Category - Political Issues

Crowdfunding Is The New Temple For Charity

Temple, Church, Mosque. Charity, Support

India is home to many religions, some old and some very old. As we all know, each religious community marks its presence in an area by building brick and mortar structures with an idol representing its source of divine power. These structures also serve as centres of community service, where people living in impoverished conditions come for food, shelter, emergency relief or any kind of economic support.

There’s no denying that the power of religion is irreplaceable. However, the integration of technology and the internet has given rise to new avenues for charity.
The popularity of the concept of online crowdfunding has opened up gateways for anyone, anywhere to give and receive help.
For instance, earlier people who turned to temples, churches, mosques or gurdwaras to seek monetary support in case of an ailing family member or a broken house, now have the option of turning to each other through online crowdfunding. People in need can gather the same support online from family, friends, acquaintances and sometimes even strangers.

Here at Ketto, we’ve seen people crowdfunding to seek help for various causes such as – the treatment of a rare disorder like Cutis Laxa, battling sudden diagnosis of breast cancer, getting someone back on their feet after an accident, building a shelter for the needy and many more. Not just for seeking help, online crowdfunding has also been the right place to go to when it comes to earning good karma by helping in the form of donations. Donation boxes at these religious centres are equivalents of fundraisers on crowdfunding platforms.

On Ketto, at this very moment, anybody who wishes to help the society will be able to make a difference to any cause they believe in, by donating to the fundraisers on Ketto.
While charities at temples are largely run by donations from affluent people, online crowdfunding has created room for anyone, from anywhere to donate any amount they feel they can afford to. The gap between the rich and the poor has also reduced as even the poorest communities living in the most marginalised spaces are able to get support from people across religions and geographies. And all this through the power of online crowdfunding.

In reality, the underlying principle of religious centres and online crowdfunding is the same – to unite helpers and seekers so that the society can become a better place – a place of equality.
So the next time you find yourself or someone you know in a situation where there’s an urgent need for funds, don’t forget to turn to the new age temple for charity – online crowdfunding.

Filmmakers On Crowdfunding #1: Proposition for A Revolution

pfr

[Want more inside stories on independent filmmakers and their trysts with crowdfunding? Stay tuned for Parts II (exploring Anamitra Roy’s ‘The One Rupee Film Project‘) & III.]

After digging deeper into the history of crowdfunding in film with Shyam Benegal, and exploring director Navneet Prakash’s journey working on his racing documentary ‘Sons of Speed’, we decided to cut to the chase. As we continue exploring the relationship between crowdfunding and films, we go, this time, straight to the sources — collecting opinions from filmmakers who have crowdfunded for their films and thus, had their audiovisual dreams see the light of day because of it.

In Part I of this series, we look at the journey of the team behind upcoming documentary Proposition for a Revolution by Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla, to distil the essence of what it is about independent filmmaking and crowdfunding that make them such a natural fit.

Proposition for A Revolution chronicles the journey of the Aam Aadmi Party from its genesis, right up till its first Delhi Assembly elections.

“The project started with the two of us going to Delhi in late 2012, to find out what exactly was happening on ground with the AAP,” Khushboo tells us. “The news reports that were coming were largely dissatisfactory, so we decided to make a trip. Once in Delhi, we realised something very unique was unfolding, and we began to document everything on camera, simply because there was nobody else documenting it.

“Slowly, the AAP phenomenon became bigger and the story began to play itself out. We had been filming all along so the project really grew organically from one stage to another.”

Khushboo explains that while the initial funding on the project came out of their own pockets and from Anand Gandhi, their first and strongest backer, many that they showed their material to, loved it — but didn’t necessarily want to put money on it. “We were looking for funding continuously, but most private investors in India found the idea of a political documentary rather dangerous and unsavoury,” she explains. Some very prestigious international documentary grants kept the project afloat for a while, until finally, they turned to crowdfunding as a last resort.

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Creating their own platform, they set up their own website, borrowed a friend’s payment gateway and got the ball rolling. With a dedicated crowdfunding campaign team in place, headed by ‘whizkid’ Zain Memon, they set up all the technical, design and organisational workflows for the campaign, which helped them stay on top of things as they went along.

Their campaign ended up raising over 180% of its intended target, to their genuine surprise. Khushboo highlights an important point, “More than money, there have been so many people who have come forward and offered us their resources, and a chance to collaborate. It’s good to know when your work resonates with people.”

