Interview: GiveIndia founder Venkat Krishnan

Daan Utsav started in 2009 as Joy of Giving Week. Since then it has gone from strength to strength, with millions getting involved, largely in volunteering and informal giving. Could this develop into more formal, organized giving, Caroline Hartnell asked Venkat Krishnan, founder and former CEO of GiveIndia and one of the leading lights behind Daan Utsav. Krishnan isn’t sure: people may just want to do more informal giving. But the empathy this creates may itself help to promote greater social justice – though not by the rights-based route traditionally espoused by human rights activists.

Venkat Krishnan.

Can you tell me how the first Joy of Giving Week came about?

Around 2005, Ingrid Srinath, then at CRY, and Matthew Cherian, then at HelpAge India and I got together, and we talked about what we could do to deepen the culture of giving in India. We came up with the idea of a national giving day, based on the idea of telethons in the UK and US, but at that time we were all CEOs and none of us had the bandwidth to do anything about it.

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