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

Daan Utsav Fellowships 2015

DU Fellowship

The DaanUtsav Fellowship is an opportunity for young professionals to create significant social change. The Fellowship, hosted by iVolunteer, will enable 1 person in each of 9 cities across India, to reach out to and mobilise hundreds of thousands of citizens to give, and to experience the joy in doing so. In doing so, fellows will build a lot of hard and soft skills, develop fabulous relationships, grow in confidence, and get in touch with their inner selves. Above all, the Fellowship will help each of them experience the exhilarating joy in giving of oneself to society!

The Fellowship programme is a 6 month, full-time commitment from April 29 to October 28, 2015 and is offered to 1 Fellow each in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar.

Each fellow will be assigned a Mentor, who is a DaanUtsav volunteer himself/herself, and will work from the offices of iVolunteer, or the Mentor’s organization, or in a local nonprofit organization. Fellows will be offered a stipend of Rs15,000 per month, and an additional reimbursement of Rs3,000 per month towards local conveyance, telephone and other expenses. Fellows will travel outside their cities for 3-5 days a month, for national orientation, trainings and reviews, a few field visits to surrounding towns and rural areas as part of their work. All such outstation travel expenses will be fully reimbursed, and Mentors will ensure that such travel is safe for the Fellow.

The Fellow’s main role will be to
Daan Utsav Lores

  1. Assist volunteers in the city in helping scale up DaanUtsav participation
  2. Conceptualise, design and implement public events and activity ideas for mass participation in the festival
  3. Meet several new organisations/institutions and previous participants, and engage them in DaanUtsav celebrations. This includes corporates (CEOs, CXOs, HR & CSR heads and managers), schools and colleges (Principals and senior teachers), senior Government officials (senior police & municipal corporation officers, senior executives in Govt enterprises, Secretaries, Directors of Govt departments)
  4. Compile/ create with help from professional designers, suitable collateral for use- presentations, mailers, documents
  5. Schedule and help organize volunteer meets, including logistics, keep minutes and follow up on the tasks agreed by volunteers in each city
  6. Post updates on website, social media and co-ordinate with local media where required
  7. Any other tasks that come up from time to time

We are looking for outstanding individuals who are

  • A graduate or post graduate from a reputed college, with stellar academic and extra-curricular credentials
  • An extroverted person who likes going out and meeting people
  • Very comfortable using email, computers
  • Fluent in English and the local language of the city s/he will be based in
  • Passionate about creating change and excited by the idea of DaanUtsav

Last date to Apply is March 5, 2015

Apply now

Daan Utsav 2014 | Hospital Cleanup | Chennai

Daan Utsav (or Joy of Giving Week) is India’s “Festival of Giving” celebrated every year from October 2 to 8 that brings together Indians from all walks of life, to celebrate ‘Giving’. 20 lakh volunteers participated in events across 80 cities, raising tens of crores in resources and millions of volunteer hours during Daan Utsav 2013.

Bhumi is taking part in the celebration, organising Hi5 Club encouraging you to experience the Joy of Volunteering between September 27 to October 12. The following hospitals will be cleaned up during the period in partnership with Ekam


Government Royapettah Hospital
Rajiv Gandhi Medical College and Hospital
Chetpet, Jagannatha puram

Daan Utsav 2014 | Notebook Collection Drive | Bengaluru

This Daan Utsav (or Joy of Giving Week) Bhumi’s Bengaluru team is organising a ‘Stationery Collection Drive’. The idea is to collect notebooks, pencils and any kind of stationery that can be given to children of our centers across Bengaluru. Ideas include
1. Placing a donation box in our apartments/colleges/workplaces (If it needs lots of approvals, make it informal).
2. Talking to any retail/food outlets in our locality and see if donation boxes can be placed.
3. If someone wishes to donate money, we accept the money and buy the stuff on their behalf.
If you are interested, please sign up

Daan Utsav 2014 | Pune Events


Sign up to Volunteer in Pune

Name of Activity


Corporate Stalls Handmade Bags, Diyas – Blind School & Sparsh Balgram, Hemlkasa, Anandwan
No to Plastic / Paper Bags In School / Orphan – Making of Paper Bags. No to Plastic
Medical Checkup Camps In Orphan / School – Will take Medical Checkup camp
Sanitation & Cleanliness for School Children In Medical Checkup Camp only we will have Sanitation & Cleanliness Video Session
Story Books & Notebook Donation Ask People/ Colleague Donate Story books & Notebooks for underprivileged child’s education
Sports Kit / Toy  Donation Camp Ask Citizens to participate in fulfilling dreams of children
Cloth Donation Camp Any type of cloth/  Any age/ Including Saree / Winter Cloths  for the Marathwada & Vidharbha Orphanage
Each Child Count Survey on education of children in partnership with Door step school
Origami – Craft In Orphanage – session on craft
Drawing  Session In Orphanage – session on drawing
Story Telling Session English Marathi Story Telling Session in schools / Orphanage
English Words Making Activity Making english words with Fun – in schools / Orphanage
Mathematics Activities Playing with Mathematics games – in schools / orphanage
EVS – Ecofriendly Activities Ecofriendly Activities for schools/ Orphanages
History / Geography Activity Awareness & creating enthusiasm among student on Geography / History
Reading & Entertainment Activity for visually challenged & speech impaired Session for reading books
Save Water Awareness campaign for same – Road Activity
Save Girl Child, Protect Women &  Empower Women Rally

Sign up to Volunteer in Pune

Daan Utsav 2014 | New Delhi Events

  • Cleanliness Drive | 5th October, 2014, 8:30 am

We will all assemble at 8:30am in front of gate number 3 of Rajiv Chowk metro. The drive will focus on the Central Park area and also clean the trash created during Raahgiri.

  • Hygiene Movie | 5th October, 2014, 4:30 pm

We will show a movie specially created for kids which focusses on Hand Washing. It will be held in Rajendra Ashram.

  • Lemonade Distribution at a Construction Site | 11th October, 2014

We will distribute lemonade at a construction. The venue will be posted very shortly. It will take place at around 2 pm and will be easily accessible by metro.

  • Traffic Awareness Campaign | 12th October, 2014, 9:00 am

We will have a traffic awareness campaign at India Gate. Posters for the event will be created on the same day before the event.

  • Food Distribution | 11th or 12th October, 2014, 12:30 pm

We will organise lunch for all the kids of Rajendra Ashram. The date will be confirmed as soon as the centre authorities give us a date. The fund for the lunch is also donated by volunteers. You can come join us in the distribution of lunch. If you would like to donate, kindly email or call and let us know.

  • Stationery collection drive | 12th October, 2014, 12pm

We will collect stationery like unused notebooks, pens, pencils, colours, etc and have a collection at our office at Rajendra Ashram on 12th October. The entire inventory list will be shared and you will also know where the stationery was allocated. Do make sure that the stationary usable by the kids.

If you would like to organise any other event, kindly email us and we will set it up.

For further details, contact: 9999054311/8800450582 / email: [email protected]