Published: 16th May 2018
Bitten by the charity bug? Just Donatekart
Donatekart, an online crowdsourcing platform, lets you donate products that NGOs really require so that your philanthropy is not misdirected
If you wish to donate in kind rather than cash, then Donatekart is the right choice for you. Donatekart is a crowdfunding platform where NGOs can list products that they need to donate and donors can buy and donate these products online. Started by NIT graduates Anil Kumar Reddy and Sandeep Sharma in 2016, the platform ensures that your generosity is never lost.
So how does it work? The e-commerce platform acts as a link between NGOs and donors. NGOs can run a campaign on the website to raise any kind of products — be it groceries, stationery, blankets, clothes and what not, "NGOs are given 30-45 days time to run their campaign on the Donatekart website to showcase their needs. Once people donate, we deliver the products to the NGOs that have requested them," says Anil. Donors can donate from as little as a pencil that costs Rs 3 to Rs 1 lakh worth of medical equipment. "With Donatekart, we believe we have actually democratised donating. There are instances where the same people are donating to multiple campaigns," he said. Donatekart has organised more than 300 campaigns and has worked across various sectors like education, women empowerment, animals, sports and so on.
Future plans: Donatekart raises about Rs 20 lakh a month in terms of revenue and they’re aiming at a crore in the near future
Not lured by high paying jobs, Anil started Donatekart right after he graduated. "In college, we used to work for a social club, Prayas, where we were leading a team of 150 volunteers. We used to go to the nearby government schools and teach children. We also visited a few NGOs. I also volunteered during the Chennai floods that occurred in 2015 and I was there for over 25 days and was part of a team that dealt with storage and distribution of relief supplies. We operated out of a warehouse, where we unloaded, sorted and disseminated tonnes of material to local distribution groups. It was there that I witnessed several Amazon and Flipkart cartons. Many people had purchased the items online and then sent it over to the relief warehouse. People had donated a lot of things in kind rather than cash, but there were many things that we were in need of at that point in time, which no one had sent. So there was a complete mismatch in what was required and what was sent. Then it struck me: What if they knew what to donate and in what quantity? And that’s how Donatekart was born," said the 23-year-old.
Anil wants to bring transparency and credibility to attract donors, "The major roadblock in the philanthropic space in India is that there is no transparency. Our team has a rigorous process before on-boarding any organisation. Even after a campaign is completed, we make sure that the donors get frequent updates with photos/videos on how the products are being utilised. This process makes donation transparent and donors believe that this would lead to lesser or no misuse of their funds," he explained.
We believed in the idea and started right after college. We got a lot of support from NGOs, investors and mentors. The future depends on how the younger generation is making a difference in the society and we are one such example
Anil Kumar Reddy, Founder, Donatekart
But it wasn't a walk in the park. Anil had to face a lot of challenges, "The biggest challenge we faced was getting NGOs to work with us, especially when we started out. The lack of experience often stood in the way of NGOs getting on board with our campaigns. As a start-up, we have been refused campaigns several times, owing to our lack of credibility," he said. Today, Donatekart has delivered more than Rs 15 Lakh worth of products to NGOs across India.
And what's next on the cards? He wishes to increase their NGO base in the coming years. "We raise close to Rs 20 lakh a month in terms of revenue and we wish to take it to Rs 1 crore in the near future. We have a lot of potential in the future as after demonetisation, more and more people started transacting online, so they can, of course, donate online too. More than 30-35 per cent donations come from NRIs so that's a target area," he concluded.
Donatekart is changing the way people donate
It is free for organisations to run any number of campaigns
The products needed can be listed by the NGOs
Products will be delivered directly
Donors get timely updates from beneficiaries on how products are being used