Bring the heart back into giving: Venkat Krishnan

Daan Utsav LoresOn 2 October, as Daan Utsav 2015 kicked off, a friend of mine texted from the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) in Parel, Mumbai. He had joined a group of more than 100 people who were celebrating the festival of giving; each had cooked and brought food for four-five people. “There’s not enough food, and it would be much easier if we served khichdi or something like that,” he said, “but great learning for my wife and I for the next time.” He also spent time talking to some of the people living on the pavement, to understand their stories better.

Nearly 500 families sleep on the pavement outside the hospital on any given day—families from rural areas who have come to Mumbai because someone in the family has cancer and is being treated for free. However, given how chemotherapy cycles work, many of these families need to live in Mumbai for a few months. Most are broke, given that they lose income for the months they stay in the city.

Till a week ago, my friend, a senior corporate executive, was probably not aware of this situation. Or even if he was, he knew of it as a statistic we routinely encounter: X% of children in class V read at class II levels, Y% of cancer victims can’t afford the costs of care, etc. These are facts that we are fully aware of, and eventually inured to.

But having gone there, and seen first-hand the plight of these people, chances are that my friend will think differently now about the need for public healthcare. As his family and he make repeated visits to the TMH pavements, and as he starts thinking about engaging in other acts of philanthropy, his views on public health policy will hopefully be formed more from empathetic experience than statistical charts. And their understanding of what exactly equity means, in human terms, would be deepened when they look at the growth-equity trade-off.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve seen hundreds, if not a few thousand people, begin to change their beliefs, values and behaviour once they “put a face to the data”. People who have visited and spent days with those displaced by “development” seem to rethink the kind of development we need. Seeing drought-affected areas changes attitudes to personal water consumption and spending a day at an orphanage or school for the mentally challenged gets people to change how they bring up their own children.

Invariably, giving increases, engagement with one or more causes deepens, and this eventually affects how they look at various “policies” in their capacity as citizens.

This engagement, when seen at an overall national level, will eventually create more favourable (or unfavourable) environments for government action in certain areas. And the impact of that will be huge.

Even with the new 2% corporate social responsibility (CSR) rule, a push for greater giving by our high- income individuals, and even if we succeeded in increasing “giving levels” from the current 0.4% of GDP to 2%, the total philanthropy spending would still be less than a tenth of what the Union government spends on welfare.

If we, the citizens, get more involved in how that money is spent by shaping policy, that alone will have far greater impact than any individual monetary contribution we make.

Peter Drucker, a management consultant, educator, and author, said that the purpose of philanthropy, more than the change created directly by the resources given, lies in making each one of us “a citizen who takes responsibility, a neighbour who cares”.

As India embarks on a renewed journey to give more, we need more and more people to put the heart back into philanthropy—not just write cheques, but visit, volunteer, engage and get involved with different social issues because that is what will transform each of us and, in turn, transform the nation.

Venkat Krishnan is co-founder and director of Educational Initiatives Pvt. Ltd. He is also founder of GiveIndia, and one of the volunteers who evangelize DaanUtsav.

Original Article: Live Mint

The impact of employee volunteerism can be directly linked and measured to employee satisfaction

George Elisseou, director , HR at Ford India on how employee volunteerism has emerged as a powerful tool in creating a motivated workforce


Employee volunteerism programmes are an integral component of how a company engages, not only with the community, but with its own employees. Besides fostering the spirit of giving, such programmes help employees understand company’s commitment to communities that they live and work with.Today, employee volunteerism has emerged as a powerful tool in creating a motivated workforce.


Employees are ambassadors and play a crucial role in building the brand that they represent.With the right support and encouragement, motivated employees, thanks to their engagement in volunteering programmes, go a long way in building a powerful brand. As Henry Ford once said, “a company that makes only money is a poor business.“Studies have proved that a good reputation, backed by good actions, can impact the company’s financial performance.


A dynamically structured volunteer programme elevates volunteering from a mere one-way transaction between employee and community into a larger, transformational experience for the employees. An effective workplace-giving programme also builds stronger relationships with colleagues, and feelings of pride and positivity toward an employer which leads to a continued long-term association with an organisation.


Volunteer programmes are crucial opportunities for employees to either hone their skills or acquire new ones ­ right from stepping out of their comfort zone, to engage in an activity that is new to them. Involving employees across volunteering programmes help instil skills, which can help them grow as leaders. In fact, one would be surprised how leaders can emerge in such communityservice related programmes and exercises. Volunteering also helps employees develop a sense of intuition and empathy, which are important from a leadership perspective.


Corporates must define the goal that the project is intended to achieve.This can be evaluated ­ both, from a qualitative and quantitative social impact and employee engagement perspective.The impact of employee volunteerism programmes can be directly linked and measured to employee satisfaction.

Original Source: Times of India

Treasure Hunt – Events | V-Excel | Chennai

‘Give Me A Sign’ is a city wide treasure hunt organized by V-Excel. The treasure hunt is going to be held on 27th September 2015, Sunday. The treasure hunt would begin at Besant Nagar Beach, Chennai and each team would be given clues, which would lead them to their next location.  Each team would be made to perform high energy, crazy tasks at different locations before their next clue is handed over.

