How a team of young marketers are working for the greater good, 1SmallStep at a time


The 1SmallStep Foundation has successfully executed 35-40 projects including distribution of high quality raincoats to 600 children suffering from cancer to raising money for the education of 120 students in a village.

A somewhat stereotypical representation of Marketers has been that of a bunch of individuals who sit in a room discussing the right marketing mix and what can be the next point of customer penetration. But, what happens when a bunch of top-notch marketing minds decide to mesh their skills for social good? The results can be surreal yet incredible.

It was a meeting with Nipun Mehta of ServiceSpace that inspired Rohan Bhansali to start the 1SmallStep Foundation – a social organisation that partners with non-profits and other social organisations in identification, research and execution of high impact social projects. While there are many who want to extend their deeds to do good for the society, they are often not sure if the time or money they contribute reaches the right cause.  Rohan , who also heads the digital media agency- Gozoop, wanted to provide a reliable channel for enabling the inherent goodness in people by presenting well researched projects, rather than just vaguely stating and pondering on the problem.

Team Gozoop works beyond their office hours for 1SmallStep, contributing for at least one good cause every month. Being selective about the projects being taken up, they particularly focus on areas where NGOs face difficulties in getting support. After identifying a specific problem area, an evaluation is always done to ensure if they are the right people to undertake it. “If it is something extremely technical, we might not be the right people for it. But if it has something to do with marketing, fundraising, strategizing and so on, we take it up”, says Rohan.

Rohan Bhansali, Founder – 1SmallStep

Intensive research is done to track bottlenecks. An impact analysis is done and an end to end plan is then charted out. This eventuates in the launching of innovative campaigns, thus providing everyone with opportunities to contribute in whatever small ways they can. In comparison with profit maximization in business, here the objective is impact maximization.

As on last year, the foundation successfully executed 35-40 projects ranging from big to small, in areas of education, animals, health & nutrition. Thoughtful actions and a keen eye for seemingly small details made big positive differences. In one of their projects, the team distributed high quality raincoats to 600 children suffering from cancer. The children, whose immunity is already weakened by effects of chemotherapy, are exposed to additional risks of health complications in the form of water borne diseases like cholera and jaundice. Parents from low income families completely involve themselves in gathering money for treatments. In the process, they tend to cut corners on things that they feel are non-critical, not realizing the repercussions. The foundation arranged for the raincoats after negotiating a good rate from a manufacturer and the quality was also approved by the pediatric division of a leading government hospital for cancer treatment.

1SmallStep partnered with an Indian crowd funding platform to raise funds for a school bus in a village where children were unable to get quality education due to the problem of logistics. The 2017 LI Digital Award winning campaign, #GetOnTheBus managed to raise 25 lakhs within 10 days, thereby opening the pages of education to 120 students. A powerful video they put forth resonated with the masses and was picked up by social media, resulting in donations from all over the world. Zero budget marketing is what makes these campaigns even more special. A combination of radio, online publications, blogs, digital influencers, print and social media plays a crucial role in garnering the maximum possible attention required for any particular project.

The experience gained from working in fields of investment banking and digital media proved extremely helpful for Rohan. And it is this experience and an understanding to take a constructive action for the society led him to take this small yet gigantic step in its own right. “Generosity is not a retirement plan and we need not wait to be rich or old to give back to society. It is also not about changing the world but changing ourselves for the better, through ways big or small”, emphasizes Rohan before signing off.

You can know more about one 1SmallStep by visiting there Facebook page.

RESHMI NAIR | TOC

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