Giving Matters at Make My Trip

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Deep Kalra
India’s most sought after travel website, Make My Trip surely excels in giving travelers the best travel deals and options across the world. This month, we find out how the organization also excels in leveraging giving opportunities to engage its internal stakeholders better.

As we interact with Deep Kalra, Founder and CEO, Make My Trip, we learn about the organization's several CSR initiatives that make this very ideology of 'giving back' turn into some real impact.

GiveIndia: What defines the idea of giving back at Make My Trip?
Deep : At MakeMyTrip we encourage employees to give and share – whether through material support (via payroll donation platforms, collection-drives, etc) or through their time. Through the year we conduct a number of Giving initiatives managed by our HR team under the ‘WE’ umbrella. These activities range from cleanliness, blood-donation and tree-plantation drives to mentoring children at Udayan Care – an NGO whose cause we have been associated with since our early days.  We believe everyone can give. In fact we take this philosophy even further to our customers!  While booking flight tickets on our website, customers automatically receive an estimate of the Carbon footprint of their travel at the last leg of the booking process. The tool determines exactly how many trees need to be planted to off-set this carbon emission. Travelers receive the option of adding the cost of tree plantation to their ticket cost. This is a token amount which is a fraction of their purchase and to date nearly 75,000 travelers have made use of this option resulting in the planting of nearly 400,000 trees in previously arid lands.

GiveIndia: You are an online travel company. Given that employees work round the clock, how easy or difficult does it get to make them move from their desks and get them to participate in CSR activities?
Deep :We are a young organization but when we witness the enthusiastic response that many of our CSR activities receive from the workforce it encourages us to find ways to make these interventions more convenient and as engaging as possible. I would think there are very few people (if any) who out rightly do not want to contribute to the society. More often their decision may stem from the cause or the manner of support requested and we respect their choice. One would find that there are broadly two kinds of behaviour demonstrated with respect to CSR support.  One group is the people who want to participate in CSR activities with a front-line approach i.e., they want to be hands-on, and engage in participatory activities. The other set is more comfortable supporting a cause through monetary or material donations. And the interesting thing is these choices are often not governed by their age-group or income-levels. Of course over time, it is more than possible than the patterns switch! I think it is important for organizations to be agile and flexible to the ‘Giving’ patterns and create platforms for both kinds of people. The credit for the success of Giving programs at MakeMyTrip also goes to the zeal and enthusiasm displayed by the WE committee to create adequate awareness and drive participation levels.

GiveIndia: Are there any specific 'must do' activities that you encourage every year?
Deep : All Giving programs at MakeMyTrip are purely voluntary. We do make it rewarding by recognizing Giving efforts and creating visibility for these programs and participants. We also have a payroll donation program where we add to the Employee’s contribution to create a multiplier effect.

GiveIndia: Speaking of Payroll Giving, 500+ employees from Make My Trip have chosen to contributed towards the programme. Do you think Payroll Giving adds a new dimension to the host of socially engaging activities? If so, how is Payroll Giving working out for the employees?
Deep : Payroll Giving is a brilliant platform that allows the giver to choose the causes and organizations they want to contribute towards. It is a flexible tool, so the employee can alter their donations and also plan their interventions in a better manner. Overall, it works very well for people who want to assist with monetary aid but are unsure of validating the credibility of organizations. With GiveIndia, the accountability factor is taken care of and this is the biggest concern for anyone who is donating money to a cause.

GiveIndia: You have also been participating in the India Giving Challenge every year since the past three years now. What, in your opinion, generally works or doesn't work during those six weeks of fundraising?
Deep : We have performed well, but can do better! We promote the Fundraiser Challenge heavily through internal communication channels – I think what happens is that most people who give monetary contributions do so in a planned manner, while the ones who are always ready to support a cause prefer doing so via non-monetary support. So there is some overlap but not as much as we would like.

GiveIndia: What is future of giving at Make My Trip?
Deep : We look forward to evolve in our organizational journey of Collective Giving. Our Corporate Giving initiatives have so far been guided by the themes of inclusiveness and knowledge-sharing, and we intend to add a dimension of Responsible Travel that will involve our employees as well as our customers.

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