A fashion designer in an export house, Neelam Taragi, was one day reading an article about the plight of the girl child and was so moved that she wanted to contribute to her cause. But, as a busy designer, she had no idea which NGO to trust with her money.
UK-based businessman Kewal Kishen Bhardwaj, having done well for himself in his adopted country, wanted to give back to his native country by "doing something worthwhile" for the poor and disadvantaged. Guided by Mahatma Gandhi's words "the simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer," he came to India to donate to a "just cause". But, like Taragi, he got confused about which NGO or cause to donate money to or whom to trust with his money.
It was here that Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India (<http://www.cafindia.org/>) came to his help. CAF India not only guides individual donors like Taragi and Bhardwaj to the right cause and the NGO but also keeps them informed from time to time about how their money was touching lives and transforming communities.
"I have no problem donating money. But I want to be 100 percent sure that my money will not go waste or simply just siphoned off," Taragi told IANS. Through CAF India (http://donate.cafindia.org/) she is donating to a NGO and a cause that is close to her heart.
Meenakshi Batra, Chief Executive of CAF India, said that as an organization "our vision is to create a society that is motivated to give ever more effectively".
"India has been a country with a strong giving culture and CAF India through its products and services aims to create an enabling environment to grow that culture in a credible and accountable ways," Batra told IANS.
"As an organisation we believe that through giving, whether it is time or money, everyone has the capacity to transform someone else's life for good," she added.
CAF India is a member of CAF Global Alliance that has offices in nine countries and distributes funds to over 90 countries across the world. Their mission is to promote and support strategic giving for a more equitable and sustainable society.
They facilitate increased flow of resources from individuals and organizations to the non-profit sector for transforming human lives and communities.
With the government making social corporate responsibility an integral part of its economic development model, India Inc. feels it needs to satisfy itself that its funding is reaching the right people without losing the sense of purpose.
CAF India, which is now developing a more robust and transparent online giving platform that will act as a one-stop shop for all individuals giving programmes, has come out from time to time giving campaigns 'Right2Sanitation,' 'March2Give' etc. to facilitate strategic giving.
And these campaigns have got a thumbs-up from the corporate too.
According to Kirti Talwar, Director-Finance, AON, one of the leading multi-nationals providing risk management and human resource solutions, CAF India has helped them take the right decisions.
"At AON serving communities is as important as serving clients and colleagues. To achieve this objective CAF India is helping and supporting us to take appropriate decisions. Their experience and knowledge is a great help for us as we build our long termed sustained strategy to contribute to society."
CAF India supports AON in CSR programme development and implementation in the areas of education, skill-building, sanitation and disaster management.
Even the NGOs working at the ground level have found association with CAF India fruitful towards meeting their goals.
Andhra Pradesh based NGO CHORD founder Suman Christopher Malladi told IANS that "CAF is a great enabler.
"Some of the rare skills that they bring to table in making CAF India a thoroughly professional outfit are keeping things simpler, people building unmatched compassion for the disadvantaged, empathy for the partners in the field and unrelenting commitment to their state, mission," said Malladi whose NGO's vision is to ensure every child is in school and learning with dignity.
Added Sohini Karmakar, Manager-Resource Mobilization at Udayan Care, "Working with CAF India means sharing the accountability of your project with an equally driven and committed team where the true essence of the partnership is realised.
The NGO works to empower vulnerable children, women and youth, in 13 cities across eight states of India.
Bhardwaj said in the western world where charities markedly power programmes aimed at bridging the social divide, India has lagged behind despite some exceptional individual and corporate deeds.
In fact, in the last year's World Giving Index 2014 India was ranked 69th in a list of 135 countries measuring charitable behaviour across the world by the UK-based Charities Aid Foundation. The US and Myanmar stood first.
Bhardwaj said he has come across many Indians who believe in the adage "charity begins at home" but are mostly donating money to temples or to beggars.
"But they do not have altruism in their mind. In fact, this act is usually taken thinking about 'what they will get in return' through God's kindness by favouring them in some way," said Bhardwaj, 70.
"I trust them (CAF India). I know my money is being well spent and shaping someone's life for the better," he added.
(Kavita Bajeli-Datt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)