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How can Student Microfinance Clubs Help Scale Microfinance in the U.S. through Partnerships with Microenterprise Development Organizations such as ACCION USA?
Report to ACCION USA
Linda Peng Faculty Advisor: Dr. Lori Leachman August 2010 1
Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Table of Contents Table of Contents....................................................................................................... 2 Acknowledgments......................................................................................................3 Summary of Summer Internship Tasks ......................................................................4 Preface.......................................................................................................................5 Research Methodology...............................................................................................6 Background: U.S. Microenterprise Facts and Figures.................................................7 Market Research Findings .......................................................................................11 Student Microfinance Initiative Types.......................................................................11 A) Completely student-led, university-recognized student clubs...........................12 B) Organizations that operate “off-campus” as non-university recognized studentled non-profits....................................................................................................... 13 Organizations that are primarily student-led but guided by full-time faculty advisors. ............................................................................................................... 13 B. Summary of Student Microfinance Initiative Achievements.................................15 Students as Service Providers to Local Entrepreneurs .........................................15 (2) Students as Fund Raisers................................................................................21 (3) Students Supporting Entrepreneurs Abroad.....................................................21 SNAPSHOT – Students Supporting Microentrepreneurs Abroad..........................22 (4) Students Consulting MFIs or non-profits..........................................................22 (5) Students Hosting Conferences on Campus......................................................23 III. ACCION USA-Student Club Partnership Potential Discussion...............................23 The Challenges of Engagement................................................................................25 I. Summary of Market Research Findings.................................................................26 Findings from Survey................................................................................................27 A.Student Demographics....................................................................................27 Student Commitment to Clubs...........................................................................30 Student Motivation ............................................................................................31 Club Activities.................................................................................................... 32 Needs and Values...............................................................................................33 Potential for Engagement...................................................................................35 Summary of Survey Findings ................................................................................37 How can Students Help Scale Microfinance in the U.S. through partnerships with MDOs such as ACCION USA?.....................................................................................37 2 Students and U.S. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA
Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Conclusions and Recommendations to ACCION USA for Engagement .....................37 The ACCION USA-Student Partnership Model........................................................40 The Website.......................................................................................................42 The Campaigns.................................................................................................. 43 A.Summary of Potential Values Added by Partnership Program............................47 Recommended Partnerships with Non-Student Organizations .............................48 Campus Kiva......................................................................................................48 MoreMarbles.com ..............................................................................................48 MFIConnect........................................................................................................48 Gumball Capital..................................................................................................48 $2 Dollar Challenge............................................................................................49 ACCION International .........................................................................................49 Catchafire...........................................................................................................49 Best Practices from Other Student Programs........................................................49 LearnVest Ambassador Program........................................................................49 DoSomething.org...............................................................................................49 Grameen U.........................................................................................................50 The One Campaign.............................................................................................50 Final Table of Findings and Recommendations.....................................................51
Thanks go to the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and the corresponding individuals within it – Professor Alma Blount, first, for invoking within all of us in her Spring 2010 seminar questions of “border crossing” – and to Dr. Lori Leachman, who began advising me on this project in the Spring and has continued 3 Students and U.S. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA
Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) to be a source of motivation and wisdom for me this summer. Thanks also go to Professor David Guy at Sanford for wisely and patiently responding to all my “letters home,” and to Alejandro Martinez – my contact person at the Duke IRB – who helped me put together a good first standardized research proposal in May. My summer experience would not have been possible without the welcome from the staff at ACCION USA. My gratitude goes especially to Erica Dorn for her enthusiasm and her patience; to Jim Moore, Elizabeth Garlow, Paul Quinteros, Elenor Denkor, Laura Kozien, and Ashley Wessier for their time and expertise; and to my fellow interns at ACCION USA (Annie, Amelie, Cesar, Keith, Andrea, Philip, Jill, Jackie, Collette, Natalie, Nancy!) whose camaraderie made my summer. To the Student Partnerships Project team at the Microfinance Council (Erica, John, Suzanne, Erin, Devin, Igor, Annie, Jim, Amelie) - you rock! Thank you for the experience of brainstorming with me through the implementation of this project. Here in this report is a significant part of the market research. I apologize for the delay. Finally, I applaud the students and faculty members who have taken the potential for engagement within the microfinance sphere and made it their own. Thank you for being so inspiring.
