While analytics and AI have revolutionised all the major industries in the world, this company is helping NGOs to reduce their administrative burden by using AI. Based in Gurugram, Impactify is facilitating simple tools to NGOs to streamline workflows, in addition to assisting them with subject matter expertise to help them enhance the effectiveness of their programs.
Analytics India Magazine got in touch with the founding partners of Impactify Joy Sharma (JS) and Sudeep Gupta (SG), who are engineers by qualification and hold management degrees from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and University of Michigan (USA), respectively. With a combined experience of more than 25 years in areas such as policy, strategy, finance, operations, technology, and others, they have worked with various governments, development organizations, and private sector entities across the globe.
With Impactify they aim to bring the exposure of global best practices to India to support the social sector in delivering greater impact. Using AI, they provide digital solutions to the organisations from program conception stage till the delivery of outcomes with the aim to fill various gaps in a sector held back by poor information accessibility.
Below are the excerpts of the interview.
Analytics India Magazine: Please tell us about Impactify. How is it helping NGOs to set a stronger base?
JS: Despite corporates having the resources and intention to create positive change, they are often unable to identify the right NGO partners across different geographies which are working in their sector of interest, such as environment, healthcare, education, etc. Impactify bridges this gap through its marketplace by showcasing projects and pre-vetting NGOs on behalf of corporate sponsors. Impactify serves the NGOs and sponsors to amplify the impact of social-spend. It bridges the gap by showcasing projects and pre-vetting NGOs on behalf of corporate sponsors. Once matched, the platform’s integrated project management and monitoring interface reduce the administrative burden for both the NGO and the sponsor.
AIM: How does it work?
JS: Impactify’s easy-to-use interface allows NGOs to report live from the ground, in addition to helping sponsors manage their entire portfolio of social spend, track project progress, and evaluate the impact achieved through their spend. We work with NGOs to not only help them create and promote effective, detailed project proposals, but also to ensure that all relevant project details that are necessary for sponsors to take funding decisions are clearly defined, including KPIs, project timelines, budget estimates, beneficiary definition, and expected impact.
AIM: How did the idea of founding Impactify conceptualise?
SG: We go back 25 years, having studied in the same school and engineering college. It was fitting that we got back together again to found an endeavour to build a bridge between NGOs and corporates. We believe that profitability and positive social impact are not mutually exclusive. While starting Impactify, we contemplated the opportunities of being a for-profit or a not-for-profit venture and went ahead with establishing the brand as a for-profit organisation. The core reason behind this was that we wanted to be able to attract the top talent in the industry and also be equipped to pay them well.
AIM: How is Impactify exploring technologies such as artificial intelligence in the social sector? Please highlight use cases of how you are adopting it?
JS: Both conventional, as well as emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, etc., are being extensively used at Impactify. As we aim to build strong and professionally managed organisations, these technologies come in handy. To serve a large number of organizations at a price point that the social sector can afford, it becomes essential to use technology and leverage economies of scale.
Specifically, with regards to AI – there are two ways in which it can support the social sector – finding solutions to problems in specific thematic areas, e.g. healthcare, education, etc.; and second, solving structural issues in the sector e.g. need assessment, monitoring and evaluation, impact assessment, etc. Impactify currently uses AI for the “Intelligent Matching” portion of its model.
AI is crucial to our working as it provides ways to do things that would take several man-months in a few weeks. This brings the cost advantage that is critical to ensure we can serve our clients at an affordable price point.
AIM: How are AI algorithms helping sponsors identify the best fit NGO project? Please explain the detailed working.
SG: Using AI and the dedicated efforts of a strong operations team, Impactify has started evaluating more than 80,000 NGOs across India. Of these, 1000+ NGOs have been vetted and on-boarded onto the Impactify platform. These organisations have 2,800+ projects worth ~600 Cr that have been screened and enhanced with inputs from Impactify subject matter experts.
Sponsors can identify projects of their interest in any geography and any thematic area, across any district in India. This service is completely FREE for everyone to use. In addition, Impactify also helps its NGOs respond to RfPs from its more than 100+ sponsors. Using both technology and strong internal processes, Impactify has never failed in finding a great fit project for its sponsors within two weeks from initial contact.
AIM: What are the other emerging technologies and digital solutions that you are adopting?
SG: We are exploring the use of AI in the second aspect of our work “Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation”. We cannot divulge too many details right now. Additionally, we are working on a report that provides insights from our data of NGOs. Till now all reports published on CSR have done analysis on corporate data. This will be the first report ever in India with NGO-side data.
AIM: How has been the growth story of the startup so far? What are some of the major milestones that the startup has witnessed over the last few years?
JS: Impactify is currently piloting with more than 10 corporates with over INR 50 crore of CSR funding monitored through Impactify. With 1000-plus corporates, over 2,800 social sector projects and potential of INR 587 crore funds, Impactify is focusing on further expanding its marketplace across the country with a target of 5,000-plus projects.
From building the first prototype of the Impactify NGO management tool in early 2017 to introducing “Intelligent Matching”, and “Integrated Monitoring” models, we have come a long way. We are constantly evolving to make Impactify affordable and bring the world’s smartest Social Sector Management and monitoring tool.
AIM: What is the growth plan for the year 2019 in terms of technology adoption? Are you looking forward to exploring more technologies?
JS: Yes, will be introducing a few things in the second half of 2019 but we can’t divulge too many details right now.