India Cares, helping NGOs find their feet
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Joyeeta Chakravorty
Bengaluru: Despite the best intentions and motivation, many NGOs fall flat, either because of lack of funds or improper strategy to reach out to the people. Lending a helping hand to many such NGOs, the India Cares Foundation gives the NGOs a push towards fulfilling their desired goals. In 2000, a few passionate individuals from the city came together with a simple idea, which was to support, encourage and promote the NGO community. "Many NGOs or civil society organisations (CSOs), despite having that dream, sometimes do not have proper resources to make it big. That is when we come into the picture. Our intention was to enable training, provide opportunities to raise funds and connect them to individuals and organisations, who want to engage with the NGO sector," says Ms Meena Dave, Chief Executive at India Cares.
"We believe that the social sector is a vital element in building a humane society and our mission is to enhance the quality of services, income and accountability of CSOs by collaborating with individuals and organisations who share our vision," she explains. "We try to make that passion into a practical reality. Many NGOs have the systems, resources and adequate talent in place, and we help them raise funds, communicate better with the people, market their events and strategise their plan better," she says.
India Cares was registered in 2008, but the work started in earnest eight years earlier. Founded by Mr Murray Culshaw, the chairperson of India Cares Foundation, and the late G. Manohar Rao, the Foundation has helped raise more than Rs 41 crore for some 750 NGOs in the country. Of them, nearly 370 are from Bengaluru.
But how does one ensure that the money they help raise is being utilised for a good cause. "It is one of the main criteria before we agree to help NGOs raise funds through our fund-raising activities. The NGOs have to keep their accounting and expenditure part transparent, so that we know where the money is being spent. It is needed to differentiate between bad apples and it is one of our main pillars. People should know what is happening to the money they are giving," she says.
CSOs need to raise funds continuously for their cause. "Sources to raise funds are government schemes, grant-making organisations – both national and international, private companies, who support projects as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, and individual donors, whose donations help in the core strengthening of an organization, since these donations are largely undesignated. We also help companies support CSOs as part of their CSR budgets through projects," she says.
Their team has helped raise funds at marathons. Their current fundraising activities are the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon - 2016, Wishtree, EduDaan, Daan Utsav and other such events. They have also developed a peer-to-peer learning programme to support leadership development and networking in the social sector which was launched in August 2015.
"We are convinced that, to be able to bring about positive changes and to build humane and a just world we all wish to live in, NGOs need to be vibrant, proactive and efficient. This is where we support, facilitate and work with NGOs along with all the stakeholders to make these goals possible," she sums up.