When I tried to make a list of things that I wished to do two years ago, working with an NGO was one of them. Having no clear ideas of what to do and whom to approach, I looked up on the internet as usual. I came across a few NGOs listed on the web, and spoke to two-three of them. Of all of them, what quickly came as my choice for association was Youth For Seva(YFS).
YFS had a different model of working and did not work on any projects on their own. It was an organization trying to leverage the power of web to connect volunteers and NGOs by facilitating volunteer registration through their website. Once a volunteer registers, someone from YFS would get in touch and understand his or her interests, and accordingly redirect the registrant to one of the associated NGOs.
When I first spoke to them, they had just started with two people doing all the work. Venkatesh Murthy, the founder, had rich experience in working with NGOs and independent social work. Murthy, along with Akhilesh, one of the early members of YFS, roped in NGOs, counseled every registered volunteer personally and routed them based on interests. But within a year, Youth For Seva was growing too fast and they had to have people working full time. Murthy himself decided to quit his work in the IT industry and decided to work full time with YFS for a few years.
In the course of their growth in the two years, they innovated many ways to ensure scalability. The operations were divided into zones within Bangalore, and each zone had a moderator who took care of the activities in the area. They got college students to spend time working during vacations and help with operations. They also roped in a few people to work full time at YFS.
Over last two years, more than a thousand users registered with Youth For Seva, occasionally making it hard to place them with NGOs. A large number of net-savvy people from the IT industry who wanted to make a difference to the society, but did not know how to, found YFS as a good platform to begin with. Trying to place the growing number of volunteers, YFS decided to take up projects on their own.
Today, YFS works with 3,000 volunteers and 30 NGOs. Besides working with other NGOs YFS also conceives and executes projects on their own. Volunteers are working with 30 government schools independently. The current project they are working on involves sponsoring the education of 1500 underprivileged children who have been already been identified through aptitude tests. The sponsorship costs Rs.500/- per month or a lump sum amount of Rs.6,000/- for the year. Read Sponsor A Child microsite for details. Donors can donate online through bank transfer, send a cheque, or contact coordinators for more details.
If you would like to volunteer with Youth For Seva, register with your details on their website.