Co-creators of Prop4Rev, Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla. Source: Platform Magazine

Co-creators of Prop4Rev, Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla. Source: Platform Magazine

When asked for three tips they’d give someone looking to start a crowdfunding campaign, Vinay says, “Firstly, get a dedicated team for your campaign. You will probably have to pay them but you’ll need a dedicated team. Secondly, be prepared to adapt. It may just turn out that your campaign gets a lukewarm response and you have to rethink your strategy. And lastly, get an accountant/money person on board when you are planning your campaign. Our accountant helped us understand the financial liabilities attached with our campaign and it’s deliverables which in turn helped us plan better. I know this sounds boring but just do it.”

Khushboo’s take addresses different aspects, “Firstly, identify captive groups and online communities which are likely to identify/empathize with your cause. Secondly, your pitch/trailer is the most important part of your campaign. Aim for clarity and a compelling narrative. Thirdly, engage with your backers. You’ll be surprised with what can come out of such interactions.”

When asked if they’d turn to crowdfunding again in the future, their answer’s a no-brainer, “Definitely.”

TED Talk ‘The Art of Asking’ on Crowdfunding Creative Projects

source - archive.mjoy.ua

 “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

― Charles Dickens

Here at Ketto, we’re firm believers in pushing the most original creative projects, no matter how crazy it might sound at first. Our logic is — every great idea had its humble origins somewhere, right? To get started is the key to getting somewhere, and only then does one grow into their potential. More often than not, the creative entrepreneur’s going to need a little help to get by, at least at first. This is where crowdfunding can step in to save the day.

In our previous story ‘Crowdfunding: Musically Yours‘, we explored how artists like Vasuda Sharma and progressive metal band Skyharbour successfully crowdfunded their projects by shedding the red tape and sticking to real talk.

Today, though, we look at a different aspect of crowdfunding — the first, and the most important, the part where you actually reach out and asking for help. You have to be a thinker and a doer to have your dream project materialise, and most important of all, you need to communicate to the audience what your idea is, so they may join you in your journey.

In this inspiring TED Talk (the holy grail of entrepreneurial wisdom), Amanda Palmer speaks about ‘The Art of Asking’:

The reach of the internet  is like a three-tiered blessing. First off, it’s democratic enough to give space to any musician or artist who has the guts to put themselves out there and test the waters to see how their dream project will float. Secondly, it’s your friends, family and fans who are going to be contributing and circulating your project; they’re your first audience, so to speak.

Thirdly, the internet has made all sorts of collaborations possible. There’s been a total shift in the artist-fan relationship. Just imagine — as a fan, you can now contribute, on a pay-what-you-want basis, to exactly the kind of music you’d like in your headphones! Chances are, there are going to be several other perks involved as well.

Autographed album, anyone? If you believed in the idea from Day 1, it’s probably yours for the taking.

People aren’t mindreaders, and no one’s going to know the potential of your idea until you make the effort to open up to them and ask. For their opinions, for their help. (And yes, also for that autograph.) For fans and artists alike, the mantra should be ‘Ask, and you shall receive’.

Amanda Palmer said it best when she said, “Through the very act of asking people, I connected with them. And when you connect with them, people want to help you.”

[Featured image credit: archive.mjuoy.ua]

Hello! Namaste! Asalaamu Alaykum! (World Hello Day)

Cute cartoon image of bird tweeting hello for World Hello Day

Tomorrow is World Hello Day , but we just couldn’t wait to say ‘hello!’ 

There is such a thing as World Hello Day and it is in its 42nd year of existence! Celebrated each 21st November, it was created by two brothers, Brian and Michael McCormack, both graduates – the former from Arizona State University and the latter from Harvard University. Hello Day was born in reaction to the Egypt-Israel conflict, to highlight the importance of communication in preservation of peace.

What the brothers did was to write to leaders of the world and other influential figures, telling them about their idea and asking them to join in the effort to raise awareness about their initiative, in the hope of spreading goodwill and peace. (Sounds familiar? Isn’t it like sharing information about a campaign for a cause and asking for support?!)

The wonderful thing is that these world leaders made time in their busy schedules to respond. World Hello Day had 25 countries observing it when it debuted. And the number has climbed since. Today, at least 179 countries have celebrated the day in small or big ways. (Yes, reaching out to your supporters would get you responses as well!)

Visit the World Hello Day website and you can view some of the letters the founders received from world leaders, Nobel Prize winners, authors, thespians and others. You can read letters from Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II, Mikhail Gorbachev, Prince Rainier and more.

Anyone can participate in the movement by extending a simple ‘hello’ to ten people. If you’d like to do more, you can go further than just a cheery hello. Look back into your past. Is there someone in your life with whom you had a falling out and have severed communication? Why not extend an olive branch to them in reconciliation?

We understand this is not a simple thing to do. But if you’re up to it and feel enough time has elapsed, to be able to leave the past in the past and start afresh, this is a wonderful way and a wonderful day to initiate the gesture, to forgive and be forgiven.

Why wait till 21st November? Say ‘hello’ today!

