The Will To Do Something Good Made This Woman Start A Crowdfunding Platform
How many of us are able to decide a career path soon in life and the more important question is, how many of us stick to it? Khushboo Jain, the Co-Founder and COO of Impact Guru, shares her story of coming about entrepreneurship early in life, finding the purpose of becoming one and establishing the now number one crowdsourcing platform.
Why did you decide to be an entrepreneur and what change do you intend to bring with Impact Guru?
I have had a lifetime’s preparation in becoming an entrepreneur. I come from a business family and I’ve helped my father with running his company, ever since I left school. I wanted to be an entrepreneur because I wanted an outlet for my creativity and my inclination to do some good in the world.
As Co-Founder and COO of Impact Guru, I can make a difference through the work we do, create employment opportunities for people and I also get a chance to mentor young people, particularly women.
Impact Guru is a crowdfunding platform that offers online fundraising solutions to individuals, social delivery organizations and to creative artists looking for sponsorship to fund their aesthetic projects. We are able to extend aid to the sick and to larger groups of people in need, that are served by NGOs and activists. We do this by helping our campaigners tell their stories and by finding ways to secure massive outreach for these stories within communities of donors who want to give and bring a change.
My intent in running Impact Guru is simple -
I envision a world where nobody has to die because they couldn’t afford treatment or of hunger; where misogyny and sexism do not hold women back; where every human can live with dignity and respect.
More often than not, human problems are coupled with problems of funding that prevent people from having their best chances at healthy and happy lives. We want to reach a goal where financial difficulties do not get in the way of this.
At what stage is crowdfunding in India and how do you see it evolve?
Crowdfunding in India is still a nascent concept for the prospective campaigner. There is little awareness among the middle-class and the working-classes, who are likely to need crowdfunding the most and can also benefit spectacularly from it. One of the very important tasks on the agenda of any crowdfunding industry insider is to educate the people of India about how the crowdfunding process works, and to offer assurance that crowdfunding has several major advantages over loaning funds to tackle emergencies and illnesses. We take that task very seriously at Impact Guru. We also try and create awareness among donors who have no idea that a small contribution can change someone’s life.
But the industry is growing. There are over a hundred crowdfunding platforms in India. It’s an $8 million industry and counting. There are collaborations shaping up between organizations in the social sector and crowdfunding bodies, to drive the social impact of large magnitude. If we can reach all the people who can reap the benefits of crowdfunding for personal or social problem-solving, then I think that would be a very positive development.
How is Impact Guru useful for an Indian woman? How can a woman use a platform like Impact Guru for her benefit?
Honestly speaking, I think a bulk of our social problems are rooted in the patriarchal culture and values we have inherited from our ancestors. Many Impact Guru campaigners run social aid projects aimed at providing women with opportunity, to ensure they have access to education and healthcare and scope for empowering themselves. We encourage women to come forward and use our platform to tell their stories of struggles both personal and collectivized. We are happy to lend a hand to connect you with donors who can help you make the change you dream of.
What has been your favourite fundraising campaign?
It’s hard to pick one, but I was happy to be a part of the campaign run by Village Volunteers and a Calcutta NGO called New Light. The mission was twofold - First, women from intergenerational prostitutional families were trained to manufacture an eco-friendly water hyacinth sanitary pad, then given business and sales training. Then this sales force of bicycle-riding women went out to villages to distribute the pad among groups of vulnerable girls who had no access to proper menstrual hygiene supplies. The fundraiser surpassed its target, but what’s more important is that we were able to touch lives positively.
We have helped acid attack victims get treatment and rebuild their lives. We have fundraised with organizations committed to women’s education. At this time, we are running a campaign for a women’s safety mobile app to protect and offer security to the women of India.
Can you share some tips on creating a successful campaign?
It’s simpler than most people think. You need to write a compelling fundraiser story, including as much detail as possible, and preferably a breakdown of how you will utilize funds. Upload photos and a video of your project to your Impact Guru fundraiser micro-site. Then begin sharing your fundraiser on all social media handles - think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, even via email. Always include a simple call to action - donate or share, or do both. We’re happy to help our campaigners maximize their outreach on social media so they can take their story to the largest possible ‘crowd’.
What unique skills does a female entrepreneur have?
A female entrepreneur serves as a role model for other women who want to get out of their homes and their domestic roles to make a mark in the world outside. A woman entrepreneur is faced also with the task of juggling family responsibilities and childcare activity that a male entrepreneur does not very often have to contend with. In India, as of here and now, it’s still easier being a male entrepreneur. But I’m glad that more and more women are coming bravely to the forefront of sociocultural and economic life and making it a little bit easier than women who are still struggling to be part of the milieu.
Khushboo Jain is the Co-Founder and COO of Impact Guru. She has worked at various startups and multinational firms in different roles such as The Valiram Group (managing international luxury brands like Hackett and La Martina), a stint with Indian fashion designer Manish Malhotra, TheClosetLabel.com and Kansai Nerolac Paints.