I do keep getting requests from friends I know who have lost their jobs to help connect them with someone I know. These are difficult times , many people have lost their jobs , many have received pay cuts in their salaries . Yet EMIs need to be paid , children’s school fees need to be taken care of there are essential home expenses and bills that have to be paid. There is a uncertainty of the future as economic impacts of the pandemic are being felt across industries . A new world is emerging , in this world you are in business within and outside a Job.

9 to 5

My father joined the MCGM and he retired from MCGM , one job for a lifetime . There was a concept called job security and you worked on a given time schedule 9 to 5 with 20 minutes of lunch break. There are some places like this even now mostly in the government services , not much has changed.

The myth of job security was busted in the capitalist world gradually the western concept of hire and fire found its way to Indian organisations, there is no 9 to 5 any longer .

Living for the Paycheque

There was another popular term ‘TGF’ , Thank God it is Friday . What this stands for is , get through the week to live life on the weekends. Most employee satisfaction studies year after year show that over 80% of employees are not satisfied with their jobs and yet the continue because bills have to be paid.

HR teams continue with engagement activities to build bonding with the organisations and improve job satisfaction scores. If this would have helped the scores would have improved , what we know is they have not. This has got nothing to do with HR.

Survivors don’t Survive

The new world that has unfolded long before the pandemic , in this world if you play for survival , you will not survive . Those that play safe , fit in the boxes , do what is told are commodities and commodities can be replaced with something or someone that is cheaper somewhere . If your job can be described you will be fired the day something or someone cheaper can take up the job.

Like when WFH becomes the norm it would become ok to hire people from tier two and tier three towns at much cheaper rates , because now location does not matter. This will hit sooner than later , so be prepared.

Don’t wait till to get Fired

Seriously those that have not yet been fired don’t wait till you get fired . Get into business , your business now . And by this I don’t mean quit your job , I mean build the attitude of an entrepreneur . You are on Your Own ! get this no one will save you .

Do what you Love

Each one of us is born with a gift , this gift makes us unique . Find your Gift and share it with the world . Don’t play safe , rock the boat , do stuff that excites you every day . Don’t chase paycheque , chase your dreams . And you turn around and tell me “there are bills to pay” , you keep surviving and yet will get fired anyway anytime . What you do is miss life . If you are a dancer , go and teach people to dance , if you are a singer go out and sing your song , if you love to write code, make poetry of code writing ( I learnt this from a brilliant code writer and they have a group for beautiful code !) . Don’t do mediocre stuff , that you don’t love .

Become the Best

Best not by comparison with others but by your own standards , keep learning , get better and better and better at doing what you love to do . How many hours of practice do you think a Virat Kohli puts in to get good at his game ? Can you set aside a few hours daily to learn something new ? I do that by following the best in the field on YouTube , reading from Blink , subscribing to The Ken .


A tree that bends in a storm survives the one that stands against the storm falls . The new world emerging is online , re-invent yourself . If you hold the position “this is the way I have done things” and stick to it you will fall , if you are a journalist who has lost his job re-invent yourself as a content writer or a story writer for the digital world . Remember whether you are in a job or outside you are in Business. lot of education is now possible thanks to free channels like YouTube ,Linkedin Learning , Udemy .

If you have lost your job take the next six months to connect with your calling and re-invent yourself , learn , educate , get better , work for free , volunteer, network , build your tribe be ready for the new world . This break could be the best thing that has happened in your life .


The good old adage of sales build your Network , in the new world I would redefine this as build your Tribe . Either lead a tribe or become a part of a tribe . Either create a movement or become a part of a movement . Give your best to your Tribe , build your credibility make it the meaning of being alive. Tribes create belonging , they hold ideas connect people.

You are on YOUR OWN

Get this in your head the future of jobs maybe your own business, contracts , freelancing or even when you are in a job , you would yet be in business . All the rules of business apply , take risks , stand out , rock the boat , make a difference , build your authentic Brand . Remember if you are commodity you will get replaced /fired some day ! if you are not adding value and are replaceable with something cheaper , you would be replaced some time sooner than later. IF YOUR JOB CAN BE DEFINED YOU WILL BE REPLACED WITH SOMETHING OR SOMEONE CHEAPER ! DON’T GET DEFINED , GO BEYOND THE BOX !

These are tough times but remember ‘This too shall Pass’ and this will pass . The worst of times do pass at the end of a dark tunnel there would be light , yet before the light is seen you would pass through the darkest part of the tunnel but finally there would be light. Let this pandemic be an opportunity to re-invent yourself , to come out stronger , to be ready for the new world, to live life on your own terms , not survive but THRIVE !

