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Want to Donate Clothes, Toys, Books? This Startup Collects From Your Doorsteps & Delivers to NGOs

Started by Anushka Jain, ‘Share At Door Step’ is a social venture that simplifies the donation process. It collects clothes, toys, books and more from your doorstep, using AI to connect with NGOs throughout India.

Want to Donate Clothes, Toys, Books? This Startup Collects From Your Doorsteps & Delivers to NGOs

Growing up, Akriti (name changed) from Mumbai had a prized possession. A grizzly bear soft toy. The two were inseparable. But as newer friends and a fancy mobile took Grizzly’s place, Akriti and the bear grew apart. In the years to come, it was confined to the corner of the cupboard gathering dust.

Grizzly deserved a new life and an enthusiastic companion once more, thought Akriti as she narrowed down on NGOs where she could donate it. Months later, another little girl’s day was made as the teddy bear entered her life. The circle of love was complete.

Likewise, an ajji (grandmother) in Bengaluru shares how she was the sole caretaker of her two grandkids. “I used to wash their clothes and uniforms by hand every day. Now the washing machine I received through ‘Share At Door Step’ has made it easy for me. In the time that I would spend hand-washing the clothes, I now tell stories to my grandkids,” she says.

These heartwarming tales highlight the core purpose that drives charitable donations, an intent to let someone experience the same joy you once did with an object of clothing or a toy. This is the foundational idea of ‘Share At Door Step’ created by Anushka Jain from Delhi.

The computer science engineer who is now in her thirties is no stranger to the concept of ‘sharing’.

Every birthday, Anushka would ask her mother which NGO they would be visiting that year. It was a new one each time, you see. “My mum would pick an NGO in the city and we’d take sweets and snacks and have a great time with the kids and parents,” she says.

But why should the fun be limited to just one day in the year, thought Anushka. She wanted ‘sharing’ to be a part of her routine. It was only in college that a deeper delve into this question led Anushka to the answers. People didn’t shy away from donations because they didn’t have the time. Instead, it was the ordeal of navigating the thicket of NGOs that kept them at bay.

“It is tough to figure out which NGO your donation will benefit the most,” agrees Anushka who moved to Bengaluru in 2012 with a dream to solve this dilemma and a hunger for entrepreneurship. While she joined her dream company Accenture, where she worked the night shift, her mornings were spent very differently.

“The idea of donating to NGOs never left me. So, I created a website, asked people around the city to register the items they wanted to donate and went around in the mornings doing pickups!” After hitting 200 pickups, it dawned on Anushka that the idea was getting traction. She needed hands on deck.

The donations at Share At Door Step include household items like washing machines, furniture, decor, toys, clothes, shoes, etc
Today, ajji says she has more time to tell her grandkids stories as the washing machine lightens her load, Picture source: Anushka
The donations are distributed to over 135 NGOs across India
The donations are distributed to over 135 NGOs across India, Picture source: Anushka

Making donating hassle-free

Bengaluru proved to be the perfect incubator for this novel idea. The city’s “entrepreneurship vibe” was just the kickstart Anushka needed. The local charity events organised around the city were great ice-breakers for the techie who would pitch her idea for ‘Share At Door Step’ to anyone and everyone who would listen.

“Did you ever feel happy and satisfied after spending a birthday at an NGO?” Anushka would ask the people she met. “What if you could do it again and make someone’s day?” The group’s enthusiasm evident, many of them would sign up to volunteer and conduct pickups across the city. But it was only after touching a milestone figure of 10,000 pickups that Anushka felt there was a lack of sustenance to this idea. It needed something more.

“What if we were to get brands onboard and introduce a voucher system?” she thought. The pickups would get sponsored and in contrast to the volunteer service that Share At Door Step was looking like at the time, it would give way for a more focused business model. To sharpen her skills in marketing and planning, Anushka went headlong into a new job role as a marketing manager at another company in Bengaluru where she says experience was the biggest teacher.

“I learnt everything there was to know about marketing, starting a business, sales, and logistics,” she smiles. In 2018, Anushka quit to devote all her time to ‘Share At Door Step’, which was now a registered for-profit venture.

To date 'Share At Door Step' has reached out to millions through their purpose-driven campaigns and donations
To date ‘Share At Door Step’ has reached out to millions through their purpose-driven campaigns and donations, Picture source: Anushka
Anushka Jain is the founder of 'Share At Door Step', a social venture that helps direct donations to the right NGOs
Anushka Jain is the founder of ‘Share At Door Step’, a social venture that helps direct donations to the right NGOs, Picture source: Anushka

How does ‘Share At Door Step’ work?

With its presence in 11 cities across the country, ‘Share At Door Step’ has many arms to its work. Not only does it provide cause-related marketing solutions to companies, but also supports Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) related activities, and provides doorstep donation services to individuals and corporate donors.

“The CSR bit came in later,” shares Anushka, adding that its purpose was to “integrate circularity and impact into the brand’s customer experience”.

“Think of it. How wonderful is it for a brand to be able to give their customers a better experience, but while doing this also involve them in creating impact? So, whenever a customer shops with a certain brand that is partnered with us, they will be prompted to make a donation (Share At Door Step will do the pickup and this is sponsored by the brand in question) and they will get a voucher in turn that they can use on their next purchase. So a customer is donating their old shoes, mattresses, suitcases, all while getting a discount on the new shoes, mattress and suitcase he/she purchases!”

The opacity in the donation gambit is thus erased.

Share At Door Step is present in 11 countries and has recently also extended its services to Singapore
Share At Door Step is present in 11 countries and has recently also extended its services to Singapore, Picture source: Anushka

For individuals who wish to donate items, the process is simple:

“Go to our website, book a pickup based on your city and location, register the item you’re looking to donate and also mention if it is light (small items like bags, purses, clothes) or heavy (large suitcases, decor and furnishing items, etc) and then proceed to book the pickup. The agents will be there at the designated time and your donation will soon be directed to one of the 135 NGOs we are associated with,” she informs.

Manual intervention could muddy the waters while deciding which items go to which NGO. This is where AI steps in. The items are matched with the NGO’s requirements through an algorithm.

The success of the model in India — over a million donations — prompted the team to expand to foreign shores. In March 2023, Anushka set sail to introduce the people of Singapore to this unique idea. The fast-fashion culture coupled with the native society’s willingness to contribute to circularity in the economy were the factors that led the country to become the place of choice to expand to.

The donations at Share At Door Step include household items like washing machines, furniture, decor, toys, clothes, shoes,
The donations at Share At Door Step include household items like washing machines, furniture, decor, toys, clothes, shoes, etc, Picture source: Anushka

Now that the venture is reaching a point where donations sometimes exceed the demand in a certain country, “for instance, during Chinese New Year”, Anushka is exploring her options of starting cross-border donations. “But there are many nitty-gritty to take care of there,” she points out.

Through her time of being at the helm of an idea that is championing change in society, Anushka says the lessons have been many.

“You realise how the motivation to donate differs as we shift time zones. In some places, it is driven by emotion or altruism, while in others it is driven by the need to become sustainable. But the willingness to ‘share’ is what unites people from across the world,” she says.

Reach out to Share At Door Step here, to spread the love.

(Edited by Pranita Bhat)

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