Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Emily Harrison at the World Corporate Social Responsibility Congress

Emily Harrison was part of the CEO panel during the World CSR Congress under the theme "Possible to do well, by doing good" which took place of February 18th at the hotel Taj Lands End, Mumbai. Emily along with other eminent speakers such as Dr. Alok Bhardwaj, Executive Vice President, Canon India, Animesh Kumar, Group Head- HR&Corporate Services & Co CEO IDFC Foundation and Vikas Puthran, Vice President- Alliances and Operations, GiveIndia shared with the audience her opinion on the topic of "Mandatory 2% spend on CSR: Will it be just compliance or a trajectory for meaningful CSR?". The moderator of the panel was Ketan Kulkarni, VP & HEAD- Marketing, Corporate Communications & Sustainability, Blue Dart Express Ltd.

Some of the panelists thought that while there is some merit in this bill, it will not significantly change the way Indian Corporate are operating at a strategic business level. The bill appears to have some merit such as promoting growth in the CSR field by creating the need for professional and trained employees in each company's CSR team and allow for a more structured approach to social initiatives by giving a basic road-map for companies. A panelist felt that even if many companies will try to find loophole to limit tier CSR spending, it will at least push for an increase in corporate philanthropic giving. Emily expressed her view that once CSR will be mandated in India, companies should not view it as a check writing liability- on the contrary it ought to be considered within a core business strategy and viewed as an investment platform to build better and more sustainable brands.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Innovaid offering Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) training at the Bombay Stock Exchange

Starting in March, Innovaid staff will begin offering classes to Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) corporate members under the effigy of the BSE training institute. The courses were specifically design to educate BSE corporate members around the new sustainability disclosure requirements mandated by the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI)

The first course offered under a webinar format will be “Introduction to CSR” and it will address the needs of professionals in private companies, NGOs, International Organisations and Governments who are currently involved in CSR, or would like to be involved in CSR, and wish to apply and embed the concept of CSR in their institution. Cristiana Peruzzo, Head of CSR will be the principal instructor.

The webinar is designed to specifically help participants to obtain a comprehensive CSR understanding to enable them to design and implement an effective CSR strategy for their companies as well as communicating their CSR internally and externally. Some of the course objectives among others will be to help company representative articulate an understanding of CSR and communicate it across their organizations and to their wider stakeholders as well as Integrate CSR into strategic planning and regular business practices.

During the two hour course schedule, several Topics will be covered such as The CSR journey, Applying Definitions in Practice - Practical Examples of CSR (Indian Case Studies) and Communicating CSR and leveraging a company’s CSR report.

Other classes are scheduled for April, specifically a course named “How to set up and manage a corporate foundation” whose details will be discussed in our next newsletter.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

