Create communication templates

The NGO needed a volunteer to create multiple templates for their communication pieces (emails, text messages, presentations) to be sent out to different stakeholders.
Gauravi Sherlekar
Senior Process Associate, Tata Consultancy Services
Mumbai, India

Gauravi has over 5 years of experience in providing training support within the Life Sciences Department of TCS. During her postgraduate studies of Psychology in the UK, she had a chance to work for a local NGO helping them to design a public communication training program. Entering a corporate world, she couldn't allocate enough time to continue volunteering, until ProEngage came her way and her weekends were freeier. “I found it a good way to interact with new people who are totally different from me and a great way of utilising my time. Apart, ProEngage has so many projects, so I had a great choice.”

Sunil Shankar
Associate Consultant, Tata Consultancy Services
Bangalore, India

With over 31 years of professional experience, Sunil has been working for TCS as an Associate Consultant for more than 8 years. This isn’t Sunil’s first volunteering engagement. Although he couldn’t finish his last ProEngage project, his keen desire to contribute to society drove him to continue helping in orphanages in his personal capacity. After he was moved to a less demanding project and the time spent on commuting to work was cut out from his daily schedule due to work from home policy, he found himself in a great time to engage in a more structured volunteering again, with ProEngage.

Kritagyata Trust
Aruna Diwakar, Project Coordinator
Bangalore, India

Kritagyata Trust is a nonprofit organization located in North Bangalore established in 2015. As a Charitable Trust, Kritagyata’s main focus is to help the needy children and the women who are in need. Kritagyata started shaping up with helping 3 children for education, and now the organization touched the lives of more than 20000+ children under different activities. They are mainly catering to government schools with children of immigrants that have very limited resources, providing them with books, toilets, PC labs, English teachers, etc.. Besides, they operate an orphanage ‘MY HOME’ located in Yelahanka, Bangalore. Besides providing all the basic facilities, they mold the children to face the world with confidence and smile.


Project Execution

The Founder and President of Kritagyata Trust Aruna Diwakar explains the background of their professional volunteering need: “In many instances we have to send out emails to different stakeholders - our volunteers, donors, acquaintances. It is not possible for me to write all the correspondence, but at the same time the staff is not able to write all these ad hoc emails from scratch. I thought, if there is a particular email template - for CSR funding, thank you email, request email, etc. it would ease our work. So anyone can use the template and send it out and there is no delay in reply. This would help everyone in the long run.”

With interest in education and training and spare time to use, Gauravi decided that this 3-month-long volunteering project is the right one to utilize her communication and content writing skills. “I knew my personal commitments and deadlines and didn’t want to go clueless to an unfamiliar field, “ she confesses. Learning from his previous ProEngage experience, Sunil decided to apply for a project that seemed very straightforward and better suited his time availability and skills. 

Sunil continues to describe the kick-off of the project: “Right from the very first interaction, it was clear that the NGO was very interested in the project.” After the NGO provided a brief about their organization and explained their struggles in detail, a WhatsApp group between all the project members helped to keep the communication flowing. “Although we had an idea what we needed, the volunteers helped us to come up with more templates,” explains the NGO’s Founder.

After clarifying the deliverables, Gauravi and Sunil divided the work based on the audience the mailers were dedicated to. Once a template draft was ready, the NGO provided their inputs and specifications so the volunteers could make further adjustments. Gauravi further explains the details: “Every weekend we had a quick call, we divided the work and communicated back to the NGO once it was ready. We made sure that the template should be that good - that the NGO staff or volunteers can use it directly and send it without any extra work. It was good that we invested that much time, so there is less rework for the NGO later on.”

After a few weeks, Sunil and Gauravi easily prepared 7 ready-to-use templates according to the NGO’s needs. “It might seem a small thing, but it is actually very helpful. Now, we can show a little more professionalism in terms of seeking funds, thank you donors, etc. It makes a big impact for our volunteers and employees who weren’t able to respond quickly and appropriately before,” mentions Aruna.

Challenges faced

“There weren’t any challenges as such,” recollects Sunil. “The NGO assigned two people to be constantly in touch with us. Even if one person couldn’t attend the meeting, they made sure the other one was there.” Gauravi adds: “There was a slight delay in the first meeting as the NGO didn’t have our personal IDs. But after Chezuba sorted it out for us it was a smooth ride.” 

Both volunteers agreed that because the NGO had a clear vision on what they want to achieve and behaved very professionally during the whole project, it was a great experience for both of them.

Gauravi further mentions: “I thought it would be a very dynamic process, I had an experience with that kind of projects before and there were a lot of changes. Sometimes it does happen that the NGO can't predict what they want. But I was pleasantly surprised. They knew what they wanted, they were very clear in communication, and provided feedback that helped me to keep my motivation.”

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“The volunteers were up to the mark, very professional,” mentions Aruna. “They were quite passionate about what they wanted to do. Also, Sunil worked with an NGO before and that helped him to come up with new thoughts.  Both of them had a very good understanding about the project.”

Aruna is very clear about how to make a volunteering project successful: “Self-satisfaction and happiness. That’s all that the NGO can offer. I believe all the volunteers are already inclined towards charity, so they should know why they are doing it. Therefore, they should be open to understanding and learning about the organization. If they do prior research, they can propose their ideas in a better way that helps the organization in the long run. An NGO is spending a lot of time engaging the volunteers, and we expect them to show their dedication and passion. When the volunteer’s work is specified and the volunteers are sure what they are looking for, like Sunil and Gauravi, it's then very straightforward.”

Aruna concludes: “With corporates joining the nonprofit sector, I would like corporates to engage volunteers with contribution parts as well. If the company can help us with raising funds apart from volunteering, it would help us to implement any activity.”

“People are wasting so much time now, working from home,” Sunil speaks, “I would definitely encourage anyone to volunteer. I even pushed my team to get involved. I tell them: ‘Open your eyes and look at what is going around. There are a lot of things you can do and help people to whatever extent. Any small contribution will help.’”

“I feel satisfied,” he adds. “The response I got from the managers and the way they were interacting was incredible. Although I couldn’t connect with the beneficiaries, the NGO gave us a virtual tour. I’m also a part of their Facebook group to connect with them better and see their activities.”

Despite having just a 3-month-long commitment, for Gauravi it was an experience full of self-exploration: “I learned how to become the driver of the whole project so everyone gets the best out of it. I wasn’t expecting that from me. I was ensuring that the calls were happening and everyone was focused on the work. I was so motivated to see the end result so I stayed very focused. Apart, it was a completely different environment, no guidelines, no hierarchy, and true teamwork. It helped me to explore new skills without fear of implications in case of mistakes.” She further adds: “It helped me to build a lot of self-confidence and I learned how to manage my time, changing circumstances and be open to these changes.”