Volunteers helping underprivileged children
The Rosy Blue Foundation has recently launched its latest project, ConnectFor, a volunteering platform to assist potential volunteers in identifying opportunities from NGOs where they can donate their skill and time. The Foundation is currently headed by Shloka Mehta, and ConnectFor has been founded by her, and Maniti Modi. Shloka is the daughter of Mona and Russell A. Mehta and Maniti is the daughter of Ushma and Nikunj M. Modi.
The RBF team describes ConnectFor as a technology platform that aims to add value to volunteering, to both the non-profit, as well as the volunteer. In a short span of time, it has already garnered support from nearly 30 NGOs across different sectors, enrolled over 160 volunteers for different projects spanning 90 hours of volunteering time, in the process helping the concerned NGOs save Rs 60,000.
Shloka traces the genesis of this project to her 2014 experience while “carrying out a large scale employee engagement effort in recruiting mentors from the Rosy Blue India employee base”. She said that many of them wanted more flexible volunteering options, and “it seemed to the team at that point that it would be impossible to find a way to engage all our employees through one single initiative”.
Coincidentally, around the same time, Aalay, a friend of one of the RBF team members said that he was in Mumbai for only three months and had been keen to do some volunteering while here, but almost gave up the idea because “finding a way to do good was so difficult here”.
This is where the idea of ConnectFor was born. The ConnectFor team started doing a lot of research, and compared models across the world and used those to create a model specifically suited to the Indian context. Maniti observes, “People had the intent to do ‘good’ and it was our mission to help them turn this intent into action. In order to do this we wanted to create an easy to use, structured platform that would act as a one-stop shop to connect a volunteer to a cause he or she cares about.” Her former consultancy background shines through as she continues, “One of our USP’s is the way we measure our impact. We are measuring the amount of money saved by an NGO when a volunteer gives his/her skill or time. The idea behind this is to demonstrate the value of ones’ skill and time.”
Volunteers at a project
Shloka says she also realised that “Philanthropy is about solving problems, and this can be as effectively done through the donation of a person’s time and skill. People tend to cite lack of time or ability as barriers; in reality, the dynamism of this space circumvents this. By choosing to work on finite projects requiring specific skills, it is easy to align both time and ability, and balance them with the demands of a professional career”.
In a short span of time ConnectFor has won praise both from the NGOs it has worked with and the volunteers. One of their first projects was helping 321 Schools find volunteers to accompany children to the Aquarium. Rima, the school coordinator said the experience was ‘amazing’.
Mansha, a digital media specialist in New York who did some designing work for an NGO in Mumbai through ConnectFor, said, “I gained the satisfaction of giving back without the apprehension around whether my contribution is ‘going into the right hands’.”
Munib, an alumnus of several volunteering projects across Canada, USA, Costa Rica and Panama, says, “ConnectFor, is daring to do something that not only Mumbai needs, but has long been waiting for. It is aiming to connect organizations and volunteers, streamlining and simplifying the process of volunteering. Imagine all those youth and their bubbling energy FINALLY being channeled towards defined goals.”
ConnectFor has recently started organising CFCommunity events which are one day events where anyone can come and volunteer. These are a way in which people can connect with the community and they can come out and volunteer with their friends and family.
Maniti sums up the platform as a “community committed to connect changemakers and those in need, ultimately making it win-win for a cause”.
To know more- www.connectfor.org
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