Corporate Social Responsibility · Employee Volunteering · Impact Volunteering · Volunteering · Volunteering in India

How a Marketing Professional used his expertise in making a different kind of Impact!

An Impact Volunteer
An Impact Volunteer

Gautham Krishnan was always interested in meeting new people and discussing new ideas. A mechanical engineer with an MBA by qualification, his professional work mostly revolves around strategy creation & new business development. Married to Shwetha Krishnan, a speech therapist the couple was recently blessed with a baby girl, Niharika. Volunteering according to him is an avenue to give back to the society and see real impact on the ground for the underprivileged.

I believe in the power of knowledge sharing and the importance of collaboration to uplift the economically weaker sections of the society.

Gautham’s first Impact project has been with Society for Participatory Integrated Development (SPID), Delhi- a non-profit that is committed to the upliftment of weaker sections of the society in the area of urban slums. The project required a marketing strategy for their products by stating clear marketing channels to pursue and recommendations  on clear marketing messages.

When Gautham and Vikram (co- Impact Volunteer) first met Awadesh Yadav, (Founder, SPID) they understood that the challenge at hand was actually revenue & employment generation for the women they were working with. ” Over the years SPID has been providing vocational skill development programs for women but the non-profit was unable to convince them to continue this as a profession because of the lack of accessible markets available to sell the goods produced by them. Traditionally they have participated in exhibitions and have occasionally got bulk orders, too . But it was becoming increasingly challenging to sell more when more women joined the program. So as volunteers we were responsible to identify the market space to sell these products, reduce the cost of customer acquisitions and create scalable models for ramping it up.”

Women from Savda Ghewra working on a product
SPID has been providing vocational skill development programs for women but the non-profit was unable to convince them to continue this as a profession because of the lack of accessible markets available to sell the goods produced by them

How was his overall experience?

It was fantastic and I had good interactions and support both from iVolunteer and from Awadesh. Vikram and me were able to make some good recommendations which will enable SPID to think on how to allocate the limited resources that they have to generate the most optimal sales and revenue. In fact, one of the recommendations that we gave was to leverage the various e-commerce portals available to target a much larger customer base. Before getting involved in this project I never knew the challenges that NGOs face when they focus on skill building. It is simple- the skill building will only be valued when the trained individuals are able to make meaningful earnings out of the skill that they acquire. I think this is an avenue which is typically not given the right importance by most NGOs/ the Govt. Also this exercise helped me understand more about the functioning of e-commerce portals.

Gautham and Vikram’s efforts were well appreciated by Awadesh Yadav, Founder and Director of SPID.

Gautham and Vikram met with us for this project and made sincere efforts in understanding our organization, the context of this vocational skill program as well as the products. They have given us some very good recommendations  which are cost effective and practical enough, to be taken forwarded.

Gautham feels  Impact projects  is one of the best initiatives he’s come across as it benefits both the NGO & the professional in the most impactful way.  “Currently most NGOs struggle because of the lack of professional advice in managing and optimizing their operations and this is where a professional can provide the right kind of advice or services which an NGO may never be able to afford otherwise. This helps in making the NGOs function better and the volunteer to use his skills in making a meaningful difference.”

Pointers for other Impact Volunteers?

The biggest challenge that most NGOs face is knowing the unknown. So as an Impact Volunteer it will be your responsibility to tell them what they don’t know and help them understand why some specific changes or activities will help them. I think Impact projects are definitely an area where each one of us should participate for the betterment of the society. To quote MK Gandhi “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem”

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