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Manna Dabholkar (Photo by GIFT/Manna Dabholkar)

Drug cartels from Columbia to Mexico in South America are the real face of danger for those living in those neighborhoods. Poverty, lack of education, and social growth are some of the major repercussions. The civic societies do not exist and hence for governments, it is difficult to share a hand of help, or most of the time, they are not willing to entangle in a dirty chaotic situation with the cartels.

The role of non-governmental organizations or non-profits is too limited in those affected regions. For reasons, non-profits are also not performing in these regions. On the other hand, all these big names like ‘Red Cross’ or ‘Children International’ or ‘Project Amigo’ are continuously collecting donations to help the needy in those regions too.

We spoke with Manna Dabholkar, Co-founder and CEO at Gift Global Initiative. GIFT is a Humanitarian Diplomacy organization that alleviates human suffering through Social Impact Initiatives by bringing governments and world leaders together, mobilizing the power of volunteers, and engaging the generosity of donors. Manna seems to be worried about how non-profits are working in their respective fields.

Manna said in a conversation on the phone with Muzaffar Ahmad Noori Bajwa, the Editor-in-Chief of The Eastern Herald that most NGOs evaluate their success or failure purely based on their fundraising numbers. A big share of that money is then spent on branding, advertising, and appointing paid celebrity brand ambassadors which in turn gives them hefty publicity bringing in more money into these organizations.

This is what we see every day. Any natural calamity and all the billboards, commercials on TV, and the internet are filled with the voices of victims, the victimization. Humans are a reactive species; we react to emotional events and donate without giving it much thought. This is how the marketing and branding of NGOs are played and manipulated. In research on the internet, we found that Billions of Dollars are donated to charities every year.

In research on the internet, we found that Billions of Dollars are donated to charities every year.

According to, an American, the ‘National Philanthropy Trust‘, Approximately 90% of high net worth households give to charity. The NPT also reported that there are more than 1.54 million charitable organizations in the United States and on average, high net worth donors gave $29,269 to charity in 2017. By comparison, general population households gave $2,514 on average.

Billions of Dollars in Charity

According to the Charitable Navigator, as in previous years, the majority of that giving came from individuals. Specifically, individuals gave $286.65 billion, accounting for 70% of all giving and representing a 3.0% increase over 2016.

Where do the donations go?

  • Education charities were up 6.2% to $58.9 billion (14% of all donations).
  • Human Services charities were up 5.1% to $50.06 billion (12% of all donations).
  • Foundations with an increase of 6% to $45.89 billion (11% of all donations).
  • Health charities experienced an increase of 15.5% to $38.27 billion (9% of all donations).
  • Public-Society Benefit charities saw an increase of 7.8% to $29.59 billion (7% of all donations).
  • Giving to International charities decreased by 4.4% to $22.97 billion (6% of all donations).
  • Arts, Culture and Humanities with an increase of 8.7% to $19.51 billion (5% of all donations).
  • Charities that focus on the Environment/Animals saw an increase of 7.2% to $11.83 billion (3% of all donations).
  • Historically, Religious groups have received the largest share of charitable donations. This remained true in 2016. With the 2.9% increase in donations this year, 31% of all donations, or $127.37 billion, went to Religious organizations. Much of these contributions can be attributed to people giving to their local place of worship.

Manna worked with the American Red Cross as the Director of the Regional Operations and decided to resign in early 2014. She said she felt far away from the trenches, from where the real need and action is. She felt the humanitarian world was very focused on transitional aid and disaster management, but not much was being done towards prevention. Most charities find it easier to raise money “after the fact”, after a disaster strikes, after a child or woman or family is exploited, etc. But the real solution lies in Prevention. Prevention is the key to solving many of the social evils we see in our world today but not many are eager to take up the task of devoting their efforts towards preventing these evils. The role of society should not be just to get impressed by TV and internet commercials but to verify the facts and stats before any kind of donation.

Manna is invited to speak at various humanitarian and philanthropic events across the world, in her role as a Global Goodwill Ambassador. She advises multinational NGOs and Government agencies on mindful strategic Humanitarian efforts. Educating the Corporate Partners on creating a Social Impact Marketing Strategy to add Shareholder Value, Increase Customer Acquisition and Double the Impact of their Donations is part of her work at GIFT. More recently, she served as a Human Rights Commissioner on Sybil Brand Commission (US) that oversees human rights violations in the prisons.

GIFT Global Initiative takes a unique approach of evaluating success in terms of impact, in terms of how many families they reached and helped. Her education in management and Human Rights law makes her the right candidate for the job she is in.

Manna is very active on social media platforms reaching hundreds of thousands of people every year, showcasing their work in real-time. Many get inspired by her role with her non-profit.

Manna is passionate about mental health and as a life coach guides hundreds of people every year through Wellness and Life Coaching. She was recently appointed a Global Envoy for Royal Family Offices in the Gulf.

GIFT is constantly working under harsh conditions in neighborhoods controlled by the Cartels, and other darker elements of our society in about 17 countries. Her life’s goal and mission are to eradicate the cause of suffering rather than only serving the victims for their wounds. Manna believes in bringing a hand up to these families, not a handout. She wants these families to be self-sufficient and independent.

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Shivank Dwivedi
Head of collaborations at The Eastern Herald.

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