Who would have thought that 'sugar and spice and all things nice' could put money in the hands of those working to change the world? Or that a shopaholic's spending could help lift women entrepreneurs out of poverty? In this two-part interview series, we speak with The Bake Collective and Hand to Heart , who show us that people are wiling to support NGOs generously, yet fill their stomachs as well!
The Bake Collective, led by Kavita Gonsalves and Charlene Vaz, organises bake sales with all proceeds going to charity. They've raised money for nine organisations so far. This initiative connects an army of like-minded bakers, volunteers and supporters to supply brownies, cupcakes and biscuits for the sales.
KC: What was the driving force which led you to this initiative? Did you face challenges in bringing people on board with the idea?
TBC: The conception of 'The Bake Collective' all began as a Facebook chat – We (Kavita Gonsalves & Charlene Vaz) had a brainwave about having a bake sale to raise money for one of Milaap's causes. It made complete sense to us. We both loved to bake and wanted an excuse to do so. So why not do it for a good cause? That’s how The Bake Collective was born in 2012.
It started as a one-time event that did so well that we didn't have to work too hard to bring people on board with the idea. We had NGOs and non-profits, in the start-up phase, asking us to fundraise for their work. We also had many local and home bakers and volunteers asking us when the next event was. Thanks to that demand, we are now two years in the running and organise bake sales every 2-3 months for charitable causes.
KC: Do you follow a process to identify NGOs to promote?
TBC: Most of the time, organisations hear of us and get in touch. To make things easier, we have an application form to help us decide which NGOs we want to work with– we brainstorm over their targets or urgent requirements, organise our baking goods/ chocolate requirement and schedule the bake sales. Our criteria for picking beneficiaries depend purely on the causes and the impact TBC can make.
KC: Product-based sales are a great way to integrate societal impact with people’s lifestyles. Do you notice a shift in perception towards charity due to this medium? Are people more positively inclined to consume because proceeds are going to charity?
TBC: We find that most people are generous by nature and only want to make sure that their contributions are making a difference. As TBC has been around for more than 2 years now, its not too difficult to convince people of the power of the cupcake as they can witness the change their contribution makes via our Facebook page.
Most of the people who buy TBC's yummies are mostly in it for the dual benefit—–Buy a cupcake and make a difference while gobbling it up.
Follow The Bake Collective on Facebook to stay updated with their work!
The Urban Poverty Eradication Cell of the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai focuses on economic upliftment of the marginalised. Through the Cell's initiatives, thousands of women have come together to form Self Help Groups and start micro businesses. To ensure the success and sustainability of businesses started by these groups, it is important to provide market linkages for SHG products.The Hand to Heart initiative began as an attempt to introduce SHG women and their products to a potential market. We spoke with Shreya Hariyani, who works with the Hand to Heart initiative, about her thoughts on giving and the reasons for the initiative's success.
KC: What was the driving force which led you to this initiative?
HTH: In my capacity as a Consultant with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai for Corporate Social Responsibility I came across the efforts taken by the UPEC MCGM Officers, the work and lives of women in these groups and as well as the quality of the products. We, at the CSR Cell then began introducing the cause of SHGs to various Corporates we came across in the course of our work who also felt the products and the groups deserved a platform. Many Companies therefore invited us to put up exhibitions in their office premises. The initiative hand-to – heart was therefore born with the aim of integrating SHG products into corporate gifting and a wider market.
KC: Do you follow a process to identify NGOs to promote?
HTH: Our aim is the welfare of all self-help groups in Mumbai. At present we take products from various groups that we feel will be ideal in a corporate-setting as well as. We also give feedback to the groups on how to further improve their products based on our feedback from exhibitions. We also aim to give more and more groups a platform and hence attempt to give a chance to newer groups in each exhibition. If the products of the newer groups are not up to the mark we arrange further training for them, sometimes training is provided by older more experienced groups.
KC: Product-based sales are a great way to integrate societal impact with people’s lifestyles. Do you notice a shift in perception towards charity due to this medium? Are people more positively inclined to purchase an item because proceeds are going to charity?
HTH: The knowledge that purchasing a product will contribute towards social welfare is definitely a significant factor in the decision-making process of a customer. But it is also felt that the need for the product itself to be appealing and of good quality and use is a significant underlying factor for a costumer. Charity will only prompt costumers to look at the products and give them a chance, the ultimate purchase is made when the product finds some use in a costumer’s life. Conversely, if a customer really does like any of the products but finds it a little too expensive for what it is, they may end up paying for it knowing that money will go towards charity.
Watch this space for the second part of the interview series next week! Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the initiatives.