2015 India Philanthropy Report

Aditya Goel and Swati Ganeti, Consultant and Senior Associate Consultant respectively, in our New Delhi office share their experience as part of the team contributing to the 2015 India Philanthropy Report.

This year, we got the exciting chance to be part of Bain India’s 2015 philanthropy report! These annual reports are seen as benchmark reports for the philanthropy sector and have acquired a strong reputation of combining data and powerful insights to add value to India’s fast-growing philanthropic space.

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Each year, the report covers the most pressing and important trends in this sector. Early on in this year’s process, we learned that there is an increasing trend of donations in India. Donors are contributing more and donating to a larger pool of nonprofit organizations. For 2015, our theme was to understand the key challenges faced by both sides (donors and non-profits) and suggest solutions that will help trigger the next wave of philanthropy. It was no easy task but we were keen to sink our teeth into the research, given the stellar reputation of the earlier reports that we had to live up to!

First, we aimed to understand donor characteristics – what motivates them to donate, what they think of philanthropy, and what results they expect from non-profit organizations. Second, we studied NGOs – what challenges they face while raising money and creating impact on the ground. Given the challenges India faces in terms of large-scale poverty, millions of malnourished children and the need to empower women, adding value to the philanthropy debate is crucial Continue reading

Celebrating World Environment Day

In celebration of World Environment Day and Bain’s continued certification as 100% CarbonNeutral®, Green Teams around the globe held special office events this week. We’ll celebrate on the blog by sharing a few additional pictures from the Antarctica expedition.

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Final thoughts after the 2015 Antarctica expedition

It has been two months since the expedition – and Thalia, an AC from Mexico, reflects on what she learned and what will stay with her from her time in Antarctica. She also shared the below picture from the team’s “survival” overnight on the ice.

©EdwrightImages

©EdwrightImages

All human beings are capable of adapting to the environment or circumstances they are living in – almost like a defense mechanism. This innate and natural instinct helps us survive in many ways but sometimes is also the reason why we get stuck in our comfort zone. We adapt and change only when external factors push us to the limit instead of realizing that we can also pursue “change” based on one’s will and one’s internal motivations.

The people I met on this expedition are role models and great examples of determination and inspirational leadership. These people have decided to get out of their comfort zone and look for their “sweet spot” at the intersection of their motivations and strengths. All of them have gotten a head start by approaching their goals with such a positive attitude that even though many obstacles have crossed their paths, it has never thwarted their hope to make this world a better place.

My greatest fear after the Expedition ended was the thought that with time I could forget about this experience and just adapt to having a normal life back home. But previous participants of the Expedition were not lying when they told us our lives would be changed forever. Continue reading

Deception Island – a place for hope

Three Bainies set out on a life-changing expedition to Antarctica in March.  They have now returned and we will be publishing their final posts, favorite pictures and reflections on our blog over the next few weeks.  Thalia, an AC from Mexico City, wrote this last post from Antarctica on an eye-opening experience during their final days.

After filling our eyes with so many beautiful and indescribable landscapes, we visited Whaler’s Bay on Deception Island. Years ago, Whaler’s Bay was a place where slaughtered whales were brought to be processed for oil extraction. You can imagine what a drastic change this was compared to the white, intact and pure places we have been these past days… I felt in shock, just like those painful seconds in the polar plunge when you feel the freezing water on your body like a thousand needles on your skin.  However, I think this was the best way to prepare us for the end of the trip.

Deception Island

Whaler’s Bay is a stark example of the impact humans can have on the environment. Making this stop made us reflect on and actually witness the negative things we are capable of doing. We hear, read and learn all the time about climate change, pollution, waste, endangered species, etc. but it is not until you are standing in front of a quasi-cemetery/murder scene that it really gets to you. We were also struck by humans’ careless impact when we saw a massive piece of ice that had cracked and separated from the continent because of the unnatural temperature rise we’ve caused.

