Ten years ago, the internet wasn’t what it is now. We used a slow dial-up modem connection to watch movies, listen to music, send emails and Google information for our assignments. In 2010, a mere 7.5% of people in India were regular internet users. As 2017 rolls to a close, 35% of Indians use the internet every day, including over 165 million people in rural India, partly owing to mobile bills that have become ridiculously affordable as compared to 10 years ago. Today, India is only behind China with the world’s largest population of internet users.
Now, all our tasks and chores are at our fingertips. We’re glued to the internet on the go, all day long. We stay in touch with friends and family, shop for clothes or groceries, fix an appointment with a doctor, book air tickets, read the news, send and receive money…the list is virtually endless, including everything a person may do on an ordinary day, and then some.
And now, squeezing into the chaos of scrolling and pinging is philanthropy. Giving is also quickly going digital, with the onset of crowdfunding.
The crowdfunding difference
Crowdfunding has been a popular trend in western countries for a few years now, and India is catching up quickly. Many fundraisers on Indian crowdfunding platforms are created by NGOs for projects that work towards eradicating poverty, malnutrition and strive for education, happiness and high quality of living. Other campaigners strive to raise funds for their medical treatments, emergencies and many manage to raise lakhs of rupees in weeks with the support of a network of donors starting with family and friends and spreading out as individuals share their story on social media. Some choose to crowdfund for their creative pursuits.
Crowdfunding operates entirely on the internet, bringing together campaigners who need help with their causes and donors who are willing to give from anywhere around the world on a single platform. Campaigners who require monetary assistance for any project; whether that’s community development, education, medical bills, and so on, can voice their stories on this platform. Through a consistent presence on social media, they can find and approach a network of supporters and donors who relate to their cause. Donors can find these fundraisers on their social media, shared by their friends and family, or they can sift through fundraisers, read stories and safely make any contribution they wish to.
The benefits of going digital
Giving going digital is positive for both campaigners and donors. Why? Primarily, simply because it’s convenient and cheap – this is why everyone has switched most of their offline activities to the online space. Why not do the same with giving? Campaigners and donors can interact with each other on their devices at any time. Secondly, it’s safe. Crowdfunding platforms are a safe place to put your money and the process is always crystal clear. Thirdly, donors can act urgently. Campaigners have a chance to prove their authenticity and share their stories in detail, which donors can scrutinize before choosing to give their immediate, emotional support.
This is how giving has made its presence on the world wide web, and people love it. They love reading stories and watching videos about campaigners and their projects. Unlike other internet-related tasks people focus on throughout the day, like surfing through Instagram or reading the news, people often stumble upon stories of campaigners and on being moved, choose to give their monetary support as a result of being moved by the story.
Crowdfunding has been tried and tested for years now, and it has yielded great results, both in India and abroad. Campaigners who are new to the concept are given support and assistance from the team at the platform they choose to use from step one, till the end. Youth today is growing more aware and concerned of social issues that plague the country and made have turned to crowdfunding for causes they care about, setting an example for all communities to give without any reason except human empathy and goodwill, and to do it smartly and effectively, giving direct aid rather than long-drawn assistance that may be too late to make a dent.