Crowdwave’s leg-up for NGO fundraising

Chennai-based Crowdwave helps local NGOs by making them more accessible to potential donors

Updated - February 19, 2021 01:16 pm IST

Published - February 18, 2021 05:33 pm IST

One of the most frequent questions Ritika Rai Reddy would hear as she started working part time with NGOs was, ‘how do you know which one you can trust?’. What if there was a catalogue of NGOs for people to browse, choose and donate to? “My goal has always been to bridge that gap between potential donors who need a platform of campaigns to choose from, and the smaller NGOs that need assistance but don’t have the platform to gather the kind of support they need,” she says.

This is what she has been doing the past 10 months with her platform Crowdwave. When Ritika returned from her graduate school in the US, it was to join her family business in steel manufacturing. However, an interest in NGOs and charity work led to her starting the platform in 2017. “When the pandemic hit, NGOs lost their usual donors as many were not necessarily in a position to contribute. That’s when we redid our platform to fill this gap,” she says.

Being Chennai-based, Crowdwave so far has been focussing on the young NGOs from the city. Their list features campaigns to help those affected by Cyclone Nivar; those providing education to children in areas such as Kannagi Nagar; caregivers of people with physical and mental disabilities; and even the horses of Chennai’s beaches. People can pick the cause they care for the most, and donate — either money or in kind.

In June last year, a campaign by Chennai’s Turning Point Educational Trust, which promotes the causes of education, livelihood, and women empowerment, raised upwards of ₹7,33,000. “So far, most of the donations have been for food essentials and medical needs. Education took a backseat last year but it is now picking up again,” she says.

The commonality between the NGOs featured on her platform is that they are small, local and city-based, making it easier to perform personal background checks. “Over the years I have worked with so many small organisations, who do incredible work but just can’t reach their potential because of their financial constraints. And honestly, for NGOs, focussing on fundraising is hard. It requires manpower, money and being savvy with various social media platforms like Instagram/Facebook,” says Ritika.

Crowdwave works with NGOs to ideate, create and host campaigns. “We also help them state their needs in a way that will help them get more attention. We take photographs and promote these campaigns on social media to reach a broad audience,” she says. The platform has also been hosting charity events online such as yoga classes, workout sessions and comedy nights, where hosts donate to causes close their hearts.


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