This Expedition has been a combination of witnessing amazing, positive things coupled with other very sad and negative things that have mostly been caused by our own species. But the good news is that we have the chance to do something about this. Continue reading

Striving for a greener future

Julian Critchlow, a Director in our London office and head of our Utility and Alternative Energy practice, recently wrote about his quest to be green in both his professional and personal life.  Read Julian’s recent contribution to the Financial Times to learn about some of the specific steps he and his family are taking.  An excerpt from his post is below:

Julian

How, as a prosperous westerner, do you free yourself from the guilty knowledge that your bequest to planet earth will be a hotter and less hospitable climate? In the hours between breakfast and lunch, Britons and Americans are responsible for more carbon emissions than someone living in India is likely to produce in an entire day. European governments hope to reduce this deadly toll by offering big subsidies for measures that will lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. Billions have been spent, yet progress is slow.

For more than two decades I have been helping utility companies around the world make electricity generation cleaner. For most of that time, however, my personal environmental credentials have been a muddier shade of green. The guilt began at home (a draughty 19th-century house heated by oil, one of the dirtiest-burning fuels) and it followed me everywhere I went in my petrol-guzzling car. Heating homes and getting around accounts for more than half of the energy used in Britain. Spurred on by my wife, our family asked ourselves: how little could we use?

Click here to read the full write-up.

Creating a sustainable, abundant and joyful world

Many young leaders and entrepreneurs brought their projects onboard. The projects are diverse, but all of them aim to create a sustainable, abundant and joyful world for everyone. Our Bain team has spent the time between lectures, workshops and Antarctic landings listening to these ideas and initiatives and sharing our Bain business skills and expertise. It is such a privilege to apply our consulting skills to help the participants make their projects more impactful and efficient.

A student from India cherishes an ambitious project aimed at promoting Indian culture and education. He looks for guidance to make his project come true.

Another Indian participant aspires to open a nutritional restaurant sourcing products exclusively from local farmers who practice sustainable agriculture. This project will benefit the farmers because without a middleman involved their profits will be greater, and it favours sustainable agriculture. Continue reading

Living on the edge

When you plan to visit Antarctica with a mix of people, young and old from all corners of the globe, and you will be spending loads of time together in close quarters on a boat – you know that you will form some fast friendships. In addition to the natural bonding that takes place, the 2041 team have some interesting networking activities and techniques they use.

We spent a night on the ice. A whole night in the dark wilderness. We were geared up with sleeping bags, sleeping bag liners, heat pads, mats and all the layers layers layers we could put on. We parked the ship and the Zodiac boats took us all to shore with our gear – and they dropped us there.  Literally dropped us on a piece of land covered with ice with a view of the ocean and a back drop of a mountain. It was truly spectacular but is such a weird feeling to see the boats leave you there and the ship sail off around the bend to leave us in complete darkness and loneliness.

Antarctica evening

We all banded together to get our spot and we dug out small trenches surrounded by snow walls to shield us from the winds. I have never made a bed like this before so it was certainly different. We laid our sleeping bags in our man-made snow beds as close together as possible before the sun completely went down, and we were left with only a few head torches to guide us in the dark.

Before we slid inside our sleeping bags, we sat and listened to the sounds of Antarctica in all its glory. We listened to the sounds of the seals and penguins sitting on the shore right next to us. We listened to the waves coming to the shore and the ice cracking under pressure in the bay all around us. Continue reading

What is your story going to be?

Here in Antarctica it is all about building your story. What is that story? A story is taking everything you learn on this ship from the mentors, the inspirational people that you meet and the activities we take part in and using it to create our own story which we can share with others. A story, like in any book, needs a beginning and an end and for this to happen you need one main ingredient, commitment. As Robert Swan says: “build a track record and inspire others by showing your commitment with actions, if you say you are going to do something, do it.”

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The team with Robert Swan

Do you want to see what commitment looks like?

