When a few close friends and I met on a saturday evening last year, our discussion centred for a long time on the best way to give to those less privileged than us. We had all tried multiple methods – volunteering our time, giving to charities, and a fair bit of micro-lending. And, we were still discontented. I think it was because we felt we could do it better but didn’t know how. We were all intent to do this back in India as we had all grown up seeing the challenges the underprivileged face and we wanted to do our bit to make it better.
That conversation in early September last year was when Help2Grow.org was really founded in my opinion. Conversations can be truly momentous in retrospect.
A few weeks later, another friend shared some of the charitable volunteer work he did on a Whatsapp group that we all are part of and we jumped at the opportunity to further the discussion. “Why not start our own charity?” – we thought. And we did.
We had 2 challenges in the pre-formal-founding days that we never expected. The first was picking a name. We put all the pressure on our volunteer friend and shoved what must have been close to 200 possibilities at him – again, over Whatsapp – technology really is amazing. After being stuck in the “we need a name” phase for a week, a couple of us decided we just had to hammer it down. So, the final name was picked and we were ready. Learning – many teams tell wonderful stories of how they spoke of a name and how it just “clicked.” We didn’t have any such luck. We were mentally and emotionally tired of the naming process and decided it was time to pick and focus our energies on making a difference. And, guess what, we love our name!
The next challenge involved getting the India wing of the team together for the formal registration. We wanted 3 team members to sign the trust deed and, somehow, one thing or the other seemed to come up in the last minute leading to a postponement. Initially, there were whispers of this being the universe’s way of telling us what the “right” time would be (or fate). After a month of dithering, we decided it was probably not fate but the resistance. So, we promptly got it done. Learning: Yes, there are times in life when, no matter what we do, life seems intent on executing other plans. However, that is not always the case. It is also up to us to keep pushing to test the limits.
We then navigated our way through the registration and began working towards our first meeting. We had 14 people interested, had registered a charitable trust, created a bank account, and were all set to go.
That’s the story I’d like to share with you. It’s a story that is still being written and, most importantly, it’s a story that might not work. This isn’t a series about how to build a successful charitable trust – this is a series about our attempts at building a charitable trust that will last a 100 years. I’d like to take you through our process, failures, occasional successes and learning through the process. One of our core values is to “be transparent about why we do what we do” – so I’d also like to share our intent, dreams, and plans. Help2Grow.org is about giving to the community and there are many ways to give. We’re hopeful sharing these learnings will help too.
This blog post has also been posted on the Help2Grow.org blog.