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Celebrating the joy of giving

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October 03, 2014

Celebrating the joy of giving

lm-celebrating-the-joy-of-giving1.jpgLaunched in 2009, the Joy of Giving Week (now called Daan Utsav) has not only helped the cause of philanthropy, but has also offered a platform for people to unleash their creativity

Engaging CEOs Differently

Getting CEOs to give back in ways beyond writing cheques started with Greater Pacific Capital Llp director (Singapore operations) and industry partner (financial services) Madhabi Puri Buch’s Style for Smiles event that had 44 CEOs walking the ramp for a cause.

lm-celebrating-the-joy-of-giving2.jpg The Indian School of Business-anchored Shadow a CEO continues to draw big names like all-time favourite Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman, Aditya Birla Group; Ajay Piramal, chairman, Piramal Group, and others who give students a ring-side view of what a day in the life of a CEO looks like.

lm-celebrating-the-joy-of-giving3.jpg And Saregama got Amit Chandra, managing director, Bain Capital; Y.M. Deosthalee, director, L&T Finance Ltd?; Shikha Sharma, managing director and CEO, Axis Bank Ltd; Renuka Ramnath, founder, Multiples, a private equity fund; Sunil Kant Munjal, joint managing director, Hero MotoCorp Ltd and chairman, Hero Corporate Service Ltd; Meher Pudumjee, chairperson, Thermax Ltd; and Kalpana Morparia, CEO (South Asia and India operations), JPMorgan Chase and Co., to Sing for a Cause on tape.

This year, Technopark Trivandrum will see Pay and Throw, as employees get to take aim and throw soaked sponge balls at their CEOs to vent themselves, while raising money for a cause at the same time.

Taking philanthropic ideas to scale

lm-celebrating-the-joy-of-giving4.jpg The Joy of Giving Week has been a great platform for non-profits to launch campaigns and initiatives that have helped them scale up significantly.

Launched in the Joy of Giving Week 2009 and reaching 100,000-plus students in more than 1,000 schools all over India, the Design for Change (DfC) contest now runs in over 30 countries. Students conceptualize and pilot “social change solutions” and share their learnings. DfC is now manifested as a curriculum, an ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ comic, a Pearson textbook and one of the highest rated education TED talks.

Goonj’s Vastra Samman campaign in 2009 reached more than 30 cities and hundreds of corporate entities at the same time. Backed financially by the Aditya Birla Group, supported logistically by the country’s leading transport and courier companies, it raised 100 trucks of donated material in one week, at a time when Goonj used to collect 150 trucks of material in a year. Since then, the non-profit hasn’t looked back and today, channels over 1,000 trucks of material every year.

lm-celebrating-the-joy-of-giving4.jpg GiveIndia’s India Giving Challenge in 2009 was the country’s first online challenge. It raised over Rs.90 lakh in a month, reaching out to more donors than the organization engaged online through the rest of the year. The event raises almost Rs.5 crore per year now, and remains by far the largest philanthropy event in the country.

Philanthropy innovation

WishTree—a simple idea that anyone could replicate, it saw more than 2,000 trees spawn all over the country, in different shapes and sizes, raising as little as a few hundred rupees in villages to a few lakh from large companies. This one idea alone raised over Rs.2 crore across the country in the Joy of Giving Week 2013.

Seva Sandwich—more than 20,000 sandwiches will get made and distributed this #DaanUtsav across the country. Again, a simple idea that gets any group of six-plus people to get together, pool the ingredients for making sandwiches, making them together and then reaching out and sharing them with the less fortunate. Delhi has this planned to a T, and in Chennai, every Eurokids preschool (including 1.5 year olds like the ones seen in the pic) will make and share sandwiches with the local government ‘anganwadis’.

lm-celebrating-the-joy-of-giving6.jpg Seva Chakra—again, a simple giving game, that any group of five or more can play. Put together a simple fortune wheel, write out random acts of giving and kindness on it, and then play. Each person must do the act of kindness they land upon after spinning the wheel.

A bunch of new ideas are being actively used this year in Daan Utsav (2014). Two innovations that were not original Daan Utsav ideas, but are being actively encouraged are:

Spotfix inspired by The Ugly Indians—an anonymous citizen-led initiative that comes together using the slogan “Kaam Chalu, Mooh Bandh” to clean up spots. All it takes is a group of 10-12 responsible citizens who care enough.

lm-celebrating-the-joy-of-giving4.jpgThe Rice Bucket Challenge—India’s answer to the Ice Bucket Challenge, using a contextually relevant idea. Donate a bucket full of rice to someone in need and post a selfie, or donate to feed a child.

Stakeholder engagement activities

Six years ago, engaging anyone other than employees in philanthropy or volunteering was a rarity. Today, over 1,000 corporate entities across the country engage their key stakeholders, employees, customers and supply-chain partners, in the most mundane to the most exciting ways. From employees spending a night under the stars to experience homelessness to customers engaged to donate through ATMs or at store outlets and online. And this year, cement maker UltraTech Cement Ltd will reach out to engage dealers and distributors in a Jammu and Kashmir flood relief campaign.

Celebrity experiences on auction

While getting to meet a celebrity was the done thing in philanthropy, Daan Utsav brought to India for the first time a chance to win experiences with them that went beyond a meeting.

Actor Amitabh Bachchan went down memory lane, sharing experiences from his career in the industry, his father’s poetry and anecdotes that can’t be shared in the public domain.

Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar offered a half-day coaching camp, that sold for Rs.12 lakh on eBay India—then the biggest-ever online transaction in the country and on the eBay site (the previous highest was an order for 40 HP desktops).
Actor Salman Khan auctioned a two-hour gym session.

The poor give back too

Daan Utsav has demonstrated that giving is, in the end, all about how big your heart is and not about how deep your pocket is. Several thousands of the less fortunate—auto-rickshaw drivers, guards, maids and others give back through the festival of giving as well.

Auto-rickshaw drivers in Bhubaneswar were inspired when they heard that 30 of their peers in Chennai pooled in Rs.500 each, and cooked and served a sumptuous meal for 1,000 people on the streets. They went one up, taking 80 elderly people from different old age homes in their city for a two-day trip to Puri for Jagannath darshan and back—entirely at their own cost.

A self-help group of 8,000 women, on hearing about Daan Utsav, decided not to be beneficiaries, but givers instead. These women, engaged as maids, sweepers and daily wagers, donated 15,000kg of sugar, pulses and oil in October 2010, when food inflation was at its peak in the country.