Maanoj Shah, Social Entrepreneur and Founder, GiftCHANGE.org

Maanoj Shah who describes himself as a ‘Giver’ and has won many hearts through his social initiatives. He is a finance expert, who has helped build strong enterprises in diverse sectors like Hospitality, Technology, Healthcare, HR & Consulting in various CXO capacities over the last 20years. His dynamic leadership and a keen eye on strategy and scaling up, have helped him incubate businesses and successfully exit various ventures.

 

From distributing free food packets to the needy, arranging transport to get migrants back to their homes, taking care of strays during the lockdown or helping the senior citizens or disabled people left alone during the lockdown, volunteers and good Samaritans have stepped forward to act in the face of the crisis and make a difference, in whatever little way they could. These included members of social or religious groups, CSR arms of MNC’s and registered NGO’s, as well as a lot of individuals, with little or no exposure to volunteering activity earlier. And this has been a welcome change in the often self-absorbed and detached population of Indian metros.

While most volunteers in India today are an un-organised, self-motivated lot, the rise of social entrepreneurship and organised change-makers are paving the way for a more robust not-for-profit ecosystem. The rise of ‘Knowledge’ as a currency is another significant trend that is shaping the future of volunteerism in India. So far, it was a common notion that one can donate either money or time (labour) for a charitable cause. That is now changing, as an increasing number of experts across the fields of technology, medicine, arts, humanities, and social welfare, are stepping forward to lend their specific professional expertise for a cause of their choice. However, we are yet to find a structured approach to be able to fully leverage the power of these individual volunteers to shape, build, and strengthen our nation!

In order to handle this, it is important to create an approach that is different from a ‘productivity’ and ‘profit’ focussed approach of HR management for corporate. The volunteerism management structure needs to work towards cultivating empathy, motivating action, driving ownership, and generating pride for the desired change, among volunteers. This essentially can be achieved through a step by step manner, as follows:

Create Motivation to act

  • Engage through a compelling Social Initiative
  • Share the impact and the ultimate vision
  • Highlight ground realities supported by facts and figures so as to quantify the goals
  • Share details of existing and required external support, in the form of Crowdfunding, sourcing of Volunteers through Social Media, WhatsApp groups etc.
  • Creating a partnership with Social Workers and other NGOs

Map skillsets

  • Figure out their personal and professional background and interests
  • Assess the willingness, enthusiasm and self-motivation of the Volunteer
  • Identify target areas/ teams which best suit the volunteers skill set, temperament and nature
  • Allow them to choose from a set of roles that will be best suited to their skillsets
  • Once selected, guide him through the way forward

Smooth On-boarding

  • Check their availability in terms of time, for both physical and virtual presence.
  • Guide them through the rules and regulations of basic on-ground work, including local intelligence needed for their role
  • Provide support staff, and materials like Doctors, Audio and Video material, Posters, etc..

Feedback on impact 

  • Get feedback of their experience in the first few days and understand challenges, if any
  • Re-engage with them to share the over-all view the goal of their activity
  • Assure them of support and additional resources, if needed

Create ownership

  • Engage on Whatsapp and social media groups to share success stories, case studies, media coverage reports, and impact numbers etc., to create a sense of pride in association with the cause
  • Encourage them to enrol more friends into the initiative so they have added reason to continue
  • Encourage them to become ambassadors of change, and promote this initiative among social media, and friends and family

Recognition

  • Motivation and recognition through internal groups as well as public domain announcements
  • Periodic announcement of impact numbers and acknowledgement for the change
  • Thank You and Feedback Team meetings

As much as we all look forward to government aids and supportive policy changes, it is the decision to proactively take action, and make a difference at the grass-root level, that actually builds a community, a society and a nation at large. From offering technical know-how, medical expertise, writing and designing services, to initiating music concerts and art exhibitions across the globe to raise money, the new age volunteer holds massive potential to make a difference. And it thus calls for effective volunteer management practices to leverage this potential and create a more prosperous and equal society! And that is exactly what can help India, as a democracy, to not only survive and tide over the current health crisis and economic slowdown but also help in building a strong and united economy, in the coming years. 

More about Maanoj Shah

Maanoj Shah is a Social Entrepreneur whose passion, vision and his meticulous approach have led him to play an important role in Khana Chahiye, a citizens’ initiative to feed the hungry during COVID. Maanoj is part of their core team and leads their Volunteers Resourcing & Management. He and his team successfully provided 30 lakhs meals to mainly, hungry migrant social workers in Mumbai during the lockdown period. 

Maanoj has also co-created another social initiative CoronaChampion.org which is a Mental Health initiative, led by volunteers and citizens which aims to remove stigma and fear associated with the COVID 19. Instead, it promotes hope, inspiration and positivity amongst people through inspirational stories of Corona recovered cases and Front line warriors (Doctors, Nurses). Its main aim is to help people cope with the stress of COVID and reduce their fears and misconceptions. The stories are in the form of blogs, audios and videos.

Additionally, he is also starting another Social Venture www.GiftCHANGE.org, a CAUSE driven social platform that will help connect NGOs with CSR, Donors, Volunteers and Influencers to come together to scale their impact.

A Chartered Accountant and a Certified Informations Systems Auditor (CISA), USA, Maanoj was born in a business family where numbers, enterprising and risk-taking was a natural inheritance as was the sense of charity.

Since childhood, he has been involved in a lot of social charitable activities. At the age of 18, he along with his friends ‘Founded Creative Youth Club’ to help showcase the talent of the local youth in his colony and by age 25 he became youngest Rotary Club member and managed multiple portfolios like  Club Treasurer, Secretary, Director of International Service. He became the President of Rotary Club at the age of 31, thus becoming the youngest President in his District. Currently, he is the Chairman – Strategic Planning Committee of the Rotary Club of Borivalli (Mumbai).

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