If you want to I am available to help and guide you.

Sanjay Mudnaney


When I turned 50 I recorded my first song in a. studio professionally , made a small video clip and put it up on YouTube . I used to love singing while in school but somewhere in the rush had forgotten about it.

I wanted to cycle so I picked up cycling and now cycle every weekend . I wanted to see the stars and so I picked up my first telescope last year. I had always wanted to publish a book , my book ‘Storytellers Secret’ is now available on Amazon. These might seem like small things but then I had pushed all these away to the future.

When we are children fairy tails seem real and we can dream. Then life happens we postpone our dreams to the future, we get real. Buying a home raising a family getting up the ladder is important.

One fine day we would come to know life has passed and we have not lived. Don’t die with your song in your heart. Do the crazy stuff, explore the world , spend time with those you love , give back , spend time with self . Before you know the journey may be over make it fun !

Ashank Desai

Ashank Desai interviewed me at Mastek and I was very fortunate to work under his leadership as head of Corporate Communications and CSR . ‘Humble’ is the first thing that strikes you about Ashank , he is extremely down to earth.

One of the images of Ashank that is etched in my memory is his travelling with Mastekeers in a second class train coach during annual events and singing Antakshari, it made him one of us. There is absolutely no airs that he is a Co Founder of a global IT company Mastek and one of the founding fathers of Indian IT and NASSCOM.

Few know of Ashank’s difficult childhood ,he had shared this with me when we travelled together, he was born in a village near Goa , he lost his father at the age of two his mother who was in a Government job took care of him , they had no support, his early life was in poverty. He loved listening to songs on the radio but did not have one at home so he would stand next to a grocery shop next door to listen to songs on the radio . His early education was with tribals many of who were adults . Many times he would study under street lights . From his mother he picked up the quality of hard work and honesty and this would take him from a small village near Goa to IIT Mumbai , IIM Ahmedabad to building a globally respected IT company and contribute to India’s dominance as global IT leader by co founding NASSCOM !

I would travel with Ashank in one of the journeys we traced back the roots of Mastek, Ketan’s one bedroom apartment in Ghatkopar where the journey of Mastek began to Nariman Point office which could only seat four people to Prabhadevi office which had the famous mazanine floor. At every place he greeted people with genuine warmth and respect. This is Ashank’s enduring quality that makes him a leader who is respected , he treats everyone with respect and this was one of the values of Mastek “Respect for individuals” . The people friendly culture at Mastek has roots in this quality of Ashank , people are respected whatever be their designation or role and not treated as Human ‘Resource’s’ but ‘Human Assets’ at Mastek.

We had done a third party research with investors on Mastek and the results threw up that Mastek was the most admired IT company for its values , honesty and integrity of leadership , this made Ashank happy. Mastek was the very first IT company in India to issue a profit warning, and this was being done well before the quarterly results. As head of Corporate Communications it was a tough time and the stock price would take a beating, but I remember Ashank telling me “This needs to be done” . In a world driven by quarterly result pressures it was the rare breed of leadership that valued transparency above all.

Even today when I call Ashank he responds with fondness and genuine love , this then is Ashank for me a people’s leader a person who leads from the heart. Generations of Mastekeers are fortunate to have experienced what true leadership is , genuine respect for people , values of honesty, integrity and simplicity. His journey from a small village to becoming a admired global leader is an inspiration to those who dream to fly high despite of difficult circumstances.


The outcomes of Project Deep blue indicate that is possible to align Brand purpose with CSR .

Mastek an IT solutions company wanted to build its employer brand in the campus , it suffered a low brand recall. Mastek is a global IT solutions company with a unique people culture and high social conscience. We needed to communicate this brand message at the campus. The traditional route would be sponsorships of campus events but there fear was getting lost in the noise.  

Project Deep Blue was designed as a campus contest which would connect social sector , students , employees and the brand Mastek. Students had to solve real problems of the social sector through IT solutions. The students would be mentored by Mastek employees. The project was not superficial and needed 4 months of intense interaction and working as a team.

Through the process of participating in Project deep Blue students experienced 1. The unique people culture of Mastek as they interacted with Mastek mentors 2. They gained real life experience of solving social sector problems 3. They were exposed to subjects like design thinking and building IT solutions from experts at Mastek.

The result was that in the 4th edition of Project Deep Blue over 800 student teams participated in the contest ,a strong brand recall as a socially conscious organisation and a IT solutions company has been built at the campus and most important the unique people culture was experienced by the students in interaction with mentors. Mastek mentors too gained by engaging and learning from fresh out of the box thinking of students. The social sector gained with out of the box IT solutions developed by the young students. Mastek gained by instantly recruiting the best talent.