Summary of Summer Internship Tasks
Electronically surveyed 86 individuals involved in 28 different student microfinance organizations Interviewed one manager of a small business, representatives from 13 student organizations, and representatives from 4 potential partner organizations for ACCION USA’s student program Observed operations with clients at The Elmseed Enterprise Fund (Yale) and The Intersect Fund (Rutgers) Attended the Microfinance USA 2010 conference in San Francisco in May and wrote up an eleven-page summary of takeaway points Met with the Microfinance Council and designed an internal Google site for Microfinance Council members and interns to collaborate on the work to launch ACCION USA’s student partnerships project Designed the first look of ACCION USA’s website for students, which features multimedia pulled from YouTube and slideshare, a forum, areas for ACCION USA to upload documents about its student campaigns, and a clear way for students to get involved. The website can be found at www.studentsforaccion.org. Wrote a final report to ACCION USA that summarized my findings and included final recommendations for engaging students in U.S. microfinance
Students and U.S. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA
Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010)
"The synergies seem natural—students have a local presence, talented training pools, resources, and the ability to raise awareness both on and off campus settings, while many professional microenterprise development organizations have experience and capacity in areas such as lending and servicing. What will incentivize both students and MDOs to work in concert rather than in parallel? The first step is better awareness of this alliance of student groups among microenterprise development organizations, and an articulation of the benefits the student groups bring to the table. The second will be finding opportunities where both sides can have their needs met." - Luz Gomez and Elaine Edgcomb, 1 October 2009 Much of the inspiration for ACCION USA’s student partnership explorations comes from Elaine Edgcomb and Luz Gomez's June 2009 FIELD paper: "Can Student-run Microfinance Organizations Help Address Issues of Scale and Sustainability in the U.S. Domestic Microenterprise Industry?" Edgcomb and Gomez visited The Intersect Fund near Rutgers and The Elmseed Enterprise Fund near Yale, interviewed representatives of five additional programs, and electronically surveyed another 16. They followed up their research paper with a conference in October 2009, which brought eight student microfinance organizations together for a conference hosted at Rutgers University. Edgcomb and Gomez’s main findings included the following:
Student organizations' capacity to deliver training and technical assistance is high due to easy access to talent and to university and community resources, and is higher than their capacity to lend. Students' potential for mobilizing student engagement and community involvement is high. “New student initiatives are informally learning from earlier efforts and innovating. Several have voiced an interest in a more formal exchange, and in the possibility of a hub to provide services to support other similar programs regionally or nationally, providing a common infrastructure and professional leadership.” (Edgcomb and Luz 2009)
When I initially approached Erica Dorn at ACCION USA about completing a community-based research project in microfinance, I had no idea that I was about to embark on a research project about students. It was not immediately obvious to me that this research topic could be viewed as “border crossing” work, a theme
Edgcomb, E. and Gomez, L. (2009). “Can Student-run Microfinance Organizations Help Address Issues of Scale and Sustainability in the U.S. Domestic Microenterprise Industry?” Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, and Dissemination (FIELD).
Students and U.S. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA
I thought initially. and the MFIConnect. In my e-mails. Both anxieties. I explained my research and the opportunity for four randomly selected participants from the 2 At The Intersect Fund. CT.e. Thanks to the wonders of technology (i. after I discovered the incredible potential of students who were already freely volunteering their time to support microfinance. I ended up scheduling interviews and receiving comments from students and faculty members working across the field in both domestic and international microfinance. I believe that my success in getting more responses than I had expected can be attributed not so much to the wording of my unsolicited e-mails (though having the backing of an official IRB-approved format certainly helped). In June. but to the direct passion and generosity of the individuals who were intrigued by my research – and curious about each other. I spoke to Elmseed’s first summer manager (a student). and potentially not checking their school e-mail accounts. I listened closely to the panel on student-led microfinance initiatives and talked informally with some students about their involvement in microfinance.2 In July. NJ and the other at The Elmseed Enterprise Fund in New Haven. was to assess the “opportunities and challenges” for student-led microfinance initiatives on campuses in the United States. fortunately. Facebook stalking. The conference was very much a learning experience. introducing me to the emerging innovations and challenges of the domestic microenterprise field. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . 6 Students and U. Google.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) emphasized by my Service Opportunities in Learning class that was providing me with my research grant. busy with internships. I changed the focus of my research question to reflect the larger one posed in the title of this paper. Research Methodology I began my community-based research project by attending the Microfinance USA 2010 Conference in San Francisco in May. I wondered: how could their energy be channeled to support the domestic microenterprise industry in specific. however. I started focusing heavily on obtaining responses to my survey3 to past and present members of student microfinance clubs. In addition.org forum).S. I spoke to one of the co-founders of the organization (a recent graduate). proved to be unfounded. At The Elmseed Enterprise Fund. My job. I was a little worried about the inherent risk involved in designing a research project around students over the summer: students are often abroad. I observed operations at each site and interviewed managers of the program there. My research question evolved. I conducted two site visits: one at The Intersect Fund in New Brunswick. and what are the potential values added to both players in an ACCION USA-student partnership program? Mid-June.
