Friday, 16 January 2015

Tips to make fruitful donations in 2015

1. Identify the cause:                           

Don’t donate for the sake of donating only. Your charity should be purposeful. There are thousands of NGOs working in social sector and addressing different kind of issues ranging from children to elderly, from water conservation to total environment protection. Therefore, you should be clear in your mind and intentions as to which cause or causes you are interested to support.

See our post Donations to charity - Making the right decision to learn how to choose a charity/cause

2. Find the right charity:              

Once you are sure of the cause/s which you wish to support, the next big thing is to find out an authentic NGO/s which is/are working towards the same cause/causes you believe in. These days our society is crowded by NGOs but authentic ones are quite a few. Before zeroing in on an NGO find out its registration status, key people, funds usage ratio (typically should be a minimum 70% of funds received) and beneficiaries must be looked into so that your donation is utilized as per your expectations.

3. Make online donations:                      

So now even with purest of your intentions to support a social cause, you might face difficulties in finding the right avenues where you can donate. Well! There is no reason to worry. With the penetration of internet many NGOs have an online presence and with some research you might be able find an NGO which is working for your favorite cause and perhaps in your own neighborhood. 

To make things even simpler, there are quite a few online platforms like iCharity which takes care of verification of NGOs and presents a number of NGOs/ Causes working across sectors at one place. You can give it try by donating to an NGO directly and also through online platform. You can even experiment with different online platforms. After all you want your hard earned money to be as impactful as possible. So go online, search, know and donate!

Happy Charity Donations 2015!!

Blog post contributed by Sumit Srivastava, Volunteer, iCharity.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Why should you start donating now !

1. Giving to charity will improve your sense of well-being and brings in sense of purpose.

The very idea of being able to help somebody and bring about a positive change in somebody’s life can fill you with great joy and feeling of satisfaction. You will start to feel like being an important part of the society and that you are able to contribute towards its betterment. This in turn adds a sense of purpose to your life.

2. Giving to charity out of spiritual conviction can strengthen your spiritual life.

Almost all religions talk about selfless giving to the one who is in need. Hence donating to the needy can strengthen your spiritual beliefs and further evoke the feeling of inner peace and contentment.

3. Supporting a cause can help keep you informed about social issues.

When you choose to donate for a specific cause, you tend to do research about the problem and how people are affected by it, this way you start to connect yourself with the cause.  Even a cursory glance at causes that requires donation can make you aware of the prevalent social injustice in the society, which you earlier thought didn't exist. You will realize that what is considered to be a necessity by you, is an unaffordable luxury for many. This knowledge and passion may position you to help increase the awareness of social problems in your community.

4. You can claim tax deductions on your donations.

When you donate to a charitable, the amount you donate is tax deductible. As per Indian Income Tax Act you can claim 50% amount donated as a deduction from your annual Income-tax under section 80G.

5. Volunteering with a charity result in physical and social benefits.

Going out to volunteer for a charity helps you build your social circles and you get to meet people who share the same thoughts and beliefs. And more importantly being be a part of the activities will keep you physically and mentally fit.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Donations to charity - Making the right decision

We always want to give to help others but we often find ourselves asking questions like whom should I be giving and how much? How do I know that I am giving it to the right people and it's helping the community? The answers weren't readily available for most of us which makes charitable donations a confusing and sometimes frustrating process. If you type the words “charity in India” into Google, you will see around 157 million results. If you try to be more specific by typing in “children charity causes India,” you will still get 53 million results. No one has time to sift through these results and find a cause worthwhile to make donation. So how do you choose a cause or a charity? Here are some simple steps to finding a cause/charity that’s perfect for you.

1.   Find your passion

The first step is to find a cause that you’re passionate about. You could be frustrated with the constant environmental degradation in your neighborhood or angered to see street children wasting their precious childhood on streets or feel helpless seeing an old man lying on the road waiting to die. First thing you should do is to tap into your inner emotions and think about what it is that makes you tick. You can only be satisfied if you donate your money or time to a charity that represents a cause you truly believe in. It’s great if you are able to find a cause which truly makes you happy otherwise you can take a hint from what your friends, colleagues or your company is doing. Try being a part of your friend’s initiative or company’s social responsibility program which will not only help you to understand about various social issues but also help you to find the one the cause that you can relate to.

2.   Focus on how your actions will have impact

After you have found the cause you are passionate about, it’s time now to look at finer aspects on how the cause can have effect on the world. Let’s say that you are annoyed to see that a local lake or river is getting polluted due to careless disposal of waste. There are many ways to resolve the issue, one may either choose to conduct an annual cleanup drive, or organize camps to spread awareness about waste disposal in the neighborhood or may even go to the extent of persuading local municipality come up with strict regulation on penalizing people who litter around the lake. All of them (separately or in combination) will solve the issue at hand, but with different levels of impact. Personally, you may think that penalizing littering may be the best solution and start supporting a local organization which is working for bringing a law in this regard, but we never know how long it will take or how effective it will be at the end. The best possible solution could be a combination of all three but it requires larger levels of commitment. So instead of choosing a cause and regret not able to do much, it’s important to select a cause that suits your affordability, time and money.