The outcomes of Project Deep blue indicate that is possible to align Brand purpose with CSR . I am of the opinion that in the digital world telling Brand stories around CSR would help build Brand Trust and align CSR with business. What are your thoughts ?

Check out the video of contestant feedback on Project Deep Blue


Visual Brand Storytelling Tips to Power your content Marketing

Interruption advertising as we know it is dead, consumers are in charge of content they now consume through their mobile phones. In India the fall of prices of smart phones and cost of data is driving up usage. As consumers now turn to consume entertainment and information on their mobile devices, advertising will become the entertainment.

Across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube consumers now consume visual content that tells a story and engages them. The new marketing is visual brand storytelling.

With that in mind you need to come up with content that’s well worth engaging with for an extended amount of time.

The question then is how can your content break through the noise?

Visual Storytelling is a powerful answer that results in greater engagement, traffic and sales.

  1. Photos and images are most important element in optimising social media posts.
  2. 93 percent of most engaging Facebook posts include images.
  3. Videos on Facebook are shared 12 times more than text posts
  4. One-third of online activity is spent watching video
  5. 51% of marketing professionalsworldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
  6. According to a report published by Forrester, including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in click-through rate.

Visual storytelling technique to gain social media traction

  1. Tell your Story with video : Stories are remembered 22 times more than data. Translating stories into videos is like making mini blockbuster movies that people love to share and comment on . Every story has a hero and it is not the brand .

In a classical emotional story telling of how Hyundai cars are long lasting and carry happy memories this video has gathered millions of views . check this out.

  1. Authentic Story Telling : A brand visual story cannot claim something that it is not .  Visual story telling needs to be authentic and connect with the world view of the target audience.

BlendTech is a good example of simple video story telling that went viral and sold the blenders. ‘Will it Blend’ is a classical success story , the blender is powerful what better way to tell the story then demonstrate it can blend anything from marbles to ipad , capture it on video and just put it out there.

Check this

3.Add Value : Content that adds value to your target audience will be  consumed and will keep them engaged . The length of the content is not as important as it’s ability to add value . It is now seen that people watch long form videos on social media as long as it keeps them engaged.

With no fancy videos and marketing Dr Pramod Tripathi has been sharing videos that help diabetes patients to reverse their disease and he gathers a good amount of viewership

4.Protagonist :  Do you have a protagonist , case studies of real people who have experienced your brand and are now your brand ambassadors ?

Land Rover found that there is a city ‘the place where all roads meet’ deep in the Himalayas, and discover why this remote village in the sky is known as the Land of Land Rovers.

Check out the video

  1. Connect Brand Storytelling with Good :

People like to see stories of hope and these stories are shared with friends and family. Stories that touch the heart can get people to open up their purses.

Here is an example of video story telling , Dick’s sporting goods did short movies around coaches that were making a difference , the result has been spectacular . You can check out

Visual Brand Storytelling is the future of marketing and is happening now !

Building Compassionate Leaders My Lessons at Mastek

In a world that is driven by ‘Greed’ and focus on ‘Self’, I was fortunate to work in an  organization and under leaders who are driven by values and ‘respect for individual’. I got an opportunity to co-found Mastek Foundation along with Ashank Desai a stalwart of the IT industry in my very early days in the organisation. One of the objectives of creating Mastek Foundation was to sensitise and engage Mastekeers with the community. Over the past 18 years I have learnt a few lessons on Compassionate Leadership at Mastek which I would like to share.

  1. It All Begins at the Top.

I have had the fortune of working closely with Ashank and Sudhakar and also interact with Sundar and Ketan. All four founders are first generation entrepreneurs and IIM graduates. The values Mastek holds flows directly from all four of them, the simplicity, the humbleness, the respect for people and values of honesty and ethics flows from them. Mastek has a deep and unique culture which is people friendly and there is a term referred by Ex-Mastekeers ‘Once a Mastekeer , Always a Mastekeer.’

One cannot impose culture and it does not begin at the bottom , culture flows when leaders walk the talk ! 

  1. Support for the Community is not a Tick Mark 

Long before the CSR act came into place we had Mastek Foundation and we were engaging with the community. Recently when based on the CSR act we could have reduced the annual budgets of Mastek Foundation I got a message that the board took a call to continue supporting the community at similar levels irrespective of the funds mandated by the act.

We continue to invest is supporting initiatives like ‘IT for NGOs’ supporting capability building at NGOs though not part of CSR act. We continue with initiatives in the campuses to mentor youth to build IT solutions for non profits through ‘Project Deep Blue’ again not part of the CSR act.