3 The actual survey can still be found online at http://www.S. “Microenterprise Development in the United States: Current Challenges and New Directions. microenterprises are estimated to make up 88% of all businesses in the United States.9% of American jobs are in microenterprises8 -. is supported by studies done by trade associations such as the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) and the Microenterprise Fund for Innovation. 5 Note: To see all graphs and comments produced from the survey. emerging only in the late 1980s when corporate downsizing. “Microloans as a community reinvestment act compliance strategy. 6 Microenterprises are defined as businesses that can benefit from a loan of under $35.J. only two MP3 players and one gift card were awarded. I was able to canvass 86 responses from 28 schools.” 8 Berkman.com. In addition to my interviews with The Intersect Fund and The Elmseed Enterprise Fund.7 The importance of the existence of MDOs. 7 Students and U. and Dissemination (FIELD). 13 student microfinance club leaders. Effectiveness.000 and have five or fewer employees 7 Servon. MDOs were a force of 84 in number. Since then.and. 9 According to a longitudinal study of microentrepreneurs in 1998.S.” New York University Journal of Law. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . according to a data sheet published by the AEO in 2008. ACCION USA Manager of Volunteer Partnerships) or two $15 gift cards from amazon.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) first pool of 100 respondents to win one of two MP3 players (donated by Erica Dorn. the force had grown to over 550. Throughout July and August. 17.tinyurl. 5 Background: U. For all survey data and access to the pivot table. I interviewed one manager of a small business. 4 Ultimately.000 to small enterprises with five or fewer employees – has risen as well. by 2002. Lisa . I also focused on scheduling interviews with representatives from different organizations. two CEO/Founders of online platforms that utilize student volunteers. in addition. changing demographics. (2006). In 1992. the number of microenterprise development organizations (MDOs) – or non-profits that typically provide business training and business loans under $35. please see Appendix B. The majority of the interviews were conducted via phone or skype. A master list of my sources can be found in Appendix C. 4 Because there were only 86 participants in the end. Emily (2006).com/studentmicrofinancemembers. please see Appendix A (Parts I and II). and an emerging interest in self-employment combined to augment the number of microenterprises in the United States6. and four faculty-advised student microfinance initiatives. a few of the comments I received were solely over e-mail. Microenterprise Facts and Figures The microenterprise field in the United States is a relatively new industry.
(2000). The act stipulates that banks must provide adequate access to credit to the lower-income populations in the neighborhoods in which they operate. “With squeeze on credit. Since the recent economic recession. Traditional banks’ reasons for not directly administering a microloan program are understandable. The high administrative costs of issuing a loan.” <http://aeoworks. ACCION USA 8 Students and U. which then take on the risk of disbursing the money to the intended populations.13 Even so. which was enacted by Congress in 1977. or young age of their businesses – look to MDOs to provide the financial services that traditional banks would not provide.” New York Times. anecdotes have pointed to the shortage of available credit for small businesses in the United States and the increasing need and importance of services offered by MDOs like ACCION USA. 11 Lyons. Lisa J. <http://www. If estimates made by FIELD and AEO suggest that “10 million entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs face barriers to accessing mainstream 9 Association for Enterprise Opportunity (2008). however. (2000).html>.S. Jeffrey P. 10 MDOs typically come into play for low-to-moderate-income small business owners who – due to factors such as insufficient credit history due to their immigrant status.pdf> 10 Association for Enterprise Opportunity (2005). “Microenterprise Business Statistics in the United States.” Center for Research on Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development.com/2010/07/29/business/smallbusiness/29sbiz.” <http://aeoworks. Microfinance: Final Report to .Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) the majority of microentrepreneurs in the U. and are minorities. “Microenterprise development in the United States: an overview.pdf>.S. with recommendations to policy makers to incorporate it more fully into their economic development plans. microlending blossoms.” Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship. Thomas S. “Microenterprise and the economic development toolkit: a small part of the big picture. MDOs have been lauded for generating social capital through the networks that they create.11 In addition. In academic research. University of Louisville. and Doshna. are relatively well-educated. 13 Shevory. insufficient loan size requests. Kristina (2010).12 The interesting relationship that exists between many banks and non-profit microlending organizations in the United States is due in large part to the Community Reinvestment Act. questions remain about the scalability of microenterprise in the United States. 12 Servon. low credit scores.org/images/uploads/pages/US-MEBS-2008(1). are comprised of women. “Building social capital for sustainable enterprise development in country towns and regions: successful practices from the United States. Many banks have opted to comply with this act by issuing low-interest loans to CDFI-certified intermediary nonprofit lenders like ACCION USA. coupled with the relatively low return on interest from the small loan sizes and the higher default risk of a lower-income clientele reduces the profitability potential of these engagements.nytimes.org/images/uploads/pages/Fact_sheet_Overview%20of%20US %20micro. academic studies have pointed to microenterprise development as an appropriate economic development strategy for many regions in the United States.
and Gomez.” why are there only a few thousand loans being granted by microlenders in the industry every year?14 Scale. Effectiveness. Cross-Comparison Median Lending Figures (FY2008) Organization # Loans Disbursed Dollars Disbursed ACCION USA* (n=1) 1. and Dissemination.S.S. offers a variety of loan products between $500 and $50. easily one of the largest MDOs in the United States.708 $11.471 (Median) (n=134) (n=131) Source: Dollars for Dreams: Scaling Microlending in the U. and eight times as many loans as the median number of loans disbursed by a sample of five “SCALE Academy” microlenders targeted by FIELD’s report on scaling microfinance. 14 Edgcomb. The latter theme refers to the high administrative costs of servicing a microloan. or the traditional reasons that deter banks from becoming direct microlenders. According to recent survey data captured from 164 U.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) capital and other business development services.471 per year (FY2008). Table 1. and (2) economies in service delivery..S.472 (Median) Microlenders (n=5)** Other Microlenders 12 (Median) $178. <http://fieldus. according to a FIELD publication in May 2010 called “Dollars for Dreams: Scaling Microfinance in the U. the median number of loans disbursed in the industry is 12 loans and $178. J. L.818 SCALE Academy 196 (Median) $1.” has always been a challenge of the domestic microenterprise industry.665. This reported figure from ACCION USA takes into account ACCION New York’s portfolio in 2008..org/Publications/DollarsForDreams. ACCION USA disbursed 142 times as many loans the median number of loans captured by that survey. * ACCION USA merged with ACCION New York in June 2008.” Microenterprise Fund for Innovation. or who become aware of their services through proven outreach strategies (such as referral partnerships with local technical assistance organizations or local banks)” 10 ACCION USA. E. In 2008. The former theme refers to microlending organizations’ market penetration challenges: “As microlenders have grown they have generally reached a plateau in their individual markets.pdf> 9 Students and U. microlenders10. either exhausting the easiest-to-reach entrepreneurs who may be geographically close..355.000 small business owners nationwide since 1991and offered free financial education seminars and online webinars to 14. It has lent over $119 million to over 19.” scale necessitates the achievement of two key themes: (1) increased market penetration.S. Klein. Defined simply as the goal of “serving large numbers of individuals.000. (2010) “Dollars for Dreams: Scaling Microlending in the United States.532 participants since the launch of its financial education program in 2002. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .A.
