AuxoHub was born from the realization that How Things Are does not automatically equate to How Things Must Be. Working in the social sector in various capacities for over the last dozen years, the standard pain points of the industry were quickly internalized. The single most universal of them all was resource mobilization, with a particular shortage of funding resources. The social sector in India, independent of vertical or geography, seemed to be in a constant tussle for funding – as sponsorships, donations, grants, project allocation, what have you. Month on month, year on year, managements brainstormed, cut corners, recommitted themselves to leaner structures and higher efficiency, and pulled through. Month on month, year on year, they pulled through fuelled solely by one thing – their commitment to not let anything get in the way of their core business; change-making.
On the other hand, in 2014, India became one of the few countries to legally necessitate socially responsible business practices. Entities above a certain size, the government said, would be required to spend a mandatory two percent of the average net profits of the company every financial year contributing towards projects in one or many of the rather exhaustive list provided. The government clarified that those categories were to be interpreted loosely, encompassing most socially relevant work, and the purpose was societal betterment. With this, things for the social sector looked up. A whole new source of funding had just emerged.
It has now been five years since the Act came into play. Today, 91 of the top 100 companies prefer channelling their funds through non-profits, either wholly or partially. About 75% of all companies turned to implementation agencies for CSR funding. The social sector and all its actors have never been more in the limelight.
Yet, most conversation on corporate giving focuses only on CSR funds, occasionally extending as far as to include philanthropic giving as well. Large corporations are represented in the reports and the statistics reflect their work. The SME sector remains hugely untapped in this conversation. There is a lacuna and not enough of us are speaking about it. While many of them do not qualify for the legally mandated CSR spending, in India’s Tier II cities and towns, the culture of giving back and contributing is alive and kicking. Multitudes of SMEs in the country believe it is their responsibility to contribute to the community and give back to the neighbourhood that supported their growth. They are not the names in the reports and their numbers don’t reflect in the statistics. But in their hands lies the ability to truly open their doors to their grassroots neighbours and enable change. This is where AuxoHub steps in.
At AuxoHub, we believe that the only way to catalyse change-making is to get close to the ground. Our goals are two-fold; to ease resource mobilisation and capacity building for NGOs while simultaneously helping SMEs scale up their socially responsible efforts to ensure maximum localised impact. By working with SMEs, select socially motivated larger corporates, and small grassroots actors, we hope to ease the process of change-making. After all, if we each give, we all grow.