V-Excel Educational trust is a NGO committed to the education and rehabilitation of individuals with mental and developmental challenges. Their goal is to empower children and young adults with special needs and disabilities to become dignified independent and contributing members of the main stream society. They have been working on and making significant changes in the lives of individuals we serve.

VExcel Treasure Hunt

The treasure hunt is being conducted with an aim to

  1. Creating and spreading public awareness about V-Excel educational trust.
  2. Educate people about the learning methods used by differently abled children.
  3. Facilitating inclusion of differently abled in the mainstream society.
  4. Help raise funds for the trust to improve the quality of education of the students.

V-Excel requires 30 volunteers to conduct the event

Date: September 27, Sunday
Place: Beasant Nagar Beach, Chennai
Time: 8 AM – 12 PM
For any clarifications contact: Adhishwar | +91 9962681194 / [email protected]

Activity Based Learning – Education | Maarga | Chennai

Maarga is an initiative focusing on identifying students’ interests and in turn assisting them in pursuing these interests. Maarga currently promotes activity based learning to make learning fun, meaningful and relevant.


In the current project, Maarga is looking to implement a 10 week module for students. The module will focus on reading, listening, speaking and writing skills for students by conducting activities relevant to their interests. Maarga requires 25 volunteers for their project. It includes working with students in the classroom (On – field volunteers) and evaluation of student output/ feedback (Off – field volunteers). Volunteers will also be involved in knowledge transfer to students/ teachers/ school management/ Maarga PMOs and fellow volunteers.

Activity Days: Saturday
Time: 1.5 hours during the school session (anytime between 8:50 AM and 12:25 PM)
Place: Hindu Senior Secondary School, Adayar, Chennai
Contact: Aditya KS | Phone: +91 99520 71237

Events for Intellectually Challenged – Disability | Anbagam | Chennai

Anbagam is a charitable trust working for the wandering mentally ill for the past 17 years. During these years, Anbagam rescued 1640 and reunited 1200 people with their families in various parts of India. Currently Anbagam has 240 patients in three centres in Tamil Nadu. The home at Otteri has 35 female residents and Vichur accommodates 140 patients of both genders.


Volunteers needed for: Recreational programmes, creating awareness on mental illness, music programmes, training on vocational skills, gardening, farming, Meditation, yoga etc for the residents of the homes…

Preferred days: Wednesday / Friday / Saturday
Time: At your convenience any time between 10 AM to 4 PM
Places: Otteri & red Hills

Facebook page:
Contact person: Joji Alex | [email protected] | 9884553950

Road Safety Awareness – Community | Thozhan | Chennai

We are happy and proud for each and everyone of your participation on making this event grand success, Road safety awareness campaign happened on 100 signals in all over Chennai signals with total of 2000+ volunteers.

Event was inaugurated by Tmt.Letika Saran IPS, Director General of Police (Retd.) Mr Anwar Basha, Assistant commissioner of police-traffic as the Chief Guest.

We have distributed 1Lac pamphlets and pasted 50 thousand head light stickers to create more awareness.

I am sure each of your 2-3 hours contribution saved many lives and accidents today, Also you become a role model today for whole chennai citizens.



Traffic Awareness Campaign at 100 Signals:
Adayar, Ambattur, Alwarpet & Teynampet, Anna nagar, Ashok Nagar, Egmore, Guindy, Kodambakkam, Mylapore, Nungambakkam, OMR, Pallavaram, Perambur, Porur, Saidapet, Tambaram, Thiruvanmiyur, Triplicane/MountRoad, T.Nagar, Vadapalani, Velachery, Virugampakkam, Central, Purasaivakkam

Volunteer for future Road safety Awareness Events

– Thozhan Team

Road Safety Awareness – Community | Thozhan | Chennai

India has the worst road traffic accident rate in the world!  Thozhan is organising a massive Road Safety Awareness Campaign at 100 Signals across Chennai on Sunday, Aug 9, 2015. You can participate in the event as a regular volunteer or coordinate a team of volunteers at a signal during the event.

Coordinators have to attend a special training session either on July 19/26, 10AM – 12 PM @ Saidapet (Details will be communicated after you sign up)
Volunteer Needed

Volunteer for future Road safety Awareness Events

Nomadic Children – Education | Yurt on Wheels | Pondicherry

Yurt on Wheels (Yurt means hut) is a nonprofit organization, specially working for nomadic (Gypies- Narikuravar) community in Lawspet, Pondicherry since 2014. Yurt on Wheels engages children by providing alternative education and livelihood training for them.

Volunteer Needed

Volunteer Requirement

  • Cause: To work with children – education, life skills and special activities
  • No. of volunteers needed: 2-4
  • Days: Monday to Friday
  • Time: evening 3.30 pm to 6.30 Pm
  • PoC: Mr. John Peter  [email protected] | 08122584451