Crowdsourcing Help through Volunteers – Our Modus Operandi

A common question in many a persons mind when they hear about a non profit organisation is how are operations run?  Its a valid concern and question for anyone who is a donor to the organisation. Here we would like to give you some insights into our model of operation.

@USA

Our books are largely sourced from the USA . They are procured through very many book donation drives. Books from USA form more than 90% of our inventory.   As an organisation we strongly believe in recycling and reusing.

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

Books can never be trash but simply one outgrows them and moves onto the next set. But there will be 1000s more who can be benefitted by the book.  That has been our first principle – how can we reuse the treasure spread across the world. Do we need to buy books or can we reuse them – many a times we have seen people donating books to other children when their own have outgrown. The books that come to us are in good condition though they have been donated.

The first step: Donation drives

These donation drives are done by the 3 main trust members in the USA board namely Madhu, Yogita and Stephanie. Each of them enlist the help of friends to volunteer to help with the donation drives . These donation drives happen at schools or communities or work places or sometimes book stores donate them, Very seldom have we bought books and it happens maybe at half price sales.  Here is a sample of our donation drive which gets heavily advertised on all forms of social media, email  as well as word of mouth.

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 The second step: First level of sorting and boxing

The books need to be then sorted into their respective categories . This is once more a volunteer driven operation headed by our board members in the USA. It also takes place in Madhu’s house, founding member of JoR. Help for this is crowdsourced as well and friends sign up for the same. here is a sample of how its advertised

Its made into a fun activity for both adults and children and is fondly referred to as a book sorting party – indeed its a party for book lovers who just go through several thousands of books and organising into their categories . Check out where both our youth and adult volunteers helping us out with a sorting event.

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The third step : Shipping to India

Once again volunteers are sourced for trasnferring books from America to India. People relocating to India who hire a container help us in carrying 1000s of books. There are also people who keep shuttling between Hyderabad (our base in India) and Seattle (our base in the USA) as part of business trips. We make them carry one suitcase of books.  Till date we haven’t spent any money for transferring books overseas. It has been the goodwill of several of friends and acquaintances who have helped us in this good cause.

@INDIA

The fourth step: Sorting and levelling in India

In India once the boxes are transferred to our library at Kalyan Nagar, Hyderabad . Once again through help of volunteers the levelling (using Grow by Reading) , sorting and accounting of books happen. The novels are further classified based on authors or series type. Reference books are classified into Animals, Space, Geography, English, Math, Magazines, Management etc. The volunteer help is sourced through word of mouth by the India board member. Both children and adults help with the whole process.

The fifth Step: Shipping to recipients

We have to ship cartons to places outside of Hyderabad for which we need help in shifting the boxes and packing and actual shipping. This is where we spend money to pack and ship it to send it to the interiors of various states. At times we ask our own partners to bear the bill or we go ahead and bear it at our end.

These form our bulk of operations where we use the help of volunteers mainly. Our main costs include the hire of a part time as and when needed manual labor to help us with the cleanliness and maintenance of the library in India, auditor costs for help with filing taxes and printing our stationery (such as labels and receipt books and those with the upkeep of our money in bank). But as we increase the size of our operation we have to rethink our strategy.