It’s not charity at Goonj, you have to earn it

At GiveIndia, we strive to bring a variety of choices for the donors to select while making sure that we keep the trust of channelling the donors’ monies. I am excited and honoured to say that after many years of working together at a smaller level, we have now deepened our relationship with Goonj to be able to offer their programmes across all our fundraising channels. We look forward to this journey in scaling their initiatives and reach many more of the underprivileged and underserved.

We are particular about which nonprofits are signed up. At the basic level, we collect their legal documents. We also visit every non-profit partner at their project site as well as in their office. The aim is to understand their operations, processes and systems as well as their funding requirements. Many times, potential partners tell us that no other funding agency or corporate asks them to open up their books. The amazing thing about credible NGOs is that not even one of them have hesitated to open up their books as well. Goonj was no exception to this. They opened up all aspects of their finance and operations for us to be able to understand their organisation.

Background: The unique concept of Goonj

Goonj aims to provide the basic need of cloth to the poor, but they do not believe in doing it as charity. They give it as currency to the villagers for improving their own conditions. There are no free lunches – the underprivileged also need to work to get the benefits. These are simple yet much needed projects like cleaning ponds, building bridges, laying roads, building/improving school infrastructure. Projects that will ensure that they have access to basic needs like clean water or education. No more cribbing about what the nation did not do for you but act on what you can do for your own community and your next generation.

In a village in the North East, the river in that region would flood every year and break the bridge connecting them to the mainland. They waited for a long while for the authorities to rebuild the bridge. Goonj, along with their partner, asked the villagers to build the bridge themselves and maintain it too in return for kit of clothes for each individual. The outcome was a sturdy bridge made of bamboo which could bear the weight of motor vehicles.

How does Goonj make it work?

How do the clothes get distributed across 22 states in the country? There is an entire Supply Chain Management Case study resting right there!

The process starts from collection of material to sorting these by size, gender, age and occasion while checking for quality. These are then packaged into gunny sacks and finally transported in container trucks to far flung locations. The entire end-to-end supply chain involves meticulous planning and of course, monies.

Goonj has a team dedicated to logistics and packaging – ensuring that every kit is given a code, the code is stamped on the sack, sealed to detect tampering. Each shipment is coded, tagging volume of units and nature of material transported. Goonj also records information of the partner and the community issue being addressed. At the other end, Goonj team is present at the place of unloading and also at the point of distribution. They take many steps to minimise leakages during transport by tightening controls on an ongoing basis.

We have given clothes to Goonj. Can we also now pledge a small amount every month to help Goonj to reach the clothes to those who need it?

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About Archana Hari

Archana Hari leads the non-profit Relationships and due diligence at GiveIndia. Her primary role is to ensure that all partners on the platform are credible and adhere to requirements of the marketplace.
View all posts by Archana Hari →

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