Share with us your World Hello Day experiences in the comments below!

Start your own initiative for change!

 

Happy Talk (LGBT rights)

LGBT Rights

The term ‘gay’ used to be interchangeable with the word ‘happy’ at one point. Today, the word is more commonly used to mean ‘homosexual’. Although the English language has evolved to allow for this transference of meaning, society’s acceptance of homosexuality is still at a disjoint.

It’s not like homosexuality did not exist a hundred years ago. It’s not a brand new concept.  Even ancient Greek mythology features transgendered gods. But sexuality is a contentious topic today. Surprisingly and sadly, in this age of technocentric living, there is still ignorance of the nature of homosexuality.

It is sad to know that there are still large factions of society that believe homosexuality is unnatural and wrong, that it is a disease that can and should be ‘cured’. It is heartening to know that there are activists out there who are raising awareness about what homosexuality actually means.

Be it Indian society or our western counterparts, the climb towards universal acceptance is steep. It is good to know that we have people like Aamir Khan raising awareness of the issue and educating Indians on what homosexuality is, debunking ridiculous myths like homosexuality is contagious, is sinful, and is something that can be cured with yoga.

Over this long weekend, take some time out and watch the episode of Satyameva Jayate that deals with raising awareness about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) rights and living.

Be a social activist too! Start a campaign for a cause today!

Click here and get going!

A Salute to Activists (Satyameva Jayate episode on road accidents, incident of errant cop suing young biker)

Satyameva Jayate

In remembrance of Mahatma Gandhi in his birth month, this blog post highlights the social awareness and activism that continues through to today. The seeds of change that were planted years ago continue to grow and bear fruit. And, we hope, always will!

Just as the father of the nation strove for a better future for our country, we have several individuals today who strive to bring about positive change in the world.

There are television shows like Satyameva Jayate (hosted by the amazing actor-activist Aamir Khan) that aims to spread awareness, wake the social conscience and spur people into positive action. Each eye-opening episode of Satyameva Jayate is followed by a call-to-action, allowing citizens to give to a social cause and be proactively involved in change.

A recent episode, for instance, dealt with road accidents – why they occur with such alarming frequency in India, what our government is accountable for with regard to road safety, and what citizens can do to help ensure their own safety.

Episodes of the show are archived on the Satyameva Jayate website and can be accessed at any time. There are some informative videos in addition to these, including one that demonstrates the procedure for CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), something that can come in handy should you ever witness a road accident and be in a position to help. Check it out! 

There were some handy tips shared, so in support of road safety for all, we are reproducing them here. Let’s all follow these simple, fundamental rules of road safety:

–          Don’t speed

–          Follow traffic signals

–          Don’t take extra passengers onto your bike

–          Wear your helmet – as the rider or passenger

–          Don’t drink and drive

–          Wear your seatbelt – as driver or passenger

–          Don’t use your mobile phone while driving

–          If you see someone injured, help them

Aamir Khan is using his fame to do good, to bring awareness and positive change. Kudos to his noble efforts! Another individual we salute is good Samaritan Arjun Ghai, an NRI who decided to do something when he came across a camera-phone video of a traffic policeman misusing his authority while confronting a young bike-rider. The incident occurred on September 15th, 2014 in Mumbai’s Vasai area. To sum it up, a young biker was flagged down by the errant cop for allegedly breaking traffic rules. On the young man’s refusal to pay the cop, the dialogue began to get heated, with the cop beginning to lose his temper with the young man. At this point, a bystander, Ramsagar Mishra, begins to record the incident on his camera phone. More information can be had at www.mumbaiheadlines.in, including a radio interview detailing the entire incident.

Arjun Ghai was so disturbed by what he saw, heard and read, that being a passive bystander was out of the question for him. He contacted Ketto with the aim of starting a campaign to raise funds for legal fees for the young biker as well as Ramsagar Mishra, both of whom are facing legal action.

Since Ketto can only help raise funds for NGOs, running a campaign to raise funds for an individual was not a possibility. However, Ketto is about helping individuals be the change. So we are happy to shed light on the incident in question via this blog post.

If you would like to help raise funds for this quest for justice and help the young biker and Ramsagar, who was brave enough to involve himself in the ruckus, Arjun requests you to call Ramsagar directly on +91982029552. You can also contact Arjun Ghai at arjunghai333@gmail.com.

There you have it. Though there are faults and fissures in our country and corruption festering in our legal system, there are enough socially-responsible citizens like Aamir Khan, Ramsagar Mishra and Arjun Ghai who are willing to fight it. We are, after all, a nation that was borne from a struggle for independence; a heartening fact in the month of Gandhi Jayanti.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

You can be a social activist too!

Start a campaign for a social cause today!