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January 09, 2009
The Indian Express
Aditya Paul

GiveIndia offers a platform where donors can pick from a variety of causes and organisations to assist.

A disaster has the power to unite people, with those watching from the sidelines always raring to go and help people who are directly hit. When the affected area is near your home or is in your city, it's easy to contact victims or join movements of people wanting to help out. But what when ground zero is a good distance away?

For example, how does a student in North India help a taxi driver in Mumbai or a Chennai accountant help someone affected by the Bihar floods?

This is where GiveIndia comes in. An umbrella organisation that connects far-flung NGOs to donors via the Internet, the organization is based on the simple principle of finding donors to help the needy. "Often, people want to help but don't know how to contact NGOs," says Ujwal Thakar, the CEO of GiveIndia. "On the other hand, NGOs who do some of the best work don't know how to approach donors. We provide this platform by connecting 100 NGOs to different people," he says.

"We basically only work for poverty alleviation and other human causes," he adds, elaborating on how the organisation works. "We ask our organisations to unitise their cost, for example if it wants to raise money for operations then it tells us exactly how much the cost is so we can list it on our website. This way our donors know exactly what they are paying for."

"Often, donors are worried about how their funds are used and what these organisations do," says Thakar "Therefore we have a very strong screening process before we allow them to register. Also unitizing their costs, though tedious, adds a lot to our transparency. Though there are other such fundraising intermediaries like us, we are the only one to allow you to choose exactly what you want to donate towards."

Apart from the website, GiveIndia also has a payroll programme through which people donate a percentage of their salaries to a chosen cause, a common choice for corporate employees.

So how does an organisation that works for others run?" We take a 10 per cent commission from every donation, though we inform the donor about it," says Thakar. "Also, since we are a web-based organization, our members can work from home or anywhere they choose to, on their laptops. In fact, we have a lot of student volunteers in the USA who work this way," he adds.

So, the next time you want to channelise you sympathy, you know where to click.

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