are now seeking strategies to survive the recession.124 Source: ACCION USA website In its “Dollars for Dreams” report. high administrative costs and low returns on interest maintain the necessity of fundraising for sustainability.857. demand from traditional constituencies has waned as entrepreneurs.355.827. According to FY2008 figures.099.649 629 $4.751 $11. 10 Students and U.708 loans = $5735.968 $6.57. Figures (FY2005-FY2009) Yea r 200 5 200 6 200 7 200 8 200 9 Number of Loans Made 546 934 1. $9. ACCION USA has suffered from understaffing challenges and the recent economic recession. Justine Peterson. In addition. Others chose not to start or continue their businesses in reaction to news about the 15 ACCION USA FY2008 Program Costs = $9. however. Like many of its peers.008 $6.567.818 Average Loan Size $5.57.167 $5. a decrease that can be attributed to the recent economic recession.827.614 $7. Mountain Bizworks. who earlier might have been planning for growth. In some instances.708 Total Amount Lent $2. lenders have experienced shifts in demand that are challenging. FIELD explains the impact of the economic recession on MDOs: “As the crises have worn on.099 ÷ 1.S. and ACCION New Mexico-Arizona-Colorado.15 ACCION USA’s lending numbers have also decreased since 2008.086 1.295. Table 2.479 $5.272 $6.734. These numbers come from ACCION USA’s Form 990. Opportunity Fund. the average cost of administering a loan at ACCION USA – which can be calculated by dividing Program Costs by the Number of Loans Disbursed in that year – was $5753.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) **FIELD’s “Scale Academy” microlenders identified by these numbers are ACCION USA. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .
” 10 According to the FIELD report. finding new clients who can manage debt successfully has been a challenge. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . Although inquiries are up. and coaching microentrepreneurs – have also been prone to being profiled by local and university newspapers. secured loans. 11 Students and U. some of these applicants suffered from deteriorating business cash-flows because of economic conditions or presented credit reports that showed patterns of risky consumer credit management.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) economy. With efforts to expand its financial education program and test out new products such as the green loan. Others have been awarded grants from foundations and sponsorships from corporate donors. The next section delves into a study of what student microfinance organizations are doing today. pre-paid credit cards. The activities that many of the student organizations typically participate in – activities such as fundraising. If students are to help address issues such as market penetration and high service delivery costs for the domestic microenterprise field. Many of the student-led microfinance initiatives featured in this study have been recognized by the Clinton Global Leadership Institute. ACCION USA is no exception to the MDO movement towards greater innovation. On the other hand. the economic recession may have also positively helped create growing awareness of the importance of savings programs. furthermore.S. Although the first microfinance club (The Elmseed Enterprise Fund at Yale) was founded in 2001. Market Research Findings Student Microfinance Initiative Types The youth of the student microfinance initiative movement in the United States is remarkable. and applications increasing. microlenders saw increased inquiries and applications from two sources: entrepreneurs who previously might have been able to secure bank financing. have been impressive. alternative loan products and financial education. however. Although demand from these sources increased. and individuals who had lost their jobs or were looking to create a secondary source of income. participating in the Gumball Challenge or $2 Per Day Challenge. The accolades they’ve received in that short span of time.000 prize from Davis Projects for Peace to establish a microfinance initiative with a partner MFI in Haiti. The effect on Academy microlenders has been that they have had to work harder to make good loans. and loans for women. the majority of the student microfinance clubs in the United States seem to have been founded between 2007 and 2010 – or within the past three years. One recently founded student organization at Washington and Lee University was just granted a $10. then clear expectations of their capacities to support microenterprise development must be discussed.