Abhishek, a 23 year old from India, patented his own solar powered voice activated elevator for the blind and elderly which is already being installed in retirement blocks with a scope of 16 more. Think that is awesome? He is also one of the four founders of the yearly Himalayan Expedition who are also working on raising funds to sponsor two students to come to the International Antarctic Expedition next year. Continue reading

First land sighting

To anyone who goes to the Antarctic, there is a tremendous appeal, an unparalleled combination of grandeur, beauty, vastness, loneliness and malevolence – all of which sound tremendously melodramatic – but which truthfully convey the actual feeling of Antarctica. Where else in the world are all of these descriptors really true?

– Captain T.L.M. Sunter 

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Ooh, finally, the Drake Passage is behind us! Before we even entered it, the ship’s crew shared their experiences of previous years when the waves were so high and severe, that expedition participants were being flung from their beds during the nighttime and thrown against walls as they navigated their way through the shaky corridors. We were prepared for the worst, but nature spared us and waves that we witnessed did not exceed 6m – what a relief!

After the Drake Passage we officially entered Antarctic waters and immediately felt the change: the temperature dropped considerably and the horizon was not an endless dark blue desert any more.

The icebergs were the first sign of us approaching Antarctica. Continue reading

Ready to set sail

Final comments from Galyna on the days leading up to the expedition. This was the last post from them before they made contact from the ship.  Check back to read about their experiences on the ship (and in Antarctica!) over the next few days.

Our Expedition began in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world and the closest to the Antarctic Continent, the windy and desolate outpost tucked into the Beagle Channel and surrounded by peaks and glaciers.

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First, Robert Swan shared his inspiring life story, starting from his childhood dream of becoming a polar explorer up to his decision to dedicate his life to the preservation of Antarctica.

The presentations that followed were devoted to the current geopolitical status of Antarctica and risks threatening it; current situation status of the climate change and carbon emissions impact; leaders’ role in making a change.

Further discussions allowed us to get to know the other participants better and learn about their views and activities in the sustainability area.

Today is a special day as we are boarding the ship that will take us to Antarctica.

The journey will start with the Drake Passage, the body of water which separates South America from Antarctica. The waters of the passage are known to be the roughest in the world. In severe weather, waves are said to reach a height of over 10 m. Let’s see what it prepares for us…

Climate change: sit up, listen and take a stand

Kate, an MA from Sydney, shares her thoughts before embarking on the expedition, along with the application video that helped her get there.

Antarctica. There are no polar bears there. Surprising, right?!

When I found out that I was lucky enough to have the opportunity of a lifetime to visit this untouched wonder, one of the first things people would say is, be careful you don’t get attacked by a polar bear. Like me, many others had no idea Antarctica is not home to any polar bears. Why is it that we don’t know much about this amazing place, even facts as simple as what animals live there?  It is just one example of many showing how little people like you and I know about the continent.

I applied for this expedition having little knowledge about Antarctica itself and about climate change in general. But I found myself with a hunger to learn more and to know how little old me could help make a difference and take some steps towards protecting Antarctica.  The video I made as part of my application is just below:

 

Did I expect to get picked for the expedition knowing so little? No. But it actually turns out that I am the perfect candidate. 2041 and the expedition is all about educating a wide mix of people from around the world on climate change issues and committing to come back to our communities and make a difference with our new found knowledge.

Through our journey and this blog, our aim is to encourage people to sit up and listen. To care and be aware. To be inspired to make changes in this world for the better for today, and for generations to come. Continue reading

Expedition training: the first glacier hike!

Thalia, an Associate Consultant from Mexico City, shares a bit about the days of training in Argentina with the rest of the expedition participants – before the ship set sail.

It is said that happiness is a way of travel not a destination. I can say that our travel to Antarctica has been quite an adventure so far and we have not even set foot on the boat!

