How a small gesture can be a life-changing moment

Earlier this month Solo Expenses made a donation to an organisation supporting blind women in Delhi. It’s the kind of thing we do regularly, but something about the donation touched the heart of our Giving Back blogger Ron Banks, who wrote to company owners Sunil and Sunita Nigam to say how pleased it had made him feel. This is what he wrote:

Dear Sunil and Sunita,

Years ago when I worked for a living my company made a donation to a help a man raise money for charity by running a fishing competition. He rang to thank me for the donation, but then asked if I’d mind of he didn’t give the money to the charity at all.

It was such a bold question that I was taken aback, and for a moment didn’t know what to say. Then he made his pitch, which was as simple and effective as it was ingenuous. He wanted to use my money as seed capital to make some promotional baseball caps, which he would then sell to anglers who had already paid to take part in the competition. Perfect! Call it upselling; call adding value; call it what you will. The result was that my little donation would raise far more money than I’d given to him, and be worth much more to the charity as a result. The difference was vision; the ability to see that approaching an issue in an unexpected way could have very positive – and almost unexpected – consequences.

Which is why I was so pleased to hear that you have made a donation from the company to the NAB India Centre For Blind Women Delhi. The donation, at 50,000 rupees, sounds a lot, but I guess that’s a question of perception and location. In the west, it’s a little over £500, even allowing for currency fluctuations in the post-Brexit world. In India it’s not a small sum at all – translated to the Indian economy it’s a fortune, and its effect will be a bit like throwing pebbles into a pond; the ripples will just keep on going outwards.

I understand that the Centre for Blind Women will do much the same with your donation as the fishing contest man did with mine; apply it in a way that will do far more good than just the money might suggest.

I’m told the money will be spent on a unit started by the Centre in a village in northern India, where it’s hoped that scores of disabled people can receive help. To be honest, I was staggered at just how effective such a small donation (in western terms) could be. Apparently it’s enough to set up five people with a shop each – so they’ll have a means of supporting themselves and their families, and playing an active part in the economy and community.

But then, this is what you do, isn’t it? Put money from your enterprise into good causes that deserve a little support; good causes that might not get the support they need.

And I love the way that the donations you make come from the business, so that everyone who subscribes to one of your products not only gets a fine product (forgive my bias, but I believe they are), but also supports your choice of good causes, month in, month out, for which you should be proud.

Keep up the good work!

Best wishes, Ron Banks