3.   Do research

Once you've identified a cause and its impact, now is the time to use the resources such as internet, social media and do a little research.  The research is for identifying the right organization which shares your passion. If your specific cause, say is “environmental awareness” and if you do a simple Google search, you will find a number websites for one or more specific organizations working for the cause.  The best part about our society today is that if you care about a specific cause, it is very likely that there will be an organization working towards the cause.You can visit the web sites of charities which will allow you to research further into what the particular charity has done for its cause. It’s very important for you to look at aspects such as overall goals, past financials especially funds raised and corresponding  project expenditure to understand how effectively the donations are spent on the cause. You can take help of platforms such as iCharity to minimize the efforts.

4.   Get Involved in other ways

Now you have found your cause and the organization, its time you decide on the donations. It is crucial as it is your hard earned money and you do not want your donations to end up in wasteful expenditures rather than the cause. At the outset you can start giving small regularly and see how it impacts and once convinced about the capability of the organization, you can start getting involved in larger projects.

If you think donating money affront is not a good idea, be open to other approaches such as volunteering, participation in various events, donating items etc. This will help you understand the dynamics of the charity organizations and have a firsthand experience on working for the cause. If you find a cause that you’re passionate about the limits are endless on what can be done to help.

The world is becoming wealthier and more of us are able to satisfy our needs. On the other hand, the world is also becoming more unequal. The gaps between the privileged and the disadvantaged are growing wider and compelling for immediate action. At this age of information, more than ever before we have the tools to learn about various social issues, what actions are available to us, and make informed decisions on how we can make a difference. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Inclusive Education in India and the Role of NGOs

The literacy rate in India has made significant stride in the last decade, but as per statistics 72 million primary school children and another 71 million adolescents are not at school. And as per the current trends 56 million primary school age children will still be out of school in 2015. Even with provision of Right to Education and government's high priority to education, increasing number of children are being excluded out of Indian education system. A survey conducted by iCharity among NGOs who working in the field of education to identify reasons for exclusion of large number of children and the issues plaguing Indian education system. The following issues have been identified as some of the underlying reasons;
  • Discouragement from family, especially for girls who end up spending more time doing household chores than going to school.
  • Family poverty is forcing children to work or help parents in their petty businesses. This is one of the major causes for children leaving school before completing the 8 years of education as stipulated by government. Even though these children are enrolled in a local school, they spend most of the time helping their parents.
  • Significant among the issues is the lack of infrastructure and quality teaching staff.
  • Many street children and children of migrants are completely excluded. The poor, especially construction workers and petty shop owners often migrate in search of work or better business affecting the children's education. When they move to new place, they usually neglect the enrollment of children in a local school which results in a gap of learning.
  • In most other cases, parents usually do not show any interest in their children's education while teachers do not put any efforts to make children attend the school. As a result children go wayward and stops attending school and spend their time elsewhere.
Provision of infrastructure for education alone is not enough, unless the mentioned above issues are addressed in a systematic way. The access to quality education for all, in particular for the poor and rural population, is imperative for the economic and social development of India.

Many NGOs in India have been relentlessly working not only identify children need of education but keeping track of them using their own network of NGOs and other supporting organizations. Whenever a family is migrating, the grassroot NGOs are taking the details of their new location and inform another NGO working in the same area who would eventually take the responsibility of taking care family's education needs in the new area. It's important that these NGOs are given proper support in terms of funds and resources so that the children of India get their due education.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Launching iCharity- the online donation platform

iCharity, an online donation platform dedicated to bring a positive change in society. It’s a platform bringing together those who want to donate and those who are committed to working in the social sector. The mission of iCharity is to raise awareness about various social programs, schemes carried by various voluntary organizations within India and increase the ease with which donations can reach them. iCharity through this website and with dedicated and proficient team is hoping to bring greater efficiency in the entire chain of operations in fund raising and donations. 

iCharity has already enlisted more than 20 NGOs after verifying their details about work, finances, governance and current projects.  iCharity has uploaded this information in a structured manner. One can search on the portal, study, understand the needs, and select a cause which ones feel right. iCharity provides a simple easy to use payment platform accepts all kinds of payment (credit card, netbanking or cheques).

main page icharity 
iCharity is supporting causes in Education, Health care, Children, Women empowerment, elderly care and Enviroment. Apart from donation facilities, iCharity is offering monthly donations, mypage for fundraising, articles on charity, news letters  and events.