The story of Young Volunteers Organisation (YVO)
Many NGOs look for funding among the older generation, brushing off the role youngsters could bring to the table. What they fail to realise is that the younger generation, like the older, wants to contribute to the society but is low on resources to spare.
Being part of this generation himself, Siddharth Ladsariya came up with the idea of collecting a small amount every month and donating it to a charitable cause.
“While I was studying in the US, I noticed that the youngsters there were more inclined towards social work. I decided to collect a small amount of $5 a month and donate it to a good cause. Before the idea could see the light of day, it ran into trouble because of compliance issues. There ended my social venture in a foreign country. After completing my studies, I came back to India. One evening, when I was relaxing with my friends and family, this idea had somehow made its way into the conversation. I realised that people were looking to give back to the society but were unsure on how to go forward without spending too much time or money. With my family as my backbone, I decided to work on this specific niche”, says Siddharth (33).
In 2015, a group of 20 youngsters started YVO in Mumbai, with the support of 150 donors. They decided to collect donations with a minimum amount of Rs 300.
As an angel investor and the founder of YVO, Siddharth strongly believes in the adage ‘give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime’. It became the foundation of the organisation. Thus, the money that was collected was not used on materialistic items but to causes that make one more independant. This allowed them to narrow down on the kind of NGOs they wanted to support and there began their journey.
“Once we had money flowing, we made sure of two things – one, that at the end of the month, our bank balance was nil. We ensured that the entire amount was donated; two, we made sure of transparency, we held the NGOs we donated to accountable and asked them to provide proofs of expenditure, all related documents were uploaded on our website and were shared on WhatsApp and email each month,” says Maulik Unadkat, who is part of the administration at YVO.
These key points earned the trust of their donors and their name spread, increasing their donor number. By the year end, YVO had donated Rs 14 – 15 lakhs to 12 different NGOs.
“We could probably do more justice to a particular organisation if we invested in only one but we are aware that there are many NGOs that require help. For this reason, we make our donations to a new NGO every month. This is a learning process and we are trying to do the best we can,” says Maulik.
YVO today and thereafter
With an active volunteer base of 26 members and 734 donors, YVO is donating over Rs 2.5 lakh every month. They’ve completed 33 successful donations and collected and donated more than Rs 47 lakh since their birth.
YVO hopes to grow to include one crore donors in the next 10 years. Siddharth believes this would greatly impact two aspects of their goals. “One being the amount we collect, which will increase to around Rs 300 crores a month; this amount could easily solve the localised problems of our country. Two, we’d be uniting the youth to contribute towards nation building – a feeling that has been lying dormant in their hearts. I can’t wait to see what else we, united, can achieve,” declares an excited Siddharth.