I MADE my first donation on Give around 2006. At that time, mobile phones meant Nokia and you could easily sign up for firstname.lastname@example.org. Online commerce was rare and online donations were nonexistent.
I remember wondering how powerful this platform could be, if millions of people donated a small part of their income to causes they believed in. I also remember silently thanking the team that built this platform, because they had given me a convenient way to fulfil my desire to give.
My desire to give was rooted in a sense of duty, mixed with some gratitude and some guilt. I grew up in a middle-class family, had access to excellent schools and did my entire education in government-funded and subsidized colleges. My education provided the platform for jobs that always paid me well above my needs. I knew I was fortunate, especially in India. I could easily have been on the other side of the divide.
People want to make a difference
A lot of the people around me felt the same way. Some gave because that is what they had learnt growing up. Others felt helpless about the poverty around them. Reasons differed, but each one was looking for a convenient, trusted way to give to genuine NGOs. We all wanted to support people who were doing what we were not ready (or willing) to do ourselves… the actual hard work of making a difference. Give made it possible.
Over the next 15 years, my relationship with Give continued on and off. Marriage and parenthood made me wiser (?). While working in the private equity industry, I saw the power of wealth creation and wealth deployment at close quarters. Inevitably, what followed were questions about how my time, skills and efforts could be used for something larger than just a career.
Two sabbaticals, multiple false starts and much confusion later, I eventually landed at Give. Give had become 2.0 by that time, and I was ready for 2.0 in my own life as well.
Impact of giving
Giving is a cause I believe deeply in. The world is not perfect and never will be. However, it can get a lot better, if capital finds its way to the right cause and the right people. Give enables me to play my part in that endeavour. Doing that in the company of extremely committed, talented and good-hearted people makes it even better.
Is the corporate sector and the developmental sector very different? In the few months that I have been here, I don’t think so. The demands of the job do not change – be it capital decisions, trade-offs between growth and stability, building great teams, respecting relationships or making processes work – they are as hard or easy as in any corporate role.
The context does change though. Every time we do something well, philanthropic money is unlocked and reaches where it is needed most. Every time we get it wrong, the impact is borne by the beneficiaries of an NGO programme.
Goals for Give
Give has earned the trust of donors and NGO partners over the last 21 years. Donors trust that Give will ensure that their money is used well. NGOs trust that Give is a committed, fair and transparent partner. My goal is very simple – as Give becomes bigger, this trust should become stronger. Our delivery capabilities, systems and values need to be so strong that this trust never gets diluted, irrespective of the size and breadth of what we do.
Historically, Give focused on the individual donor, be it through online giving or workplace giving. Over the last two years, we have engaged with corporations and foundations for institutional giving. Many more segments and products will get added in the future, but they will all rest on the same foundation that was created over the last 21 years – empathy, integrity and a constant focus on impact.
I am excited to be a part of Give and to be a part of the journey to alleviate poverty by enabling the world to give. It is a mission that I look forward to positively influencing and contributing to.
Established in 2000, Give is the largest and most trusted giving platform in India. Our community of 2.6M+ donors have supported 2,800+ nonprofits, impacting 15M+ lives across India.