ConnectFor is the brainchild of the Rosy Blue Foundation [RBF] team.
In 2014, RBF worked extensively with organisations involved with mentoring, and did a large scale employee engagement effort in recruiting mentors from the Rosy Blue India employee base. While carrying out these efforts, we received a lot of requests for more flexible volunteering options, and it seemed to the team at that point that it would be impossible to find a way to engage all our employees through one single initiative.
Around the same time, a friend of one of the team members, was in Mumbai for only 3 months. Knowing that she worked in the development sector, he approached her and expressed his disbelief over the fact that finding a way to do good was so difficult here — there were so many steps to find an organisation to volunteer with that even the most motivated individuals often gave up, believing that it wasn’t worth the time and effort to search for NGOs, contact each of them, meet them, and finally figure out where they could get involved.
This is where the idea of ConnectFor was born. How can we make volunteering easy, convenient and fun? How can we make sure that a volunteer knows exactly what he/she is signing up for? How do we make sure that organisations see the value of these volunteers?
We started doing a lot of research, and compared models across the world — catchafire, volunteermatch, worldwidevolunteers — and used those to create a model specifically suited to the Indian context.
Once we were convinced of the value of the model, our next obvious step was to test it. Along the way, we found great partners to help us create our technology platform, and while they were working on that, we were working on creating a system of processes to ensure that all the pieces were working smoothly together. We saw ourselves as volunteer cupids, and became personally invested in finding the right match between opportunity and volunteer. At the very basic premise, we see ourselves as matchmakers, and we knew that we could start testing that even before our technology was fully functional. Quickly we started off, working within our networks, contacting beneficiary partners, building our databases, and even we’ve been surprised by the response and impact we’ve managed to create before launching the technology.
We realised there was a lot of potential for research here, and are now also using ConnectFor as a research project to show the sheer value of human resource — how contributions of time and skill are as, if not more, valuable than financial funding, and how every single individual can feel empowered with the ability to give regardless of their financial position.
Now that we’re finally live, we can’t wait to see how this grows, and are excited for you to be part of the ConnectFor journey with us.
To check out ConnectFor, visit www.connectfor.org!