don't realize is that this is a personalised report, as in every feedback features a different beneficiary. So, for example if you donated a cataract operation and your best friend donated a cataract operation, you both wouldn't get the same generic report of how the operation benefited a person in need. No, you would get the story of Mr. xyz and how this operation helped change his life and your best friend would get a feedback report featuring Mrs. abc and how the operation changed her life.
Our partner NGOs are responsible for collecting this information, in many cases along with a photograph of the beneficiary and sending it to GiveIndia. And then we forward it to the donor. In the 2007/8 financial year, the GiveIndia feedback team ensured that 14,000 feedback reports got sent to donors. Pretty amazing, huh?
From time to time we have situations where the NGO doesn't send us timely reports or is no longer partnered with us so doesn't keep their promise about old feedbacks that they still owe us. These "missing" feedbacks are a very small number, less than 1% but that doesn't make them less important to us. The feedback team at GiveIndia, in the last few months, has been conducting a MAJOR exercise to try and get all these overdue feedbacks squared away, and have been fairly successful at sending out dozens of overdue reports.
Just four days ago, Mr. Srikanth Kalisipudi, a donor who got his feedback long after it was due, emailed us. He said "Feedback was good and I really appreciate the team for that. Till now I was thinking the money donated has gone but now after 3 years I got a mail from you saying that the money was utilized for the cause."
So while it is obviously better to be on time than late (and that is what we strive for), it is also better to be late than never. If we didn't send him the report, Mr. Kalisipudi may have always had doubts about GiveIndia and maybe about donating to charitable causes. So, GiveIndia's promise to donors will never be taken lightly; we'll do everything we can to fulfill it.
CEO of the Resource Alliance, Simon Collings recently gave an interview about NGOs and transparency. Read these excerpts:
Why is it important for NGOs to have accountability and transparency?
It's important for two reasons. First, an NGO looking for financial support is not going to succeed unless it shows evidence of the impact of its work. It has to explain use of funds to donors and funding agencies. A growing trend is that funding agencies are putting increasing pressure on NGOs to make their financial transactions and governance transparent. Second, NGOs exist because they address social problems and work for under-privileged groups. It's important to be accountable to those people too, who are the beneficiaries and will be the ultimate judge.
Why do you encourage NGOs to look for aid from local donors?
Foreign development funding is on the decline. The major focus of the G8 countries is Africa, not countries like India where there are laws and strategic governance in place. Also, if civil society is to become a major force in solving local problems, then local funding has to happen. It strengthens accountability, reduces corruption and increases impact of the development work. Many donors are not confident how their money is used, so here transparency helps gain public support.
You can read the whole interview on the Times of India site, where it first appeared on April 25, 2008.
Posted on Sunday, April 20, 2008 at 2:11 PM
Category: Transparency / Credibility
Yes! We've suspected it all along and now it's been proven. Spending money on others makes you happier than spending it on yourself. This was discovered in a recent study carried out by researchers at the University of British Columbia.
At GiveIndia, we're all big fans of logic -- we think things through, we weigh options, we look at pros and cons. And that is why we are inspired by Bill and Melinda Gates. When talking about issues like poverty and disease, Bill Gates' logic is so clear; his reasoning is so compelling. Here's an excerpt from his phenomenal speech given to the 2007 graduating class of Harvard University.
"You graduates came to Harvard at a different time. You know more about the world’s inequities than the classes that came before. In your years here, I hope you’ve had a chance to think about how—in this age of accelerating technology—we can finally take on these inequities, and we can solve them.
Imagine, just for the sake of discussion, that you had a few hours a week and a few dollars a month to donate to a cause—and you wanted to spend that time and money where it would have the greatest impact in saving and improving lives. Where would you spend it?
For Melinda and for me, the challenge is the same: how can we do the most good for the greatest number with the resources we have.
During our discussions on this question, Melinda and I read an article about the millions of children who were dying every year in poor countries from diseases that we had long ago made harmless in this country. Measles, malaria, pneumonia, hepatitis B, yellow fever. One disease I had never even heard of, rotavirus, was killing half a million kids each year—none of them in the United States.
We were shocked. We had just assumed that if millions of children were dying and they could be saved, the world would make it a priority to discover and deliver the medicines to save them. But it did not. For under a dollar, there were interventions that could save lives that just weren’t being delivered.
If you believe that every life has equal value, it’s revolting to learn that some lives are seen as worth saving and others are not. We said to ourselves: “This can’t be true. But if it is true, it deserves to be the priority of our giving.”
So we began our work in the same way anyone here would begin it. We asked: “How could the world let these children die?”
The answer is simple, and harsh. The market did not reward saving the lives of these children, and governments did not subsidize it. So the children died because their mothers and their fathers had no power in the market and no voice in the system.
But you and I have both.
We can make market forces work better for the poor if we can develop a more creative capitalism—if we can stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or at least make a living, serving people who are suffering from the worst inequities. We also can press governments around the world to spend taxpayer money in ways that better reflect the values of the people who pay the taxes.
If we can find approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits for business and votes for politicians, we will have found a sustainable way to reduce inequity in the world."
Bill Gates, June 7, 2007
In all our GiveIndia communication, you'll read "carefully screened NGOs" or "NGOs chosen after due diligence was done". But that doesn't really tell you what filters we apply while screening or what we look for while undertaking the due diligence.
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 3:39 PM
Category: Donor Testimonials
Last week, GiveIndia got a note from a donor who was inspired to give by his young daughter; this week we heard from a woman who was inspired by her late father. Nageswari YSVS wrote:
Posted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 4:12 PM
So so so often we're at a loss for what to gift a friend or family member. Either you know the person so well that you know they have everything they want or need OR you don't know the person well at all and therefore have no idea what they want. It's a time consuming and costly problem, going from shop to shop thinking what, WHAT should I get.
Posted on Monday, April 7, 2008 at 1:47 PM
Category: Payroll Giving
The Payroll Giving programme at GiveIndia now has close to 25,000 people participating in it. The fact that India has become the world's back office has a big role to play in the growth of our programme. Successful Business Process Outsourcing companies (BPOs) employ thousands of eager youth in cities across India.
Posted on Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 4:26 PM
At GiveIndia, we've been incredibly lucky to have found and kept some outstanding volunteers. Several have been with us for more than five years!
It's a fact that's incredibly hard to digest but close to 80% of all Indians survive on Rs 20 everyday.
Rs 20 = a small amount in our urban lives.
Rs 20 = a short auto ride.
Rs 20 = a large papaya.
Rs 20 = a tube of toothpaste.
Just for a minute, try and imagine that your family has a monthly income of Rs 600. What would you spend on food? How would you pay your child's school fees and buy their school supplies? And how would you deal with a medical emergency?
Now that's a true reality check! Be aware of all you have because most people in our country have virtually nothing.
At GiveIndia, our entire team works really hard to think of ways to stretch each rupee. A few months ago our Core Group decided we should have weekly conference calls to update each other on progress on our goals and to discuss any stumbling blocks as a group.
Posted on Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 2:30 PM
Category: Donor Testimonials