Community engagement at Mastek is not a tick mark activity it is part of the culture of who we are.

  1. Engage , Engage, Engage

Over the past 18 years we constantly worked at engaging Mastekeers with the community , we call community leaders to talk to Mastekeers , we organise fundraisers , we mentor students at campuses , we help Non Profits build IT solutions , we have an active payroll giving . There is no short cut to engaging employees with the community.

The result is over 80 % of our employees are part of the payroll giving program compared to the industry standard of 15% to 20%. This has taken time and effort, but it produces results.

  1. Put your money first

When we ask Mastekeers to give we at many times run a 100% matching contribution from Mastek . This motivates employees to give when they know that their contribution would have a multiplier impact.

Adding a matching grant from the organisation always works.

  1. Contribute skills

For a software engineer, it is best that he contributes his IT skills. We have a unique mentoring program for college students this is called ‘Project Deep Blue’. Every year students are mentored over a period of 4 months by Mastekeers to build real life working solutions for Non-Profits. This is a win-win solution on all sides , last year we had over 800 students from 18 colleges participate in ‘Project Deep Blue’.

Rather than volunteer for feel good it would make sense to volunteer for real impact. Contributing skills leads to real impact. 

  1. Build solutions for a busy executive 

We work in an industry where there are tough project timelines, we explored the possibility for busy executives to contribute from wherever they at the time of their convinience . The idea of ‘Social Champions’ was born. In todays connected world every Millennial has a Facebook and Instagram page, it is time they have a ‘Krama’ page.

On this ‘Karma’ page an individual can choose the cause/ NGO they wish to support and declare a goal for fundraising. They can then use their special days like birth days , anniversaries or any special occasion to fundraise for their chosen cause. They can customise the page , their message , share on social media even invite their friends to volunteer for projects they are supporting.

GivNow a division of Benow a digital payment start-up incubated by Mastek launched a low cost fundraiser and donor engagement platform for NGOs during Daan Utsav in Oct 2017.  In a short span of time over 300 NGOs are already on the platform.  Now leveraging our employee engagement experience at Mastek and digital payments experience at Benow we are providing the platform free of cost to all Corporates.

Our vision is that even if 1% of the employees at corporates takes up to becoming Social Champions we would help create more compassionate leaders in the corporate world. This in turn will help to grow retail giving in India which is the need of the hour.

Compassionate leaders make business sense as they have a quality ‘empathy’ and they go beyond ‘self’ they are able to inspire teams around them this has a positive impact on the organisation culture and performance.

7 steps to build retail donor community for your NGO.


Many NGOs that I have interacted with mention that they do not have any retail donor database. It looks much easier to put in efforts on a few HNIs or CSR funds. The problem is most of the CSR and HNI funds are focused on a few large NGOs and many Organisations have their own foundations which are directly supporting communities. A large number of small but good NGOs thus get starved of funds. The other problem is if there is too much dependency on a few large donors if anyone suddenly shuts the tap for any reason the NGO program is left in lurch and this has adverse impact on beneficiaries.

Unlike in the US where a large percentage of donations for NGOs comes from retail donors in India it is the reverse. This needs to change. The question is, how does one go about this? This looks like a lot of effort and there is no dedicated person for retail fundraising / marketing communications in many NGOs. Investing in fundraising is viewed as like an unnecessary expense rather than an investment as this is not backed by the large donors.

Yet with some very simple steps every NGO can build a community of retail donor base (I would like to call them friends of the NGO)

1. Build a community

Retail donor base is essential as a community connect, even if a few large donors can take care of most of the funding requirements it is essential for every NGO to build a community of like-minded supporters for their cause. Every problem that exist in a community whether it is slums, education, poverty or environmental issue is a community problem. The community needs to own the problem. The attitude to building a donor base is to involve and build friends and supporters community around your cause and the NGO.

2. Start with the founders, board members , staff and trustees

When an NGO tells me that they do not have any donor database I am surprised. If you open the contacts on anyone’s phone today, there will be at least 100 close acquaintances in the list. One can start there, start by telling them what you do. Every staff member, trustee, board member is a first connect for building the friends / supporter donor base.

3. Structure your donor base for engagement

Everyone who has ever donated to your NGO is a potential life-long donor. How do you stay in touch? do you know the birthdays, special days of your donors? Do you reach out to the donors at regular intervals? Think of every donor as a lifelong community member and supporter for your NGO. Then structure an engagement program around that.

4. Use platforms and technology

There is no way you can build a donor engagement program without the use of technology. Start with Excel sheets if you cannot afford a CRM, today there are many open source CRMs available for free, you could use anyone of them. You can use free tools like mail chimp for emails.

