Rahul Chovva, CEO & Director of LetzChange, tells us how peer-to-peer fundraising is transforming the Indian giving space.
The practice of crowdfunding has been up and about in the international market for quite some time and has eventually penetrated the Indian economy, leaving an obvious mark on its non-profit sector. Philanthropy in India for ages, has been largely dependent on the solicitousness of a handful of affluent people, popularly known as the HNIs or the ‘High Net-Worth Individuals’, with the national giving curve rising and falling in direct proportion to their generosity. We are now witnessing a deviation to this trend with the concept of crowdfunding emerging as a popular method of fundraising. In crowdfunding, instead of collecting a large amount of money from a single person, the same amount is procured from a number of people with each of them donating a nominal fraction of the target amount, and the summation of all such donations equalling the target. Speakingarithmetically, instead of having one person donate a sum of Rs. 1,000, crowdfunding necessitateshundred different people donating a meagre amount of Rs. 10 each, collectively adding up to the desired amount.
The social connect of peer-to-peer fundraising
While crowdfunding has been an effective way of raising funds for social causes, peer-to-peer fundraising, which bears a conceptual similarity to the crowdfunding process, adapts a reaching out approach except for a few differentiating factors.Whileweinvite people to donate for a specific cause in crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising enables us toreach out to a number of people, urging them to either donate themselves or to spread the word around amongst their existing social media contacts. In this way, in addition to one’s immediate social media contacts, one also permeates into the social circle of their acquaintances, thereby increasing the overall reach of the non-profit mission in consideration. For people who want to extend a helping hand but cannot assist monetarily, peer-to-peer fundraising provides them with the option of a middle ground. They can effectively employ their existing network of people to get donations for the non-profit mission they support, thus helping out those in need without having to strain their purse strings.
A tech-for-good organization
LetzChange uses peer-to-peer funding as its primary fundraising tool to raise money for charities, and has positively impacted the Indian philanthropic scene by promoting a culture of simple, social giving in the country. Non-profits can easily register on the platform and benefit from the many perks of using our peer-to-peer fundraising tool, one of them being an exponential increment in their supporters’ base. LetzChange, as a tech-for-good organization, has volunteered to help out all such non-profit charities which are deeply involved in tasks pertaining to repairing of the social fiber of our country, but have a limited reach. They are provided with technological assistance from our end if there is a need for it. We help our partnering non-profitswith developing a better understanding of the intricacies of crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising, guiding them through the slightest of hiccups that they may face in the good work that they do.
New means of fundraising
The conventional methods of fundraising, though promising in some regards, have been quite limiting. The non-profits in our country have forever struggled with the task of increasing the outreach of their respective charities, and the slow traditional way of collecting donations over snail-mail has not proven to be a piece of cake either. With the incoming of so many innovative technological advancements in this field, the non-profits of today are slowly steering themselves towards the new ways of fundraising and the benefits of getting rid of the age-old inhibitions are countless. This detour taken by the NGOs has also led to the evolution of the Indian giving space, and has transformed an average person’s perspective of philanthropy.
The Indian spirit of giving
India, as a country, has always believed in going an extra mile for those in need. Speaking collectively, the spirit of giving is deeply engrained in the psyche of our people and with the incorporation of new methods of fundraising, more people are coming forward to offer support in a form suited to them. The people who are economically efficient can help non-profits by making direct donations to them. The people who are willing to help, but aren’t financially in a position to make hefty donations, can show their support by doing volunteering work for the organization, and also by inviting people from their social circle to donate or come stand in support of a social cause.
When Vikrant Bhargava, the founder and primary investor of our organization, approached me with a formative idea of LetzChange, I was left with no room for the faintest of skepticism. Not only was the level of my intrigue high, it was convincing enough to make me bid adieu to my lucrative corporate career and offer myself completely to this idea. From being an inkling in Vikrant’s mind, to developing into a full-formed thought, and finally taking the shape of an organization, which is indirectly impacting the lives of millions, LetzChange has come a long way since the day of its inception. An IIT and IIM alumnus, Vikrant is a visionary who has been involved in philanthropic projects for most of his working life, and is known for his insightfulness and humility. It is his farsightedness, which has made LetzChange cover so much ground in such a short span of time, and we are looking forward to seeing continuousgrowth of the product in the approaching days.
Reaching the grass-root level
In a bid to realize our objective of supporting as many grass-root charities as possible, our team is also coming up with the Charity Booster Programme, as an attempt to offer a rewarding gateway to non-profits to dive into the world of online fundraising and explore the enormous potential of the powerful social tools. The programme will cater to more than 250 charities and will hand-hold them through the major tools/platforms they need to venture into, for creating a loyal donor base online.
Merits and scope
The merits of peer-to-peer fundraising are so vivid and so promising, that we see a plethora of interesting avenues opening-up for the non-profit organizations. The way it is continuously persuading more and more people to come forward to support a charity which is working for a social cause they deeply care about; the day is not far when the people in our country afflicted by the many maladies which life has to offer shall be living a little more bravely, with happiness assuming a permanent residence on their faces.
As an organization striving to improve the condition of non-profits in India, we welcome all individuals who share with us the passion of creating a better version of the world for the underprivileged and have an impactful network which they can leverage to help committed charities raise more funds for those in need. After all, to bring the change we wish to see, there’s a need for all of us to walk together on the path of care and empathy.
About the author:
A social entrepreneur and a leader who leads by example, CEO & Director of LetzChange, Rahul Chovva is an active volunteer and strategist for Daan Utsav, India’s festival of giving.