Yaroslav Sovetkin: "To help others, you have to want to do something.

11 march 2022

In our March interview published under the heading of "About People and Good Deeds", Yaroslav Sovetkin, head of industry sales at Medicine SIBUR LLC, discusses his cooperation with the "Doing Good Together" charitable foundation, intellectual volunteering, and helping stray animals.

Yaroslav, how did it all begin?

Together with my friends we took part in the
Leaders of Russia contest. We made it to the superfinal, prior to which all participants were required to come up with and implement a social initiative. At the contest, I got to know my colleagues from other companies:, Sberbank, and AFK Sistema. We got together and decided to do something useful for society. Our first idea was to create a crowdfunding platform. I then talked to an acquaintance of mine from the public welfare sector to understand whether there was a need for that. I was told that crowdfunding platforms always helps charitable foundations. So, we decided to proceed down that path. And then, the next and most interesting question came up: "Who do we help? "

How did you decide on whom to help?

I had once participated in a project called
Meet for Charity. We decided to go to their website to find a foundation that helps homeless animals. That’s how our cooperation with the "Doing Good Together" Foundation got started: we got to know the guys through social media, learned about the foundation's activities and shared our crowdfunding idea with them. And then an interesting thing happened: the foundation gave us a specific request to help develop a corporate fundraising strategy. As a result, we ended up developing a smart, or intellectual volunteering , project.

What does the Doing Good Together Foundation do?

In the case of the Doing Good Together Foundation, the principle thing is outreach. Say, you know that there is a stray cat living in the hallway of your block of flats and it needs treatment. Who is going to pay for that? You register yourself and the cat on the platform and raise funds to pay for its treatment. Then you can use the same platform to place the cat in a family, and it will go on to live at someone else's home.

"Doing Good Together" is not a foundation that just collects funds and passes them straight on to beneficiaries. Rather, they are more of a marketplace (an optimized online platform for providing products or services, Ed.) of charitable services with rigorous checks and verification of everyone who needs help. They strive to make sure that there are no intermediaries between the donor and the beneficiary. The foundation connects people.

What the foundation is particularly serious about, and that is what appeals to me personally as someone with a background in auditing, is that they really check all the volunteers who take stray animals, including where and how they spend the funds. Right down to asking them to provide their copies of receipts. This is a guarantee that the money was indeed used to help a specific cat, that the animal was washed, treated and placed in good hands.

What has your team managed to accomplish so far?

Our team talked to various companies and analyzed what those companies do in the field of charity. We conducted a series of interviews with representatives of the public welfare sector, those who have been professionally involved in this sphere for a long time. As a result, we managed to collect information on what the corporate world does to provide its support and what the foundation should pay attention to, what it can work with.

One of the interesting takeaways from our analysis is that any company should be considered first of all as a useful source of information. Companies have employees who are often involved in some projects and want to know who else they can help. And in this case their company can act as a kind of charity mouthpiece, and this can be put to good use.

Had you done any volunteering before you entered in the Leaders of Russia contest and started your cooperation with the Doing Good Together Foundation?

I had. I had been involved in targeted assistance to shelters for homeless animals. Sometimes I also took part in raising funds for buying animal feeds. That’s one of the reasons I got so interested in the "Doing Good Together" Foundation since they have made their donation mechanism very transparent. In addition, I had also taken part in activities of the Meet for Charity project that I have already mentioned.

What drives you personally to help homeless animals?

– I just love animals, and that is why I had been helping specialized shelters even before I started working with the "Doing Good Together" Foundation. This is something personal I have in me, I guess.

Do you need to have any special skills to help someone?

In order to start helping others, you must first of all have the desire to do something, make a difference. So, this is primarily a matter of willingness, not of individual skills or talents. You have to want to do something first. Your abilities, skills, etc. will follow.

What are your plans for your further cooperation with the "Doing Good Together" Foundation and your cause of intellectual volunteering?

We will continue working with the foundation. It is obvious that a good strategy cannot be developed in under two weeks. We will continue keeping in touch with employees of various companies and with the "Doing Good Together" Foundation to make our strategy viable. We also intend to continue our involvement in intelligent volunteering. We have people representing different industries in our team, and that is why we were able to collect our unique information fairly quickly. We understand that other non-profit organizations also face difficulties finding information, and that they cannot afford to pay for it. That’s why I'm sure that what we do will be in demand.

Find out more about the work of the charitable "Doing Good Together" Foundation on its official website at

In case you missed our past issues with interviews:

  • Mikhail Chetvertakov: "There is no point demanding things, one just needs to establish proper cooperation instead”.
  • Yevgeniya Medvedeva: "Volunteering is a way to develop.
  • Galina Tkachenko: “It is essential to be united to do as much good as possible in this world”
  • Yana Prikhodko: "It’s an inner calling when values start to resonate within you and compel you to act”.
  • Svetlana Kulakova: "The key thing in conservation projects is to love one’s homeland”.
  • Alla Umetskaya: "The grant contest is an opportunity to try oneself as a miracle worker”
  • Svetlana Grigoriyeva: “The only secret of success is trust”.