5. Integrate fundraising campaigns and website donate button

It is important that all databases get centrally stored for better and systematic engagement in the future. GivNow was built to integrate fundraiser campaigns and website donations with ease on a single platform.

6. Invest in social media marketing

One can reach potential donors through social media marketing, this is a powerful tool that needs to be leveraged. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp each one of them offers a way to reach out to potential donors. You need to have a plan backed by investment ,this is where retail donations help as they are not tied to specific projects.

7. Leverage volunteers

Building a strong volunteers network helps to build community connect. Provide platforms and tools to volunteers to champion for the NGO and raise funds. GivNow is investing in building online platforms for NGOs to leverage their volunteer network to do fundraising for NGOs.

Building a donor database needs effort and focus, if one has a long-term approach to building a community of friends that supports the NGO this is not an impossible task. It is important to start with investing in a dedicated resource if one needs to succeed in building a retail community of friends network.

Fundraising for your NGO ? Think Story !

You stay in a remote part of India, it monsoon time , it rains for a couple of hours and you are cut off from the world and you need to reach the only doctor who is miles away but there is no transport. This is reality in Melghat, a tribal area at the northern extreme of the Amravati district of Maharashtra, on the border of Madhya Pradesh. Dr Ashish Satav and his wife Dr Kavita Satav  have dedicated their life to work full time for the heathcare of tribals in Melghat.

I experienced the difficult conditions in which the doctors operate, a few years back when I planned a visit to Melghat I had to return back as the area got cut off during the monsoons. On the way back I decided to do a fundraiser for an ambulance for Mahan Trust the NGO run by Dr Satav.

When I returned back to Mumbai I shared the story of how I was unable to reach Mahan trust at Melghat with Mastek employees , I shared the pictures and I shared the extreme sacrifice of the doctor couple to serve poor tribals , I asked them to join in contributing to help Dr Satav in his work by raising funds for an ambulance . It took only 3 days and over 500 employees contributed Rs 7.5 lacs ! All I did was share the story as it was with pictures of water flowing over the only connecting road.

1.Connect to the heart 

Over the years I have learnt that when it comes to giving we need to move from connecting to the head to connecting to the heart . And I have also learnt the most powerful stories that move come from the field , from close to the ground, from beneficiaries. Every beneficiary has a story to tell.

2. Connect with Visual Storytelling

We also know that one picture is more powerful than a thousand words , in a busy world people have short attention spans. In the digital world video is the most powerful medium of telling your story , over 80% of the online traffic today is videos. Real pictures/ videos ,not stock shots that tell the story are powerful tools to cut through the clutter on social media.The above picture of river overflowing was all that I needed to share my story . No fancy camera just clicked on my mobile phone.

3. Hire a good Communications Specialist

Visual storytellings is critical for retail fundraising for NGOs, unfortunately many NGOs lack resources with this skill. In case an NGO cannot employ a full time communication specialist It would be advisable to seek external freelance professional help for the same. Story sharing is important not just for fundraising but to build communities of supporters.

4. Have a clear defined ask

A fundraiser story needs to close with an ask , unless you ask you will not let the reader know what is expected of him/her. Make the ask specific , like I did with the ambulance . Make it easy so most donors can contribute, so we had defined amounts like Rs 500 , Rs 1000 or any amount of choice.If the ask is too big it will miss out on most of the donors. At the same time do not give too many options as this confuses the donors.

5. Share your stories 

Beyond just fundraising stories need to be told and stories need to be shared to build a network of connected individuals who relate to the cause of the NGO. This is the first step to building champions for the cause.Champions can support future fundraisers.

6. Work to build a connected community 

I have heard many small and even some large NGOs share that they do not have a retail donor database .”We are very small ” , “Can you get us donors?” is the question I face many times from Non Profits. What needs to be understood is that unless individuals do not relate they will not connect and they will not contribute to the cause. And there are no short cuts, one needs to put in sustained efforts to build a connected community of supporters for the cause.

7. Have a plan, stick to the plan

Even if there is no database one can start sharing stories that connect within personal networks of family , friends , trustees , board members and volunteers and ask them to share within their networks. Prepare a plan and work to the plan, should this be done weekly, monthly , build a schedule.

8. Leverage Social Media 

Technology must be leveraged to build a connected community for the cause , this is not sustainable as a manual process. An NGO must have a Facebook page and promote it to build online community. This takes time and effort which is well worth investing , you want to engage a community , build your Tribe.

Internet and Social media has made it possible to reach out globally to Your Tribes , those who believe in your Why every non profit must make use of this opportunity.

For any cause it is important to build a network of good, those who can relate will join the network . It all starts with sharing your story.