Soka University of America Microfinance Club Strengths of Type A Clubs: • • Club achievement and entrepreneurial potential is high. student-led microfinance initiatives in the U. Examples: BR Microcapital (Cornell). Microfinance Working Group (Columbia). Duke Microfinance Leadership Initiative. NYU Microfinance Initiative.S. MicrOlin (Washington University in St. student club funds.PROFITS . SEED (University of Virginia). Davidson Microfinance Club.RECOGNIZED STUDENT CLUBS. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .S. NON .UNIVERSITY . Trockman Microfinance Initiative (Indiana University). or working directly with entrepreneurs in their local communities on small-scale coaching or lending projects. Point Loma Nazarene University.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) According to my findings. Louis).RECOGNIZED STUDENT . university-recognized student clubs Category A clubs’ most common activities include fundraising to support microentrepreneurs on KIVA and raising awareness of microfinance on campus by hosting conferences or panel events. Elon Microfinance Initiative. University of Chicago Microfinance Initiative. OWL Microfinance (Rice). working directly with entrepreneurs abroad. Messiah College Microfinance.LED MICROFINANCE PROGRAMS . (Are donations tax-deductible. since leadership is often changing and open to new ambitions and visions Clubs often have access to campus space. AND FACULTY. The more ambitious ones are consulting for MFIs or non-profits. and faculty support Challenges of Type A clubs: • • Constantly changing leaders means constantly changing visions and knowledge bases that are not passed on to new members There are often legal issues associated with club investment of funds. University of Pennsylvania Microfinance Club. Cambridge Microfinance Initiative (Harvard). Princeton University Microfinance Club. can be categorized in the following three ways: A) B) C) COMPLETELY STUDENT . and who pays the taxes for those investments?) 12 Students and U.GUIDED STUDENT .LED .LED NON. UNIVERSITY . Students 4 Sustainbility (George Washington University). A) Completely student-led. Haverford Microfinance Club. Lehigh Microfinance Club. Goizeta Microfinance Club and Fund (Emory).
Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) B) Organizations that operate “off-campus” as non-university recognized student-led non-profits Category B organizations are non-profits that are typically led by recent graduates comprised of a dedicated crew of part-time volunteers who dedicate more than a couple of hours each week to the organization. The Elmseed Enterprise Fund (Yale). but the professors understand the continuity challenges involved in student engagement and combat it by recruiting through their course or program a new batch of participants every 13 Students and U. Organizations that are primarily student-led but guided by fulltime faculty advisors. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . Global Youth Connection (Wooster College). Type B organizations often have ambitions to scale. Capital Good Fund (Brown) Strengths of Type B clubs: • Student-led non-profits that offer extensive services to local microenterpreneurs enjoy the cost-cutting advantage of being able to recruit many quality part-time student volunteers from their alma maters. The geographic focus of these programs vary. Examples: The Intersect Fund (Rutgers). • Leaders are very serious about their organizations’ missions and are willing to devote full time and energy to help the people they serve Challenges of Type B clubs: • Challenges typical of those seen by regular non-profits. The Intersect Fund also offers temporary positions such as “tax preparer. have the most longevity potential. are more likely to know their target population very well.S. Community Empowerment Fund (UNC). students can apply for positions such as “program director” and “public relations director. Category C organizations are often incorporated into a professor’s program or course. and commit at least 5 hours per week during tax season. o Ex. At the Intersect Fund. and more likely to launch innovative services that meet the needs of their clientele.” positions which require an estimated time commitment of 15 hours per week. prepare tax returns for low income entrepreneurs.” where students are expected to take a tax prep course. and of the three categories. Collaboration and entrepreneurship is key to success.
student involvement will always be temporary. Project timelines are necessarily short – from one to two semesters Programs are not very easily open to new ideas. • Summary of Student-led Microfinance Organization Types A) University-recognized student clubs B) Non-university recognized student-led non-profits C) Primarily faculty-guided student microfinance organizations Count In This Study* 45 6 5 *See Appendix C for a complete list of the organizations observed or interviewed 14 Students and U. Notre Dame Microfinance Initiative. GLOBE (St. La Ceiba (University of Mary Washington). for example. Professors often cite the student learning experience – rather than the impact of their work – as one of the core missions of their programs. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . Examples: CHOMI (Stetson University).Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) year. A Type A club can be mobilized to participate in a new fundraising challenge.S. University of St. but a similar idea cannot be formally introduced to a professor-led program because such activities lie may lie outside the original mission of the program. Thomas MicroCredit Program Strengths of Type C clubs: • • Continuity challenges are mitigated because of the full-time position of the professor(s) Student volunteers not in leadership positions are likely to take the work more seriously because of grade incentives or the presence of an authority figure on the team Challenges of Type C clubs: • Although professors are long-term. John’s University). Bentley Microfinance Group.
Summary of Student Microfinance Initiative Achievements (1) PROVIDING (2) RAISING SERVICES TO LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES FUNDS TO LEND TO ENTREPRENEURS THROUGH ENTREPRENEURS ABROAD OR NON . one summer manager continued Elmseed activities for the first time over the summer in 2010. CT (Yale University) 501(c)(3).S. access to a computer lab Loans of $2000 (12% default rate so far). graphic and website design.PROFITS KIVA OR PARTNER MFIS (3) SUPPORTING (4) CONSULTING MFIS (5) INVITING ILLUSTRIOUS SPEAKERS TO COME SPEAK AT THE CONFERENCES THEY HOST ON CAMPUS Students as Service Providers to Local Entrepreneurs SNAPSHOT – Students as Service Providers to Local Entrepreneurs School The Intersect Fund New Brunswick. loans from $5000 to $15. NJ (Rutgers University) Status 501(c)(3).000 a year). run by Yale undergraduates Graduate student organization under the Johnson School Center Big Red Microcapital (BRM) Johnston County. recent grad full-time staff. business plan writing program One-on-one coaching. oneon-one consulting. supported by undergraduate and graduate students Services Loans between $500 and $5000 (0% default rate so far). semiannual gala for clients and community partners. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . one-on-one mentorship with a MicroMentor professional.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) B. business training course. NY 15 Students and U. business training class (English and Spanish).000 The Elmseed Enterprise Fund New Haven. Quickbooks training. free business tax preparation (for those earning less than $50.
