You must have heard about the great Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi. But are you aware that it was built by crowdfunding? Yes! Many religious structures of medieval India were built with donations from people. Even today, this is the popular, perhaps also the populist, method to raise funds for building or renovating temples, or to publicly celebrate a festival. Without using the term in particular, crowdfunding has been made use of frequently in India.
However, it came with issues. It was limited to religious causes, and because most of the crowdfunding happened through face-to-face fundraising, it had immense geographical constraints.
The emergence of digital crowdfunding has changed the face of fundraising completely in the west. And though it made a late entry, digital crowdfunding is now a young but booming industry in India. There are multiple reasons as to why crowdfunding in India is bound to be successful and have a bright future in India.
- Increasing internet penetration – According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI), digital penetration will take the number of India’s internet users from 367 million (28 percent of population) in 2016 to 829 million (59 percent of the Indian population) in 2021. The speedily increasing rate of internet users in India, will not only increase the donor base but also the campaigners, who will turn to digital fundraising sooner or later.
- India’s march towards a cashless economy – The Digital India programme is a flagship programme by the Government of India, with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered economy. Even the RBI has also recently unveiled a document -“Payments and Settlement Systems in India: Vision 2018” – setting out a plan to encourage electronic payments and to enable India to move towards a cashless economy. This will definitely have major impact on fundraising in India. Most of the nation’s fundraising, by NGOs, charities, or religious institutions, will take place through online payment gateways.
- High populations are a blessing in disguise – India is the second most populated country in the world. 17% of the world’s population is here. Even if a small percentage of the population donates the smallest amount, what a huge number it will be!
- Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR contributions pegged at 2% of net profit are made compulsory for corporate giants by the new Companies Act of 2013. Corporates which need to focus on their day to day have less time for this additional responsibility. They prefer to release funds to NGOs. These funds are increasingly channeled through crowdfunding platforms. And it will continue to do so, because this aligns with national fiscal goals.
- Culture of giving – Charity is a valued virtue in India, and the culture of giving is deeply rooted in our culture. Indian people are donating more than ever before towards causes that they are moved by, even though a stranger’s distress does not affect them directly.
- Large Social Networks: Indians love to engage in social gatherings. We are a well-knit society. It helps to raise funds from our own network as you can simply ask your friends and relatives to donate to your crowdfunding campaign. These people can also help generate a buzz around your campaign by sharing your story across social media, and by word of mouth publicity.
- Increasing sense of belongingness and higher social awareness – Because of higher media penetration and globalization, the world is getting smaller. Territorial borders are becoming blurry. We are moved by problems because we have exposure to them. This is helping the case of digital crowdfunding. The donations can flow from all over the world. Crowdfunding platform like Impact Guru, which offer tax benefits to foreign donors as well, boosts the cross country charity.
Online crowdfunding is slowly but steadily changing. The costs of social crowdfunding has come considerably down. The idea of education crowdfunding, medical crowdfunding instead of going for loans is percolating in the minds of many. The days are not far when crowdfunding will be considered as first and foremost option to raise funds. The multiple success stories of crowdfunding campaigns will certainly convince you to give it your best shot.