FUNDRAISING NEWS: Booming Indian giving scheme extends to UK

An online initiative designed to promote the voluntary sector in India has been extended to the UK in a bid to attract British donors and volunteers to Indian charities.

The web-based scheme was established in India in 2000 by the Give Foundation to bolster charitable giving in India by promoting great transparency and accountability in the country's voluntary sector.

The scheme, based at www.giveindia.org, aims to counter public antipathy to giving by providing reliable and credible information about the work and management of a growing list of approved NGOs.

Results in India have been so encouraging that the Give Foundation decided to open the website up to users in other countries. The site has already been updated to allow US users to request information and make donations, and the foundation plans to target British donors next.

"The US and the UK are the two countries with the strongest Indian diaspora presence in the western world," said Aartri Madhusudan, trustee for Give in the UK. "Ultimately we would like to make this a worldwide initiative."

Charities can only be featured on the site once they have been vetted against criteria laid out by The Credibility Alliance, a collaborative effort in the Indian voluntary sector to set standards for transparency.

The website allows users to browse a list of almost 100 NGOs working in a wide range of causes, find a volunteering opportunity, or make a donation. Domestic users in India can also subscribe to a PAYE scheme.

The foundation guarantees that all money raised goes direct to the charities as the project is funded by ICICI Bank, and donors are offered feedback on how their money was used.

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