Once upon a time, to get in touch with a loved one living far from you, the only reliable method was sending a letter through the post, or a costly phone call from the landline. The letter would take days to reach, and the news it carried would be delivered way after a life event had occurred. People were cautious with the dial-up phone when it was made available – the costs to call overseas were high, and usually, that meant being careful about how much time you spent talking on it. There were a lot of inconveniences before technology became the crux of our existence but back then those inconveniences were a way of life. 

In stark contrast, today, technology has become THE way of life. To imagine a situation where there is no connectivity is frightening to think of, and in the last few days, it has been clear that it is a blessing. We are witnessing what the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is capable of, with human beings across the world having to stay at home until the situation improves. We are only one video call away from people we hold dear, and if not video, there is WhatsApp, email, and social media (and now even Zoom and Houseparty) that keeps us close. Now more than ever, digital communication and access is a much-appreciated boon. 

Social Distancing Scift

Social distancing is a rule of thumb during this time, with people being asked to stay at home. People across the world have had to celebrate various occasions from the confines of their homes. Birthday parties, wedding celebrations, anniversary get-togethers, reunions – all have been cancelled or rescheduled. If you had planned or were looking forward to a celebration in the next few weeks, we understand the natural disappointment. However, there are some things you can do that will make you feel good about yourself during this time. 

Giving back to the community by contributing to a charitable organisation working for a good cause is always a rewarding feeling. You can always ask guests who were to attend your celebration to donate to a charity that is actively working on a cause you support. View our list of charities.

During this time, it is also essential to come together to support those less fortunate and those who depend on daily wages. At Scift, we have set up a COVID-19 fund. We aim to be able to help up to 100 people through this fund, who are already feeling the financial burden of their daily wage coming to a halt. The money collected will go directly to the affected people, and not via a trade union or any such group. Photos of beneficiaries and updates will be sent to the donors. Click to learn more.

So how do you make your celebration into a community-driven impact effort? 

Scift makes it easy for you to access NGOs and charities. All you have to do is visit our website and click on the Charities page to learn about the organizations we support through our platform. There are two approaches you can take – 

1) Someone hosting an event like a birthday party, a wedding, housewarming etc can accept donations on behalf of a charity, from their guests, instead of gifts for their child. Users share their celebrations with charities that champion worthy causes.

This is how it works: You go to the website, and click on “Create an Event”. When you create an event on Scift, you select the charity of your choice, enter your event details and save the event.

Next, you add your guests’ email addresses and send your invitation, or copy-paste a unique URL link created for your event, and share via Facebook, Whatsapp or email according to your preference.

When guests receive the link, they have the option to contribute money online instead of bringing a gift to the event. After the host has closed the event, Scift will transfer the funds to the charity. Processing fees, as described below, are deducted from the funds.

After the event, you can also send thank you cards to guests. At any time, you can log in to your ‘Dashboard’ to view/edit your event and track your guests’ contributions.

2) One could also choose to directly gift a friend or loved one a donation to a charity instead of giving them another gift.

This is how it works: You go to the homepage and click on “Give a Gift”. The amount you select will go to the charity of your choice, and your friend will get an email telling them about the gift they have been given. We will follow this up with an update on the donation both to the Gifter and the Giftee.

A few presses of a button and the money will be transferred on your behalf. That is the beauty of technology. We used to put off going to the post office for some other pressing matter, but here the effort is so minimal, and the time it takes is so little, yet you still manage to bring a smile so someone else’s face.