MA (Harvard University) 6-week business training course. oneon-one coaching Small business training and networking conference Harvard undergraduates Student-Led Domestic MF Initiatives Student-led organizations that provide services to local microentrepreneurs are involved in a variety of activities. A few student-led organizations have ambitions to scale nationally. The former. are an interesting set. 501(c)(3). Americorps staff. recent grad full-time staff. and green loans of $200. immigration loans of $875. however. from lending to coaching to offering savings programs and platforms for local microentrepreneurs to showcase and sell their wares. Also offers business basics workshop. microloans. loans of $1000 to $4000 Capital Good Fund New Providence. 16 Students and U. recent grad full-time staff. program (a component of the class) is executed by Stetson students 501(c)(3). Indiana (Notre Dame University) Notre Dame undergraduates working in conjunction with a faculty-taught program under the Mendoza College of Business. FL (Stetson University) for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University Stetson University class taught by two faculty members. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . faculty-advised student consulting teams Notre Dame Microfinance Initiative South Bend.S. 10-week savings program. and Brown undergraduates Workshops on business plan construction (integrated with class). RI (Brown University) Business loans between $1000 and $5000 (1 loan default of 40 total). NC (University of North Carolina) Cambridge Microfinance Initiative Boston.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) (Cornell Business School) CHOMI Deland. undergraduates Community Empowerment Fund Orange County and Durham. but most seem to be focused on targeting only their local communities. Business training workshops (to launch Fall 2010).
working with them on how they can leverage the internet is often a logical place for us to help. volunteers apply for positions through a Wufoo form – a free application that offers websites professional style forms. and how to use Facebook for marketing purposes.com. The Intersect Fund also uses offers visitors to their website the opportunity to book free 30-minute one-on-one consulting sessions or 90-minute tax preparation sessions at The Intersect Fund’s office through an application from a website called bookfresh. We have talked to clients about things such as: how to optimize their website." – Alessandra Zielinski. At the Community Empowerment Fund. BRM Director One of the competitive advantages that students seem to offer is their savviness with new technology. The Intersect Fund and the Elmseed Enterprise Fund use the services of highrisehq. writing marketing plans. writing business plans. how to use Google Analytics. To track all shared documents and all e-mails that were exchanged with clients throughout the history of the organization. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . Formatting word and excel documents. how to increase traffic to their website. At both The Intersect Fund and The Capital Good Fund.com.S. and doing simple online research have been of great help to many of the clients served by student organizations. students use Google Spreadsheets to provide a valuable resource for other 17 Students and U.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Technology Smarts "The majority of our clients seem to need help with marketing and acquiring new customers. Students have also demonstrated the smart use of new technologies through their student organization websites. As such.com and backpackit.
and BR Microcapital offers loans between $5000 and $15. & Low Cost Solutions for Small Businesses” conference on campus – and inviting professionals from ACCION USA.”16 . from “Replicating microfinance in the United States: Opportunities and Challenges” (2001). Jonathan and Schreiner.edu/projects/morduch/documents/Morduch%20and%20Schreiner%20on%20MF%20in%20the %20US. Lending capacities The lending programs of student organizations seem to be relatively smallscale. The Elmseed Fund has lent out $56. the Capital Good Fund has lent out more than $46. called the “Orange County Resource Database. Marketing. Earned Income “One simple check on the worth of training is whether participants will pay a small fee to attend. the Elmseed Enterprise Fund is planning to host a day-long “Social Media.000. In Fall 2010. The Intersect Fund offers its Build Your Business orientation courses 16 Morduch. listing local food banks and shelters as well as communication lines and employment networking offices. students have hosted free basic web development. The Intersect Fund has also offered free orientation classes for interested clients. However.” EconWPA. Since the launch of its 8-week “Build Your Business” curriculum for entrepreneurs. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .” includes listings of all the possible resources that might be of help to their target clientele. “Replicating microfinance in the United States: Opportunities and Challenges. The embedded Google document.PDF> 18 Students and U. marketing. A few of the student organizations profiled in this study seem to have passed these checks.S. <http://www. the SBA. The Intersect Fund and The Capital Good Fund only offer loans up to $5000.000 to 40 entrepreneurs since its founding in 2008. Participants are often required to register online to attend. At the Cambridge Microfinance Initiative at Harvard. the Elmseed offers flat loans of $2000. Another simple check is whether training is voluntary or mandatory. and legal issues conferences for local entrepreneurs.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) non-profits servicing the homeless population in their local communities. many students seem to have proven themselves in their capacities to serve local microentrepreneurs beyond the loans. and the popularity of these workshops has been high.nyu. and accounting and consulting firms to speak. Education vs. Mark (2001).Jonathan Morduch and Mark Schreiner. presenting.400 to more than 20 clients since its founding in 2002. BR Microcapital has not lent out any funds since its founding in 2009.
