Published: 19th August 2019
Why NGOs looking for corporate funding need to check out this platform ASAP
They are working hand-in-hand with NGOs to ensure that they build capabilities that are required to work in a more professional manner
There are many corporates who want to give, but are not sure how to go about it. And on the other hand, there are NGOs who can do with some help. And bridging the two is the start-up Impactify. Started by Joy Sharma and Sudeep Gupta, both were quick to recognise the management gap which, “made it difficult for players in the social sector to work effectively and achieve desired outcomes,” says the duo. So they came up with a platform that solves a lot of problems for both the parties, “to enhance the working of the entire social sector by reducing the administrative burden of the sponsor and NGO by digitising the end-to-end management.” Think of it as a marketplace for both NGOs and corporates. With the power of AI and analytics, corporates can find the right partners. Do they have your attention yet? Excerpts:
Impactify was born when Sudeep Gupta had to set up a CSR division of the company he was working for and found out how tough the process us. So from the spark of this idea onwards, tell us about how you both went on to discuss and shape the idea of Impactify and how it would work?
Right from the conceptualisation stages of the company, the gap in the social sector was very clear to us. NGOs were not used to working with corporates; they were working with individuals, governments or international aid agencies. On the other hand, corporates were also not used to working with NGOs.
Further, we realised that for donors, it is reasonably easy to get support from high caliber consulting firms to design programmes. But post design, 80 per cent of the money goes to the NGO for execution on the ground. This amount is earmarked for project work and NGOs don’t have access to management expertise, systems and processes required to deal with corporates. Given these challenges, we realised that we need to work towards helping NGOs become more professionally managed.
To do this, then, we needed to work at a price point that NGOs can afford. To achieve this, we needed to use technology at scale. As a result of our deliberations, Impactify was born.
The duo have been friends for over 25 years
How is the social sector when it comes to the adoption of technology?
In my opinion, adopting technology is not a major challenge. The real challenge lies in changing behaviours. The adoption of new ways of working has been a major challenge for Impactify. The only way to make this behavior change possible is to attach incentives to it. For instance, if the donor who is giving money says we need you to use a particular system, then the NGOs are more likely to use it.
So, it is not a question of the adoption of technology. Impactify
Since you have been working in the social sector in India for quite some time, can you tell us how technology has helped them so far and where it can take the sector?
Technology has been helping in solving sector-specific problems. This can be highlighted with the help of some relevant examples. There is a low-cost machine that has been created to manufacture cost-effective sanitary napkins in rural areas using local materials. There are machines that convert flower waste from temples into incense sticks. In hilly areas, organisations are using machines that burn pine needles to create electricity. There are many more such examples.
Another way in which technology can be used is how Impactify is doing so - to enhance the working of the entire social sector, regardless of the sub-sector - by reducing the administrative burden of the sponsor and NGO by digitising the end-to-end management. Such practices increase transparency to build trust across the private and social sector.
How do you ensure that the organisations or projects listed are genuine and credible?
To ensure this, we have a two-stage verification process in place. The first stage is the verification of documents. We ask NGOs to provide legal documents, registration, audited financials and so on. We also ask for existing project submissions or rewards that they have received previously.
The second stage is that of on-ground verification wherein we speak to beneficiaries, sponsors and local government authorities to ensure if the organization is credible enough.
While we do a thorough check, it goes without saying that the future remains unpredictable and there might be organizations that still end up faltering.
What is the future for Impactify and what can we expect next from you?
It’s a long road ahead for Impactify. We are essentially working towards making the social sector more professionally managed, and bring more transparency and trust. Eventually, we aim to amplify the impact of ongoing projects across the nation. So, we definitely have our work cut out for us.
Our short term goal, of course, is expanding our depth and breadth across the social sector in India with both corporates and NGOs.
On the technology side, we are investing hugely in innovation. We are leveraging AI to augment reporting and impact measurement, essentially making the entire CSR sector more efficient.
Three projects, many hits
Sponsors usually get attracted to newer and innovative models. Three that have garnered quite a lot of interest on the portal of Impactify are:
- An app that helps deaf kids learn to speak
- A programme to build entrepreneurship skills in artisans and build a digital marketplace for them
- A group of young mothers who have come together to build an organisation that helps underprivileged young mothers take best possible care of their newborns
For more on them, check out impactify.in