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From the very day we were informed we had been selected to be this year’s IAE members, we have come together as a group and learned so much, despite living in three different countries. These past six months of intense preparation, on top of normal day to day responsibilities at work, have only reassured me that when you put your heart into it, anything is possible.

It has been two days now since we’ve joined the rest of the IAE participants, all amazing people! More than 20 countries represented and great diversity, from a 12 year old student to scientists, journalists, teachers and more. What is the key characteristic that brings us all together? Sustainability. Every participant, with their own interests and initiatives, came here to learn more and share their projects, and I cannot think of a better opportunity and more enriching environment there could be than here, now. Continue reading

Gearing up for Antarctica

The team has just boarded the ship on their way to Antarctica! They recorded their thoughts as they traveled to Argentina, the first stop in the journey. Stay tuned to the blog over the next week as we share their thoughts and some early pictures before they’re able to connect with us from the other side of the Drake Passage. The first post below is from Galyna, a Consultant in Bain Paris.

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” – Goethe

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In September 2014, three of us – Kate, Galyna and Thalia received extraordinary news – we had been selected to represent Bain at the 2015 International Antarctic Expedition! A long-standing dream will have come true!

After this amazing announcement, the three of us plunged into active preparation.

6 months of organizing numerous fundraising activities, Bain toolkit trainings, hundreds of emails, dozens of calls between the different time zones…

6 months of exchanging ideas, getting to know the team members, expanding our knowledge about Antarctica and sustainable development…

6 months of excitement, anticipation, self-questioning, discoveries as well as incredible support by our Bain colleagues, our families, our friends and people whom we never met who assisted us to make this adventure come true!

Today, full of thrill and gratitude, we are finally heading South. The journey that started 6 months ago, will take us beyond the edge of the world…

Building school leadership in California

Education is one of Bain’s global social impact priorities.  Here, Ashwin and Carey, a Consultant and Associate Consultant in our Los Angeles office, talk about their recent experience on an important, ongoing education project in California. 

SCALE

Over the last four months, we have had the opportunity to work with SCALE (Stuart Foundation California Leaders in Education), a group of 14 superintendents and CEOs from some of the largest districts and Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) in California that represent over one million students. Sponsored by the Stuart Foundation and facilitated by Bain, SCALE’s members come together to learn about leading organizations and tools they can take from the private sector and apply within their organizations. Bain has led a series of workshops over the past two years that aim to build leadership capacity and provide tangible tools to help these educators better lead their organizations. An example of some of the ideas and tools we’ve shared with this group can be found in our whitepaper, Building Pathways: How to develop the next generation of transformational school leaders.

We were both involved in organizing several workshops, which included topics on effective decision-making, developing teacher leadership pathways, and designing high-functioning schools. Continue reading

One year after Antarctica – Sid’s reflections

The second of last year’s participants, Sid in India, shares his reflections on how the expedition affected him.  Stay tuned for the final reflection next week, followed by the real-time experience of this year’s team! 

This time last year, I was running around frantically, trying to balance my case load with getting all my stuff sorted for the International Antarctica Expedition (IAE.) At that point, I thought about the expedition as an adventure, a physical experience if you will. However, I now find that I had it all backwards; the expedition caused more of a mental shift than anything else, and changed my perspective on how I look at a lot of life in general.

Sid

For example, post IAE I find myself reading more about ideas concerning renewable energy and sustainability measures, and learning more about changes to the ecosystem than I had before. Perhaps more interestingly, the way I interpret things that I used to experience before the expedition has changed as well. Plant-based imitations of meat don’t just appeal to the vegetarian glutton in me anymore; they also appeal to the part of my brain that’s thinking about how this could have a powerful impact on the environment. Government policies now have me worrying about potential disruptions to the environment, rather than just the economic impact it could have.

IAE definitely affected the way I think, and introduced me to a lot of new ideas as well as great people and experiences. As the date of this year’s expedition draws nearer, I find myself becoming envious of the team this year. They’re in for the experience of a lifetime!