SHLOKA AMBANI & MANITI SHAH
THE WOMEN BEHIND CONNECT FOR, PROVIDING RESOURCE SOLUTIONS IN SOCIAL SECTOR
Leading as the Co-founders, Shloka Ambani & Maniti Shah are the women behind the platform successfully connecting NGOs with volunteers and creating structure within the Indian development sector. Shloka holds a Master’s Degree in Law, Anthropology, and Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science & Maniti a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Management from Imperial College, London. They both credit their educational journeys to steer them toward the roles of being business leaders, innovators, counselors, caregivers, and guides among other.
Counted among the visionaries and an inspiring woman entrepreneur, Shloka has served 7.5 years in the industry and holds a Master’s Degree in Law, Anthropology, and Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Princeton University. While Maniti had been in the industry for the last 6.5 years and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Management from Imperial College, London, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences – focused stream: Pharmacology from the University of London.
They both had always wished to make an impact on the nation’s future. They are passionate, result-oriented, compassionate, innovative, growth-focused risk-taker, and self-made woman entrepreneurs.
Talking about the motivation behind the inception of ConnectFor, the inspiring lady, Shloka stated – “There was a big gap in the social sector between the NGOs that did amazing work and their ability to access quality human resources because of their lack of funding and awareness.
“We realized that there was a big opportunity in matching people who would give their talent and time to non profits to help them improve the efficacy of their work and we wanted to create an easy and convenient way for people to reach out and volunteer – that’s how ConnectFor was born”, Maniti further added.
A Glimpse of the Initiative
A CSR project by the Rosy Blue Foundation, ConnectFor is actively working to contribute to the developmental sector by facilitating engagement of the volunteering community, building capacity, and creating value-added services for NGOs.
It is a one-stop platform for volunteers who can donate their time and skill. Bridging the gap between volunteers, NGOs, and corporates, the platform helps passionate contributors find the right NGOs for volunteering opportunities with an aim to provide comprehensive resource solutions for the social sector by creating symbiosis amongst NGOs, volunteers, and corporates and adding value and structure to these Associations.
Relentlessly working with more than 500+* NGOs across India, the initiative has engaged 39,000+* volunteers who have volunteered for more than 13,000+* hours. Through the efforts of volunteers, ConnectFor has helped NGOs save over 50 Million* since its inception. This value has been analytically measured.
The Unique Work Strategy
Here, the idea is to have people use their skills on a pro bono basis to work with non-profits to allow them to use their funds to execute their programs to maximize their impact on their beneficiaries. By doing this, ConnectFor is focused on creating a sustainable pipeline of human resources while also simultaneously skilling them, and the organizations they work with. They believe that this is truly a win-win for a cause, meaning that non-profits make a much lower spend on talent allowing them to free up their funds for beneficiary interaction, which usually allows their scope of impact to grow.
This means that for the most part the number of people getting skilled/educated/uplifted and more importantly increasing the number of people who can become contributing and working participants of the global economy.
Significance of Innovation, Technology, & Integrity
Technology, innovation, and integrity play a vital role in the overall operations. ConnectFor is a technology platform, that is using an innovative matchmaking algorithm to find and serve people with volunteering opportunities that are only suited to their talent and convenience. The organization relies entirely on the integrity of the volunteers and nonprofits to see through a completed match with the ultimate goal of creating impact towards a large cause.
This has been disruptive in an industry that largely depended on funds, donors, and fundraising as it allows for smaller non-profits to also have access to extremely talented human resources, and for people to discover causes and non-profits they may not have otherwise encountered.
Dealing with the Unpredicted Pandemic
During this challenging time, ConnectFor made a vital shift, moving to an entirely virtual volunteering model. Through this, they successfully implemented many new projects that led them to their ultimate goal of generating impact for their NGO Partners by providing them with volunteers at a time when they needed support the most. It has helped many people access non-profits from the comfort and safety of their own homes while ensuring NGOs are consistently being upskilled and building capacity to optimize these new ways of working.
ConnectFor’s Future Outlook
As the initiative is on the brink of scalability and growth, they want to ensure that they don’t spread too thin and continue to create as much value while catering to larger volumes. They are more focused on building a strong team of capable leaders who believe in their vision and goals and take them forward. They are steadily investing in building a more robust online tool for volunteer management, to help track every contributor’s journey and impact real-time and looking at leveraging their position as aggregators for Nonprofit organizations and seeing how ConnectFor can expand its scope beyond volunteering.
Take on Women Leadership & their Participation in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Women navigate all aspects of life- power structures in professional and domestic situations, constant change, ability to adapt. This is the perfect time for female powers to create these structures now, and lead them rather than navigate them.
Women are always innovating – whether in their roles as home-makers or entrepreneurs or anything in between. Typically, any woman is capable of incredible multi-tasking and also handling many relationships and responsibilities. They are familiar with issues that affect both home and industry, so it is only natural that women come up with their unique problem-solving multi-tasking skill sets and use them as tools to become successful entrepreneurs.
Women leaders are resilient and adaptable, and these traits in a leader are vital to the survival and growth of a business in changing times! The only limitations are the ones women place on themselves – there’s a whole wide world of opportunities waiting to be realized! Also, women are rooting for other women to succeed, collaboration is vital to success.
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