What 12A and 80G Means to a Non-Profit

What is the need to apply for 12A and 80G?
Many start-up NGO’s ask this question, that is, out of those who are aware that such a  certification process exists.
Indeed, 12A and 80G are crucial processes for any NGO that needs to generate income for its charity-based operations. The ability to offer a donor a return benefit for their contribution is a major advantage in the world of fundraising. And this is where 12A and 80G are essential, as they enable the gift of tax exemption It is best to apply for 12A and 80G as soon as the NGo is registered. Prepare for a high level of scrutiny from the government, especially with regards to the Memorandum of Association. Scrutinization is undertaken as an attempt to sift out NGOs with less genuine intentions to create positive social change. One recent example involved the perusal of records that led centre and state governments into an investigation of one rights-based organization, resulting in the accusation that 46.8 lakh of huge, unaccounted grants were being distributed to NGOs, including blacklisted ones, often against a bribe. 
To apply for 12A registration, the 10A form needs to be filled (You can download the 10A form here to get 12A certification which is editable). Once 12A is approved, it is valid for a lifetime.
The NGO is then ready to apply for the 80G. The form to the filled in is 10G (You can Download the form 10G to get 80G). Once 80G is approved it is valid for a period of 1 to 3 years.
There are few conditions to be fulfilled under the section 80G:
  • The NGO should not have any income which is not exempted, such as business income. lf the NGO has business income then it should maintain separate books of accounts and should not divert donations received for the purpose of such business.
  • The bylaws or objectives of the NGOs should not contain any provision for spending the income or assets of the NGO for purposes other than charitable.
  • The NGO is not working for the benefit of particular religious community or caste.
  • The NGO maintains regular accounts of its receipts & expenditures.
  • The NGO is properly registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860 or under any law corresponding to that act or is registered under section 25 of the Companies Act 1956.
Documents required for registration of u/s 12A and 80G:
  1. Dully filled in Form - 10A for registration u/s 12A registration;
  2. Dully filled in Form - 10G for registration u/s 80G registration;
  3. Registration Certificate and MOA /Trust Deed (two copies - self attested by NGO head);
  4. NOC from Landlord (where registered office is situated);
  5. Copy of PAN card of NGO;
  6. Electricity Bill / House tax Receipt /Water Bill (photocopy);
  7. Evidence of welfare activities carried out & Progress Report since inception or last 3 years;
  8. Books of Accounts, Balance Sheet & ITR (if any), since inception or last 3years;
  9. List of donors along with their address and PAN;
  10. List of governing body I board of trustees members with their contact details;
  11. Original RC and MOA /Trust Deed for verification;
  12. Authority letter in favour of NGO
  13. Any other document I affidavit / undertaking I information asked by the Income Tax department
When called for hearing, the representative needs to carry all the originals of the documents submitted at the time of application.
Income tax department has the power to approve or reject such approval upon disqualification of the non-profit organization or dissatisfaction found by the department towards the non-profit NGO organization activities

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Innovaid Welcomes a Elise Collins to the Team

Innovaid is happy to inttroduce a new team member, Elise Collins, our Program and Communications Manager. Holding a Masters in Development Anthropology, Elise brings five years of management experience with community and international development projects in the areas of environment, education and empowerment. Her focus on socio-environmental concerns and strong drive to unpack issues for sustainable solutions provides a rich contribution to Innovaid's CSR initiatives
As program manager, Elise applies expertise in critical social inquiry and participatory processes to design, implement, monitor and evaluate CSR and philanthropic projects for clients. Her unique and inspiring ideas for producing high-quality media tools drives communications and marketing initiatives for maximum impact.
Originally from Adelaide, South Australia, Elise moved to India in 2011 and is inspired by the beauty, diversity and warmth of this country and its people. 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Angus' Reflections on Interning with Innovaid

Living in Mumbai and interning at Innovaid have been brilliant experiences, and I can’t think of a better way I could have spent my summer holidays, from the business and law degree I am undergoing at the University of Western Sydney. I had been totally unaware that organisations like Innovaid exist in the world, and it has all been a very pleasant surprise!

Most of the time that I spent in the office I was been busy researching – which doesn’t sound too exciting, however, Innovaid delves into some really interesting issues. I learnt about the plight of children with facial cleft deformities, children without any educative provision, and youth impacted by the Punjab drug endemic. I was involved in the writing up of contracts and MOUs, I attended meetings, and edited CSR reports. Furthermore, I learnt how philanthropic bodies effectively strategise to meet the needs presented by social issues, and the roles that corporates and celebrities can have here.

My internship wasn’t all about work, and I made time for some travel throughout India, and managed to explore the Rajasthan area, as well as Delhi, Agra, and there was a separate trip to Goa. It was great to have Mumbai as a base – it really is an amazing city, and there were many great nights out and some good friendships were made. One of my most bizarre experiences involved being an extra in a Bollywood comedy, that involved me running away in horror from an evil trained pig - which had accidentally consumed ecstasy!

I would definitely recommend interning with Innovaid to anyone who is willing to step outside of their comfort zone and experience working in a different culture - that can be at different times incredibly frustrating or overwhelmingly positive. My overall experience of the internship program has been wonderful, and I feel like I am now much better equipped to utilise my degree vocationally, and I have learnt so much about a field that interests me greatly that I would now consider working in, in the future.