and getting The Intersect Fund clients online and in local stores.S. clients routinely earn up to $1000 in sales per hour. After noticing the importance of savings over simple access to credit. a $200 loan for people with no or poor credit history which pays for the installation of a programmable thermostat that can help borrowers choose the heating settings and subsequently reduce the energy costs of their home. At The Intersect Fund. Innovations Finally. the organization is looking into developing a “mobile marketplace” with the goals of hosting 12 client showcases per year throughout greater New Brunswick. The Elmseed Enterprise Fund piloted its first business plan workshop this summer – and plans to offer it as a program in the fall. In Providence. At the semi-annual galas already being hosted for clients by The Intersect Fund. students have demonstrated remarkable willingness to change their program offerings to meet the needs of their clients. 19 Students and U. cost structure development and pricing strategies. finding the target consumer. The curriculum was developed by the founders of The Intersect Fund. and rewards participants with a 10% matching grant from CEF at the end of the program. RI. where MBA students can receive academic credit for coaching local entrepreneurs in the Johnston County. A fundraising drive for the campaign is being matched by an Intersect Fund partner. The organization also recently launched its DoubleGreen credit builder loan. according to The Intersect Fund website.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) for free. registering a business. clients are also charged fees (usually between $25 and $30) for access to the business training classes and skills-building conferences hosted by the students. At Big Red Microcapital. At The Elmseed Enterprise Fund and The Capital Good Fund. sizing up the competition. but charges either $100 or $250 for the complete 8-week.000. three-hour-eachweek sessions (the fee depends on the income of the participant and the size of the household). the Community Empowerment Fund launched a 10-week savings program that offers financial literacy education. mandates weekly deposits. and participants (usually new entrepreneurs) go through a curriculum designed to teach them about crafting a mission statement. After requiring business plans from its loan clients for many years. for up to $35. the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. students are looking into developing ways to publicize local entrepreneurs by hosting client fairs and displaying client products on campus. the Capital Good Fund was honored by the Clinton Global Leadership Initiative for the launch of its citizenship loans. analyzing a business opportunity. launching a buy-local campaign. (Each live course as well as each potential instructor-in-training is videotaped. for example. and an adult education professor from Rutgers University serves as an advisor. and is continuously being improved.) The Intersect Fund also offers services such as graphics design and Quickbooks services to graduates of its Build Your Business program for a small fee. NY area. has gone through several developments. etc. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . Admission to this program is competitive.
” The workshop series has been offered more than 14 times since its founding. and finding credit. reading financial statements. To many of the community participants. Dr. 20 Students and U. The professors teach a course called “Poverty and Microcredit. Student groups of four team members each are matched with an entrepreneur and sign a confidentiality form to be able to look at the entrepreneurs’ financial forms and taxes. In Spring 2010. we operate a workshop series (5 workshops) on business plan construction. if they were going to run a business. The students help the community participants to develop a business plan. We match up each student with one or two community participants. the idea of a business plan was an innovative thing. If someone wants to apply for a loan. Speakers may include students and professors. Neal Long and Dr. Each student team meets with the professor once every two weeks.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Faculty-guided Domestic MF Initiatives . Dr. many were learning for the first time what a business plan was. The Notre Dame Microfinance Initiative plans to contact local banks for sponsorship and host a large workshop in Fall 2010 on topics related to managing cashflow and debt. the majority of the community participants did not end up applying for a loan. students study poverty in the US and around the world. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . The first class is a very theoretical introduction to microfinance. “The workshop series has served a community need separate from the need for a loan. they have to go through the workshop series.” according to the faculty advisor I e-mailed. they were only interested in getting the support to get started or to improve their existing business. the second class gets the students out in the field working in teams with a total of 8-10 local entrepreneurs.SNAPSHOT CHOMI At Stetson University.S.” “In the first half of the course. Students also meet with their clients twice per month. the Notre Dame Microfinance Initiative – with 15-19 members – were approved by the university to work in partnership with the local entrepreneurs already served by Dr. which has been integrated into a class at Stetson. since the students would have already been through the process. For most of the second half. Surprisingly. Each student develops a business plan for a business they would run. Thaver guide CHOMI. Paulsen’s microfinance class has served over 40 microentrepreneurs over the past few years. Notre Dame Microfinance Club Professor Melissa Paulsen designed a two-semester long class that connects students with entrepreneurs in the community. Paulsen’s classes.
current Executive Director now participating in a 7-continent marathon run to raise $125.275. Lends primarily on KIVA and Wokai. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . Thomas MicroCredit Program (University of St. Raised $2000 to for FINCA to establish a village bank Honored at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009 for initiatives to support microfinance.000 since its founding in 2007. planning to use all funds towards loans Raised over $20. University of St.S.000 in its first year in a loan fund to IMPRO University of Mary Washington raised more than $6.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) (2) Students as Fund Raisers SNAPSHOT – Students as Fund Raisers School MicrOlin (University of Washington at St. Other schools’ successes are not reported. Thomas) Goizeta Microfinance Club and Fund (Emory Business School) $2 Day Challenge Microfinance Abroad (Various Schools) Princeton Microfinance Organization OWL Microfinance (Rice University) (3) Students Supporting Entrepreneurs Abroad 21 Students and U.000 Distributed $13.000 reached the first year. goal of raising $10. Louis) Gumball Capital (Stanford University) Impact Received $300 unsolicited donation from a fraternity.00 in loans on Kiva since founding in Fall 2007 Invested $40.750 for La Ceiba the first year for Challenge week.
