Big Idea

For a worthy cause

Mumbai-based Donatekart is giving a new meaning to in-kind donation

Soumik Kar

There are many among us who would willingly donate money to NGOs but daunting concerns, such as, whether the money would be put to good use, restricts us from doing so. To dismiss such worries and make donations transparent, Mumbai-based DonateKart is providing an online crowdfunding platform. “About 60% of our donors are first-time donors. Our platform identifies the needs of donors, which is transparency and convenience, and that of NGOs as well,” says co-founder Anil Reddy.

DonateKart’s journey goes back to December 2015, when Reddy and Sandeep Sharma, engineering graduates from Nagpur, volunteered during the Chennai floods. “We realised that there is a gap between what NGOs and affected people really need and what people donate, and because of that, a lot of things were not being utilised. This gave us the idea for DonateKart,” says Reddy.

On DonateKart’s platform, instead of donating money directly, donors pay for the things a particular NGO requires, say books or medicines. To maintain transparency, both the NGO and donors can see the number of things donated on the portal. In addition, NGOs share photo updates with donors after receiving the required help. According to Reddy, people often assume the needs of NGOs. For example, NGOs working in the field of education often receive abundant notebooks or pencils, but they also require schoolbags and other items. DonateKart is trying to fill this gap. 

The online platform currently has around 200 small and medium NGOs onboard working mainly in the fields of education, children, women's health, animal welfare and old-age homes. DonateKart has run 320 campaigns so far, that typically last for 35-40 days. The average success rate of these campaigns is 60%. Till date, 8,000 donors have contributed on DonateKart’s website of which, 35% were from overseas. The start-up accepts donations in rupees, dollar, pound and euro. 

So far, DonateKart has raised grocery and essentials for old-age shelter homes, school bags for children in Telangana and sewing machines for an NGO working for women empowerment in rural Maharashtra. Its most successful campaign was on Women's Day when it raised money for a child health foundation to distribute sanitary napkins among the tribal girls of Palghar, Maharashtra. Around 1,200 donors helped to achieve 100% target of raising money for 10,000 packs at Rs.32 each in a week’s time. 

The start-up doesn't charge money from NGOs or donors. They have around 40 vendors spread across the country who supply school bags, blankets, grocery and more to these NGOs, and the start-up collects a margin of around 15% from them. DonateKart has distributed products worth Rs.1.7 crore via these vendors till date.

Currently, the start-up is being mentored by Zone Startups in Mumbai. DonateKart reaches out to donors through social media and digital campaigns. To reach out to more people, it is now trying to tie-up with corporate companies who would then encourage their employees to donate. So, if you are still hesitant to donate in cash, DonateKart can be your first stop now.