The act of giving has always been a part of the Indian culture. Recently, the seeds of being socially mindful have made considerable strides in breaking the surface, making sustained giving a practical norm for a better tomorrow.

World Giving Index, 2015 states that the proportion of Indians participating in helping a stranger has increased by six percentage points to 43% while those donating has grown to 22%. As India grows, so do the cities, which have been mobilising their efforts for crafting out a better and sustainable tomorrow.

#1 Mumbai – City of Dreams has a big heart.

When the ‘City of Dreams’ unfolds its eyes, it sets in tune the collective efforts of people who are striving hard to make a difference in the lives of others. Mumbai boasts of a higher disposable income which grants one an opportunity to invest more in creating a social impact. Moreover, with most of the Indian companies having their corporate offices here, there has been a spurt of growth concerning both CSR activities as well as leveraging corporate, employee and leadership talent towards community development. Businesses with the new-generation ethos are continually in the process to generate social and environmental impact, complementing financial returns.

Right from Amitabh Bachchan initiating a ride in the locals to sensitize people about the cause that he dearly cares about to fashion designer Anita Dongre using the runway to introduce an organic clothing line to create awareness about environmentalism and ethical way; these instances influence the minds of the people and help them get attached with urgent causes on a more personal level. With over 40,000 residents of the city participating in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, and the overflowing donation boxes at famous temples like Shirdi or SiddhiVinayak Temple, the donor base has increased regarding more wealthy donors becoming a part of the ‘number of donors’.

Also, with the popularity of crowd-funding platforms like Impact Guru and Wishberry that are linked with social media, the tech savvy urban youth have been enabled to make smaller donations online to support causes close to their heart.

2. Bengaluru is ‘revolutionizing’ giving technically.

Packing a punch of tech innovation with the rise in social enterprises, Bengaluru has opened major avenues for people to give. Here, giving is just not restricted regarding money. Organ donation has been on the rise. Additionally, the city boasts of political figures organising events or citizens pro-actively engaging in activities that incorporate a brief experience for people to understand the importance of the issue and further, inspiring them to donate.

With the IT-hub nestled very safely in the city and the demography consisting of younger generation, the disposable income is on the higher end. The higher disposable income and an e-commerce led mindset have inspired the city dwellers to initiate campaigns with many online donations becoming the norm. Many of these young job-seekers are influenced by the concept of peer-to-peer fundraising ideas, and there are some who have a larger interest in generating a social impact. Taking inspiration from the global challenges that were a success on social media channels, citizens are making an effort to launch campaigns to recover the city’s lost green cover instead of the rapid urbanisation and its harmful effects on the society.

3. Delhi makes a strong statement.

Be it the ‘Wall of Kindness‘ resurrecting one’s faith in humanity or Delhi’s Half Marathon drawing people out in crowds to initiate giving – Delhi has philanthropy on its mind always. The most important attribute of Delhi lies in listening. Listening to the wails of the birds as a virtue of humanity or feeding the poor with food and love, this city infuses within itself the thought-process of ‘the more we have, the more we share’ very seriously. As a matter of fact, Delhi does have the top corporates and colleges bustling with a strange desire to serve. Funding social development via philanthropic foundations is on the rise to maximise impact and utilise funds.

Many non-profit organisations are opening up avenues for a career in ‘giving’ while at the same time the political base is also charged up with a new fervour to donate to the causes that have high social acceptance in the country. As the era of consumerism takes over, these activities become a way of earning good karma with a feel-good factor attached to it. Festival donations have reached an all-time high with it becoming a fundamentally social act for a devotee. Most of these donations are sometimes influenced by a need to showcase their social standing regarding their wealth.

4. Chennai breathes life into humanity

A drive named ‘Chennai Gives‘, in collaboration with big names like Uber, Aircel and The Hindu as well as celebrities like Vishwanathan Anand have been instrumental in tapping into the city’s generosity in helping the underprivileged. Chennai as a town has grown into a ‘City of Givers’- a feeling of gratification resides at the heart of every city-dweller. This nature of ‘giving’ can also be attributed to the kind of support they had received while the city was fighting hard times during the 2015 floods. The e-commerce buzz has been rocking the entire nation, but the citizens utilise both the traditional and the online means at regular intervals.

Just like giving resides in the minds of its citizens, culture forms the core of their existence. Imagine the larger impact the city generates when it combines the celebration of their culture with generating funds out of it. These funds are then translated into a social good by redirecting them to the organisations who are helping children and people in need.

5. Hyderabad always offers sweet returns.

Hyderabad is more unique than we can ever imagine. Right from tapping in on the devotional craze for the holiest Prasad to offering ‘goodwill stores‘ for the needy and helpless – the citizens of both the states are leaving no stones unturned in sharing their time, extending financial support and a sense of dignity to the people in need.

While Bengaluru has completely taken the startup spotlight, Hyderabad has ensured that with its powerful ecosystem and a progressive mindset, they are tapping into the process of giving more systematically. Much priority is accorded to stitching the loose ends while working on innovative product solutions with the donation money received. For example, scrap being the biggest fundraiser and a source of continuous funds for the purpose of providing assistance to destitute across the country, was a largely unknown concept till it was put to the test.

It’s all about, ‘Giving’ today.

‘Giving’ today, has acquired a more strategic outlook with the focus having shifted from just donating for a momentary feel-good factor in one’s heart to making a sustainable impact on the society. Right from organisation to planning, to keeping track of the campaigns they are a part of – individuals are showing a keen interest in measuring impacts. As ‘giving’ transforms the social landscape of our country, it is time more cities followed suit.

The seeds have begun to sprout – let us together, as a nation, nurture them.


[This post first appeared on WittyFeed and has been reproduced with permission.]

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