An oft-asked question in many online communities I am a part of is where can clothes, books, stationery, and toys be donated. Often, the inability to personally hand any items at the NGO is a deterrent, while the accumulated materials find their way to the dustbin.
To address this concern, Anushka Jain, a resident of Bengaluru, started an organisation which she aptly calls Share At Door Step (SADS).
In this exclusive interview with The Better India, Anushka speaks about why she started the organisation, her journey so far, and her way forward.
“As a child, I would visit an NGO on my birthday with my mother each year. We would collect all the material that we wanted to donate through the year and take it all with us on that one day. As I grew older, I would ask my mother why we visited the same NGO each year. The comfort of knowing where the materials were being used was one of the primary reasons,” says Anushka.
Making non-monetary donations required a lot more bandwidth and that was another reason we did it only once a year, shares Anushka.
The birth of an entrepreneur
Hailing from a middle-class family, taking the entrepreneurial route was not easy for her.
Looking back at the beginning of SADS, she says, “I started the organisation in 2015 when I was still employed with Accenture. I would go for pick-ups in the morning before heading to work, and with each pick and drop, my belief in wanting to start this organisation formally just kept getting stronger.”
She did the first 150 picks and drops herself to have a complete hands-on experience of how things functioned.
It was not smooth sailing for her though.
She says, “Despite recognition over the last two years, my parents are still not convinced about what I do. They still want me to do this on the side, as a hobby, but not as a ‘real job’.”
Their concern is that telling people she has a steady job would auger well with people rather than the fact of her being an entrepreneur, especially since she is “of marriageable age”.
“It’s just a vision. Individuals and brands are all moving towards a cause, and that has been one of the biggest motivations for me to continue on this path,” she says.
She recollects being afraid of swimming, and her father’s words at the time come back to her now. “He would often tell me to trust myself, have faith in my abilities and just take the plunge. I have pretty much applied that to what I am doing now,” she says.
SADS started with two NGO partners and today has more than 100 NGO partners across eight cities with over 2.3 lakh happy donors! It also has 40 corporate tie-ups with companies like Snapdeal, GSK and Flipkart, among others.
Anushka’s organisation now has 12 full-time employees and more than 120 volunteers who come together for various campaigns.
“Donating should not be a difficult pursuit for people, and I endeavour to make that process as smooth as possible. Even if I have one small toy that I want to donate, I must be able to do it easily,” she says.
How to Schedule a pickup?
1. Visit the SADS website and enter your location
2. The NGOs in your area will appear. Select the NGO whose requirement matches your donation
3. Put the items in your donation bag and schedule a pickup
4. The following items can be donated:
a) Clothes, including woollens
5. A convenience fee is charged for each pickup. The minimum amount is Rs 199 and depends on the number of items you donate.
6. If you wish to drop off the material yourself, no convenience fee is levied.
7. As of now, pick-ups happen only in Bengaluru.
Most cherished campaign
One of the campaigns Anushka remembers very fondly is the ‘Choco-Lava’ campaign.
She says, “We had tied up with a few brands, and for each donation that a child made, we gave them a choco-lava cake. We had kids call our centre and tell us what they wanted to donate.”
“It was lovely to see them part with their cherished toys and make donations.”
Most kids are extremely possessive about their toys, so we ensured that once the toys reached the NGOs, we sent the kids pictures of the happiness that they had managed to bring others, she shares, adding “This inculcated in them the desire to give.”
With over 2.3 lakh happy donors, one of them from Prestige St Johns Wood Apartment in Bengaluru, says, “We have been using Share At Door Step for around two years now. We have organised donation drives in our apartment complex multiple times and got them delivered to Goonj and a few other NGOs through them. I love their story and service–the process is just flawless. I wish them good luck.”
In two years, Anushka is hopeful of launching pick-ups in eight more cities as well as offer express pick-up services. We urge you to donate generously.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)