Paper, Sand, and 150 Ganpatis: How I raised 1.5 lakhs in 2.5 minutes

A few days before Ganpati were to arrive and adore our houses and streets, I happened to visit Bal Kalyan Sanstha in Pune. Suggested to me by DG Vivek Arhana and my friend Vivek Kulkarni, Bal Kalyan Sanstha is a Recreational and Cultural Centre for disabled children in and around Pune. The staff there informed me about an exciting activity they were about to undertake – Eco-Friendly Ganpati! This was only the beginning of how

Through recycled paper waste and sand, children at the Bal Kalyan Sanstha were making Ganpati idols that easily dissolved in water after immersion, thus going back to the same very source that they came from. The immersed deity idols post-immersion also double up as fodder for sea inhabitants (mainly fishes).

Since Ganpati was only 8 days away, I decided to make use of video to attract people towards the cause. I took a video team to Bal Kalyan Sanstha to document their idol-making process. In what was evidently a cheerful and upbeat environment, kids were in solid form showing off their art skills, being ably assisted by their teachers and the other staff. The end results were, no doubt, delightful and stunning. We filtered through nearly 2 hours of footage to create a quick and informative, but professionally top-notch video chronicling the efforts put in by the children. You can watch the video below:

I decided to put in an extra notch of effort, personally, to promote this idea on a wider scale. Through a combined effort of 6 rotary club presidents and myself, we managed to sell 150 eco-friendly idols, priced at Rs. 1000/- each. This helped us raise an incredible Rs 1.5 lakh within a days.

What this experience established firmly in my mind is how videos can make for excellent online marketing material, as long as they convey the intended message. A short and sweet, to the point video can go a long way in convincing your audience about getting involved. The more the people like it, the more it is shared, thus pulling in a widespread audience.

The entire exercise was an immensely satisfying one. That I could raise such a huge amount in less than 8 days and the basis of a short 2 and a half minute video was undoubtedly a thing I was proud of. More proud was I of the fact that I had nudged a significant contribution to the lives of the children at Bal Kalyan Sanstha and the environment.

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