Having been involved in SIFI since its genesis a few months ago, I have had the first hand experience of witnessing its progress. Our model is simple – to collect funds from individuals, pool it and direct it to NGOs in need of funds.
During the course of these months, the team has been confronted by many questions – why not approach corporate organizations or companies for money who may contribute as a part of their CSR initiative? Is SIFI going to direct the collected funds only to NGOs or also to individuals who are in need of funds? How does SIFI ensure the credibility of NGOs and ensure that the money goes towards the best cause that yields maximum positive social impact? However, one of the biggest questions that have been debated by the team – social media : to do or not to do?
In the initial stages, the progress was slow as the team used personal contacts to get funds in. But soon almost everyone on our close network was aware of SIFI and a few contributed to the cause. Given the question of growth and sustainability, it became imperative to reach out to a larger market. That’s when the debate of venturing into social media arose for the first time. The team was divided on opinion.
As the youngest in the 7 member team, I was eager to use social media such as Facebook to publicise our cause. I believed that, with this, things start rolling and results are achieved faster. After many rounds of thought provoking and challenging questions thrown at me, we negotiated and decided to use it for the short term. And thus, our Facebook page for Vision Ventilator was born.
As a tweak from the original features of a Facebook Page, this page will exist only until 31stMarch 2012 – the deadline for SIFI to raise INR 2,50,000 to donate a ventilator to the Chengelpet Government Hospital. Being admin of the page is both challenging and overwhelming. I learn a lot by searching for content for regular updates on the page – about world affairs, people’s attitudes, resource management etc. It is satisfying to note that in 10 days nearly 65 people have liked the page, with just as many talking about it. However, it gets tougher from here on as it must stand the test of time. It must fulfill the purpose of spreading awareness of SIFI and its activities and enable raising funds.
The ideological shift in allowing flexibility to create and manage SIFI’s social media relations has paved way for all of us to be more open to change. Ideas that were previously not taken too seriously like printing tee shirts, banners in events etc are resurfacing. A measured outcome is the impending photo-walk as a fundraising event for Vision Ventilator.
Personally, I find it enjoyable to be the face of SIFI – posting and updating details of our activities and connecting with a bunch of people who relate with and support our cause. It gives me a purpose to wake up everyday and a reason to look forward to being proactive and passionate about everything I do.