Information for Volunteers
What do we do?
Asha Houston Chapter strives to provide financial aid to grass-root educational movements in India. Every year we select diverse projects from the pool of proposals we receive from various sources like Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in India, other Asha chapters and non-profits organizations working on similar issues and direct contacts.
How can I help?
Asha Houston welcomes service-minded individual willing dedicate some time towards our mission. Volunteers can commit to as low as 2 hours/week (attending our meetings and helping with project vetting) or dedicate as many hours as would suit their schedules. There are two facets to the functioning of Asha Houston – fundraising and managing projects. Volunteers can choose to work on either or both of these aspects:
- Organize Fundraisers and Awareness Events
Asha Houston is able to support projects in India due to having an active donor base and fundraisers. Help us plan and organize fund raising and awareness events. We are always looking to try new things at our existing events or coming up with completely new events!
- Steward Projects
Project stewards are at the very heart of the projects process at Asha. Within the Asha Houston group, they are the ones who are the most knowledgeable about, and sensitive to, the specific projects that Asha partners with.
How does Asha Houston support projects?
The decision to fund a project is a multi-stage process based on a thorough evaluation of the project involving the following steps:
- Project Proposal: After receiving an initial request from the project partner, we ask them to fill out a detailed form which consists of several questions about the project, the organization running the project and expected outcome/impact of the work.
- Preliminary Vetting: Once the chapter receives a detailed project proposal, the Project Coordinators do the preliminary vetting of the projects to check if the project qualifies as a potential project that can be funded by Asha Houston, ensuring that it satisfy our guidelines.
- Assigning Stewards: The next step, after the project is deemed fundable by Asha, is to assign two Asha Houston volunteers to serve as the primary and secondary stewards for the project. They function as the liaisons between the project partner and Asha Houston. The stewards are responsible for going through the project material in detail and get sufficient information from the project partner to be able to present the project to the entire group for further evaluation.
- Project Evaluation: Asha Houston has a two-step process in evaluating projects. The first step involves the stewards presenting the project to the Projects Committee and Projects Coordinators. After a thorough evaluation of the project based on the available information, the Project Committee decides on whether the project can be considered for funding.
- Site Visit: Before approval of the project for funding, a trusted party performs and documents a site visit of the project. Due to the time involved in obtaining a site visit, frequently this step is pursued in parallel to the following steps, but funds are not disbursed until a site visit is complete.
- Chapter Vote: After the project is approved by the Projects Committee and a site visit has been obtained, the stewards then present it to the entire group to get a funding approval. The decision to approve funding for a project at Asha Houston is completely democratic process. The general rule is a quorum of 5 and 2/3rd majority. We vote to fund or decline. If we are funding, then we vote to fund in full or part. It is expected that those who vote be familiar with both the particular project in question and the general funding philosphy of Asha Houston. Based on the group’s decision, the stewards will occasionally need to obtain additional information before funds are disbursed.
- Funding Disbursal: Funds are transfered to the project partner in India through Asha Central after a series of checklists at both chapter and Central are fulfilled.
|Project approved||X||This timeline assumes a one-year project lifecycle.|
|Project steward keeps in touch with the project through main contact person and updates project/core team on progress/issues.||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Update wiki||X||Catalog documents from projects such as pictures, grade sheets, funding utilization summaries, etc. to track progress.|
|6 monthly update received from project and presented to group||X|
|Site visit for the next funding cycle||X||Site visit must be done before cycle for next funding round and must be less than 12 months old.|
|If project needs funding for next cycle, get renewal project proposal form completed.||X||It is responsibility of Project steward to make sure this cycle starts on time, else project funding for next cycle will get delayed.|
|Send the feedback form and get it completed||X||X|
|If renewal project, start cycle with projects team||X|
|Complete the cycle for renewal project||X|
|Send the money for next cycle||X|