Megan Foo's Blog

Our Featured Givologist of the Week: Prashanth Srinivasan, President of the NYC Chapter

[b]Megan Foo: Why did you decide to volunteer with Givology?[/b]
[b]Prashanth Srinivasan:[/b] I’ve been with Givology for about two years now and I’d been in New York for two years when I first started. I’ve always known about Givology, having attended The University of Pennsylvania with Jenn [Q. Chen] and Joyce [Meng], and have always been inspired by the impact it was having. After I started working, I wanted to spend some time settling into the working world before taking on another commitment. After two years, I felt ready to make that commitment and wanted to contribute more to society at the same time.
I really believe in Givology’s cause and I think that Givology is doing some incredible things. I think that education is extremely essential for success in life and is one of the strongest ways individuals can be empowered to achieve their dreams and goals. I was fortunate to have had a strong education growing up and I’ve seen the opportunities that it has given me. Givology When I attended one of Givology’s recruiting events two years ago, I was stunned by some of the statistics I heard about children in the developing world who did have access to education – I believe that it was over 100 million at that point. I felt like Givology was a great way to have an impact and do something about that.
[b]Megan Foo: Can you tell me about your experience as Givology’s President of Givology’s NYC Chapter?[/b]
[b]Prashanth Srinivasan: [/b]I would say primarily that my role as President of [url=]Givology’s NYC Chapter[/url] involves working closely with Jenn and Joyce in leading a team of about 10-12 young professionals in New York City. I believe that the NYC Chapter is one of the biggest and more active chapters, and we try to host one to two major fundraisers every year.
Last year, we worked with [url=]More Than Me[/url], which is a Liberian organization focused on getting girls off the streets in Liberia, and we held an event with them in January. We also held our own event to celebrate our new website and its launch in December. This year, we also had an event this past summer and worked with an organization called [url=]Do Good As You Go[/url] in hosting an art exhibition in which we displayed pieces from children from all around the world. We hope to have another fundraising event later this year.
Apart from these fundraising events, we also have some awareness-raising campaigns in the NYC community. We worked closely with [url=]10 x 10[/url] last year, helping them promote their launch of [u]Girl Rising[/u], which has been pretty well-documented. Our primary aims have been to host fundraisers to help our partners out and raise awareness of education issues through these outreach events.
[b]Megan Foo: What does education mean to you?[/b]
[b]Prashanth Srinivasan:[/b] Basic education is essential to life, with every incremental amount of education someone gets has such a huge impact on his or her life. Studies have shown that every year of schooling results in children, especially girls, increasing their future potential income by 10 to 15%, and I think it’s that important that it can’t be neglected.
I know it’s really easy to realize, especially in the developing world, the costs of an education and sending kids to school because children could easily be working at home or doing chores and making a living and helping support a family. I think it needs to be made very clear that that’s a very short-term view of the children’s future and children’s education should be treated as importantly as we view it, it should become a focus for all children. I think organizations like Givology are helping more and more people understand that. More and more students get access to it.
[b]Megan Foo: What inspires you about Givology’s mission?[/b]
[b]Prashanth Srinivasan:[/b] I think Givology’s mission really differentiates it from other organizations out there.. The fact that our donors know where their dollars are going is extremely important. At other organizations, donors often donate money into a “black box” in which they have no idea who or where their dollars are going. With Givology’s, there’s a genuine connection created between our donors and our partners and their students. Givology allows you to donate to the individual student or project you want and then hear updates from them as they further their education. Givology’s online tracking system also helps donors appreciate the fact that every dollar they donate makes a massive impact on other people’s lives and helps students get closer to being fully funded.
I think Givology’s focus on international projects is extremely crucial as well, as a dollar in a developing region makes so much more of a difference than a dollar in the USA. I also believe that the situation internationally is far more critical that in the States.
[b]Megan Foo: What do you enjoy the most about your volunteering?[/b]
[b]Prashanth Srinivasan:[/b] Being a working professional in NYC, I really like the fact that Givology allows me to channel my interests and energy in a field outside work. I’ve gotten an incredible amount of satisfaction knowing that I am able to take advantage of the opportunities I have been given in life to have an impact and better the lives of others around the world. Through our awareness raising efforts, we have also ensured that other students and young professionals are informed about the work we do and have been similarly inspired to make a difference.
My experience in Givology has not just been a philanthropic one, but a social one as well - We’ve done a great job building a little community amongst ourselves in the NYC Chapter. I really enjoy hanging out with my fellow volunteers and have gotten really close to them over the years – you get to meet and spend time with people from very different backgrounds and experiences.
[b]Megan Foo: What advice would you give to prospective Chapter founders?[/b]
[b]Prashanth Srinivasan:[/b] I would say that the most important thing is to build a core group of peers that you know for certain are going to commit into the cause, because an organization which is completely volunteer-run can have a high attrition rate. You’re going to have people come in who initially like the concept, but after a few weeks or months lose interest and stop committing to Chapter initiatives. Starting a Chapter with four to five people, who you know are extremely committed to the cause and to each other, is crucial for the success of every chapter. We in NYC have a strong core, and other existing chapters in cities such as Philadelphia are doing a great job as well.
I would also recommend making sure that your Chapter members feel appreciated and valued. The biggest reason why volunteers join Givology is because they feel like they can make a difference and impact others. They have no obligation to come and volunteer and I think understanding that and making them feel appreciated will make them more likely to stay for a longer period of time.

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