I have been working with AID for almost 4 years now. It has been a great learning experience – got an opportunity to interact and learn from hundreds of volunteers, and most importantly, got a sense of REAL India. We all get to realize how much we have and how comfortably we are living the moment we get to meet people who are struggling to make a living. All of us who cribbed about our schools never thought that even attending a government school can be a luxury.
When we started Gurgaon Chapter of AID four years back, we never thought we will make thus far. But we did. For which I would like to thank everyone for relentless effort and undying motivation.
Initially, as is the case with most of the non-profits, we were struggling to keep up the momentum. Volunteer attrition was high and funds were limiting our ambition. Despite persistent blogging, Orkuting, etc. coupled with exploitation of personal contacts, things were not improving. I wanted to find a permanent solution to both volunteer attrition and intermittent flow of funds problems. And hence, I started to purse Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at Evalueserve, a company I am employed with.
Initial days were full of uncertainties. I was pushing hard to make an impression within the organization. There were lot many things that we were doing to get the visibility. A few of them are as follows:
- Doing volunteer work within the organization – Doing volunteer work within Evalueserve proved to be instrumental in establishing CSR group in Evalueserve. Under this initiative, we imparted basic education to house-keeping staffs in Evalueserve. Beside education, the objective of the project was to facilitate awareness of health, hygiene among house-keeping personnel. Also, under this initiative training for transport and security personnel was conducted. The objective of the training was to facilitate organizational awareness and general precautions while performing their duty.
- Publicizing our work with AID
- Initiating environment awareness and resource saving campaigns
- Organizing blood donation camps
- Organizing exhibition in collaboration with NGOs
Gradually, we started to get traction from employees as well as management. Not only more people joined the initiative but also funds started to pour in. To start with, we were getting funds generated through internal activities. But as we grew in size, bigger ideas started to shape up. In February’08, we ran company-wide fund raiser campaign. The result – we collected Rs. 200,000 spread over 12 months and added more than 100 volunteers to the initiative. The response was not up to our expectation but we were not ready to give up.
We rethought our strategies of reaching out to people to seek support for projects we were running with AID and other NGOs. We formed a core team of 10 dedicated volunteers to drive the initiative in a more focused way. The step helped a great deal in not only spreading greater awareness but also in identifying a lot of passionate individuals. Also, while interacting with individuals across the company, core team found out that people have myriad of notions of what CommuniServe does. And a lot of what people had perceived was not the right picture of what we were doing and where we want to reach.
To convey the message right and clear, we decided to reach out to all 20 groups and 2,000 employees in the company. And CommuniServe Road-show began. Over a period of one month, we sensitized everyone in the company about impact we have had and our focus for the future. This activity provided enormous push to CommuniServe, for we identified 3-4 champions in each group and generated handsome funds to support our initiatives – monthly contribution increased from a mere Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 60,000.
Today, I can confidently say that CommuniServe has established itself firmly. What started with a few people has now become a company-wide initiative. AID volunteers come from companies of various industries. And every company wants to do something for the society. In fact, if you read the policy guidelines, I guarantee you mention of the word society and community several times. What I am trying to bring forth is that if they do not a formal CSR team yet, you can drive the cause. You are equipped with experience and association of AID. And above all, you are sitting on place which is full of possibilities, all you need is belief in the cause and rest would follow.I would like to end this note with a famous quote from Napolean Hill – “What ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.