HYDERABAD: Frugal, accessible and affordable. Those are the reasons that won DonateKart, a crowdfunding platform founded by Telugu boys where non-profit organisations list the products they need, and donors can buy these products online. Once people buy the products, Donatekart helps deliver them to NGOs, which in turn, provide it to the needy. They won the Nasscom Social Innovation Forum Award at the recent Nasscom Social Innovation Awards to Technology Innovators held in Hyderabad.
More than 1,900 organisations applied for the awards which were given across five categories this year. It was a seven-month long rigorous process where jury headed by Debjani Ghosh, President Designate of Nasscom, selected them for the award in the financial inclusion category. Talking about what fetched them the award, co-founder Anil Kumar Reddy says, “India has over 2 million NGOs and donors expect a lot of transparency to donate. Donatekart has facilitated the way people donate to charities. On the platform, donors can pay for products needed to the NGOs and thus they know how their donations are used.”
The platform recently crossed 1.5 crore overall worth of products raised on the platform donated by 6000+ donors from 30 + different countries. “This is a true validation that people across the world want to give back to India and we are acting as a platform facilitating both NGOs & donors,” adds co-founder Sandeep Sharma who hails from Kodad in Telangana and has spent a few years in Hyderabad. Both the founders studied at NIT Nagpur. “During college, we led a team of 150 volunteers where we did different social activities and that is how we know a lot about social sector. Of the NGOs we work with, 30 percent are from Telangana & Andhra Pradesh,” says Anil. Anil’s brother Sunil Kumar Reddy helped in in building the platform.
Over 200+ NGOs have used the platform as of now & we have seen them raising stationary to medicines, they say. “One interesting campaign we would love to highlight is where an NGO working in tribal areas of Maharastra raised a delivery table to install in the PHC. Now the tribal women don’t need to travel 40 km to the nearest taluka for deliveries.”
Many people think that any company with a charity angle and which largely depends on crowd sourcing usually are not viable financially. What do they have to say about it? “I think we wanted Donatekart to be financially self-sustainable since its inception. We never want to pay our employees less than what they can get in market. With the growth of internet penetration and digital payments, we feel that Donatekart is the ‘go-to’ platform for anyone to give back and it is a huge untapped market,” they say.
In 2018, they want to want to add more features to the donors as well as NGOs so that it become seamless for people to donate. “We are hiring more people in technology & operations so that we can expand to other sectors as well,” informs Anil. They say their families and their patrons are behind their journey and success so far.