Thursday, March 28, 2013

Building Platforms to Fund Libraries

Over the last few years, Pratham Books has received a number of requests from organisations and schools to donate books and libraries to these institutions. However, Pratham Books has had to decline many, if not most, because our current model envisages schools and organisations buying our books for their libraries.

While we have run periodic campaigns to donate books, for example the Pearson campaign, and our campaign on International Book Giving Day, we have not focussed on this aspect of our mission.

However, over the recent past, we have realised that there are a number of organisations out there that are in need of books and libraries and may or may not have the social capital to raise funds to pay for. Also, we have discovered, especially during the Pearson effort, that it is hard to find a single resource of organisations that can absorb books and libraries and are credible enough to feature on a funding platform.

Image courtesy : AvalokiteĊ›vara Trust 

To this end, Pratham Books proposes to build a web platform that will help orgainisations looking to setup libraries raise funds to buy Pratham Books. In some sense, think Kickstarter for libraries.

The broad idea is to create a platform that showcases a portfolio of curated organisations looking to raise funds for setting up libraries and provide a way to collect online and offline donations to a preferred library appeal. Social media interactions and sharing will be a deep and central part of this platform.

It must also allow for organisations to post multiple library appeals and have a way for them to provide updates about these libraries. The platform must be able to track information of all donors and generate individualised thank you notes and automated updates based on their donations and their preferred library.

The platform should be flexible enough to accommodate fundraisers of other kinds too – say, for example, Pratham Books wants to raise funds for a particular book. It should also be flexible enough to accommodate multiple publishers – that libraries can be based on books/sets from multiple publishers.

This, however, is only one part of the project. The other part of the project is building the people and partner networks and processes that will be integral to the success and scalability of this platform.
1. Discovery of organisations that can accept donations and have access to networks to raise funds.  Further, working with these organisations and individuals to build their capacity to raise funds from their networks to fulfil their library requirements.
2. Creation of the technology platform to intermediate this, and other donation, processes. (You will not be expected to actually build the platform but identify and work with design and technology firms and teams, as required.)
3. Putting together the donor/donee processes
4. Build the processes, human, organisational, financial and technological, that allow this entire model to work and scale
5. Making awesome sauce!

A minimum of a one-year full time commitment is required and the position is based in Bangalore.

If you are interested in working on this project - please contact gautam(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

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