Social media has become one of the most powerful ways to raise funds for charity. Using her personal Instagram account, Masha Kravchenko (Subanta) has become a leading volunteer raising funds to give hope and recovery to many children and today has a following of 40k people.
Kind Luxury is pleased to share with you the philanthropic journey of an incredible woman, who decided to step down from her successful banking career to found "Klub Dobryakov" (The Club of Kind People) and is currently setting up her own charity foundation in Russia.
|Masha Kravchenko (Subanta)|
|Mother, Wife and Philanthropist|
|I don't have one and never wanted one. I guess everyone is different.|
QUOTE YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE BY
|Success is not final, failure is not fatal. The only important thing is to be strong and don't give up. - Winston Churchill|
From a young age you have been exposed to philanthropic activities, it seems philanthropy is in your blood?
I always liked to help people but my true inspiration was my father as he was always actively involved in charitable activities such as developing programmes to integrate people with disabilities into society and helping low income families.
For me, the turning point was when I became a mother and I started to help out with a lot of fundraising activities, giving administrative support and beginning my own fundraising events via social media.
Through this I got to know a many new people among them other volunteers, doctors and foundation staff.
You set up The Club of Kind People "Klub Dobryakov" what inspired you to do this?
I was helping a girl from my hometown who needed complicated orthopaedic surgery where the relevant specialist surgeon was based in Germany. Together with a big group we were able to raise the money to help her.
This created a momentum where I started helping other children in desperate need of specialist medical treatment.
With the amazing response that I have received from incredible individuals, who were keen to help, the "Klub Dobryakov" came about. The name was actually suggested by one of my Instagram followers.
Since then, the Club has become a big and important part of my life.
You prefer doing your fundraising through Instagram. Why did you choose this social network?
I was very active on Instagram before so I decided to try out this platform for fundraising.
I started to raise funds when I had fewer than 200 followers who were my personal contacts. With time, the number of my followers increased because people heard about me and the work that I do.
Today a lot of people ask me how to promote their Instagram profile, but I don’t have the right answer.
You need to write interesting and honest things and people will follow you.
Meet your followers in person and share the details of who you help.
How can your Instagram followers make donations?
For someone looking to start fundraising on any social media the approach always depends on what your aims are. Do you want their long-term commitment or is it just a one-off fundraising activity?
I prefer to build a long-term relationship and I never push anyone to give.
It is important to me that doing good comes from the heart not because of feelings of guilt or fear. It is so important to be transparent and share follow-ups on those children that the Club has already helped. It is important to show that their help has a purpose, and then their wish to help will come back again and again.
How do you raise and allocate funds to ensure the money arrives at the right place?
As the Klub Dobraykov is not yet a foundation (but I do hope in Autumn 2017 we will finish the registration), the money raised goes directly to the accounts of the parents of the sick children or to the hospitals.
The donor can decide whether they want to transfer money directly to the parents’ account or to the hospital.
I always support and monitor the money transfer closely to ensure the full funds are received as planned with reports on funds received completed on a daily basis.
When we publish information about the child that needs help we also publish the account number of the hospital if they can accept a large number of small donations between 50-100 EUR.
When the fundraising closes, we create the final report. If the received money exceeds the required amount, then this money is sent to the next child waiting in line. As soon as the hospital receives the full payment the date of the treatment is set which we then share with the Club.
In your opinion what is the secret of success of the Klub Dobryakov?
I think this question needs to be asked to those that follow us.
I can only assume that I create a collaborative environment where I try to respond to each and every message received.
It is also key that I personally manage my Instagram account, optimise it and do the fundraising directly on my personal profile.
The profile @masha_subanta was and is personal, with my family photos, my thoughts and information about my charitable activities. As it is all part of my life I do not want to separate it.
What advice would you give to a person just starting on their philanthropic journey?
You can’t force others to save someone or even to make someone happy. In my case, it is very important to speak to doctors and not only to listen to parents but to take the decisions without emotions.
Those that do fundraising should have a calm character.
Many people want to save lives but there are also a lot of administrative aspects involved such as documentation, reporting and communicating to various stakeholders.
It is important that you work in a team to split the responsibilities otherwise you could have an emotional burnout.
Of course you also have to have thick skin as having a sick child can bring up a lot of emotions.
A mother of one child told me once after all was over the following: “It felt like it wasn’t really me, my brain was like in a fog“.
It can also happen that you attract individuals that would like to benefit financially from you without actually needing the help so I ask everyone doing fundraising to be vigilant.
It is important to remember that to hear a ‘Thank you’ for what you do is rare and should never be expected to avoid disappointment.
Could you share with us the most memorable moment of your philanthropic journey?
It is difficult to say. All situations are challenges for me, which I need to solve and then move on to next ones. It is always non-stop.
What does your day look like?
I wake up and take my daughter to school and my son to the kindergarten and then I work on reporting on the donations received.
After breakfast I focus on administrative tasks or I visit kids in the hospitals or rehab facilities and speak to doctors before my own kids get back home.
In between, I respond to Instagram messages, speak to volunteers in our Club’s chat room and plan the next steps for our fundraising activities. In the evening, when my kids are at home, it is important for me to spend time with them.