Funds invested in the two projects so far: $800 and $1600. Pakistan. Thomas KIVA clients – various countries. Chile. 7 days spent learning about the community. University of Southern Cailfornia… TBC) Microcredit Program at University of St.000 since its founding in Spring 2009. and Turkey.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) SNAPSHOT – Students Supporting Microentrepreneurs Abroad School GLOBE Daughters of Charity – various countries (St. Thomas) Students 4 Sustainability (George Washington University) La Ceiba Honduras (University of Mary Washington) The Zambia Project (Messiah College) (4) Students Consulting MFIs or non-profits Consulting for non-profits is a popular trend amongst MBA students. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . Selling merchandise made by entrepreneurs abroad on campus Selling handbags and pouches from women entrepreneurs in Honduras. expanding locally (University of St.S. GLOBE’s field partners. some 76 of which are classified as developing countries. who operate in over 90 countries in the world. John’s University) Activities Lending and consulting. Lending. a for-profit website that connects student consultants (typically MBA or undergraduate business students advised by a faculty 22 Students and U. and training local inhabitants on each trip.com. who typically complete the projects in teams and under the supervision of a faculty advisor. lending. Already operating in Yucatan. investing funds into the community. consulting Started two credit and savings associations in Zambia. Has raised over $60. Exploring domestic program launches in New Orleans and New Mexico. Consulting. Global Microfinance Brigades Various locations in Honduras (Chapman University. Each team has a liasion person that communicates with a representative of the Daughters of Charity. The idea for Moremarbles.
is to “establish a formal partnership with a current microfinance organization. SEED members are placed in project teams of 10-15 people. a non-profit that works with the homeless in Charlottesville. a student organization called SEED offers free consulting services to NGOs and social entrepreneurs with an emphasis on microfinance. for example.” Although the focus was traditionally on international microfinance.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) mentor) to non-profits and small companies. it has worked with NGOs in 15 different countries. was founded by a recent MBA graduate who realized the potential of student consultants. students are clearly interested in partnering with MFIs.S. The team communicates with the nonprofit or MFI via skype. or personal meetings throughout the semester . One of the domestic projects that SEED students have worked on is with the Hope Community Center. e-mail. students expressed interest in gaining 23 Students and U. ACCION USA-Student Club Partnership Potential Discussion According to the vision statements published on the websites of many student microfinance clubs.and with 550 members on its listserv and 150 active members. it is one of the larger student organizations at UVA. Virginia. On the University of Chicago Microfinance Initiative Facebook page. interest in partnerships with domestic MDOs also seems to be on the rise. (5) Students Hosting Conferences on Campus Examples of School s that have hosted conferences on campus: Princeton Microfinance Organization Duke University Microfinance Leadership Initiative University of Pennsylvania Microfinance Club SEED (UVA) Trockman Microfinance Initiative (Indiana University) Examples of invited speakers: CGAP representatives FINCA representatives Morgan Stanley representatives Pro Mujer representatives Self-Help representatives ACCION International representatives Microcredit Summit Campaign BRAC USA founder KIVA founder Jessica Jackley Acumen Fund founder Ashoka fellows III. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . One of Point Loma Nazarene University’s listed goals. SEED helped the Hope Community Center start a number of social businesses that employs the homeless. Since its founding in 2008. At UVA.
been witness to the amount of grunt work involved in it. It’s also the most helpful way that the student can help the owner. usually). but they don’t need to be realistic. and all the challenges that aren’t taught in class. Getting the grunt work done helps the student understand what the small business owner spends most of his/her time doing (and therefore.” The interest in partnerships does not come solely from students. and Oekocredit USA.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) hands-on field work experience by working with organizations such as “ACCION Chicago. but instead concentrate on short-term tasks. why they don’t have much time to plan things. she warned me about the difference between a student “consultant” and a student volunteer: "Volunteering for small business owners is great." The manager also identified for me some activities that she felt students could help with in particular: Helping to create a Facebook page Making spreadsheets in Excel Putting profiles of the business up on Yelp or Facebook Creating marketing plans that goes beyond the marketing idea and talks about realistic plans of action for flyer drop-off locations. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . she told me that the opportunity to be supported by a few student volunteers would be great. However. 24 Students and U. most efficient routes.S. In my interview with the manager of a small grocery store. Kiva. Anything with new technology Student volunteers can probably be of the most help if they do not try to do a lot. Business plans need to be well-written in order to get funding. but that volunteering has to be in a capacity that isn’t just suggesting techniques or doing business plans for them. she advised. etc. poster creation deadlines. then the student isn’t able to write a realistic action plan.” The graduate student-led microfinance initiative at Emory University’s MBA Program stated on their website that they were “currently reaching out to an Atlanta-based microfinance organization and hope to share [their] business knowledge with local recipients of microfinance loans through club-held workshops. Action plans are needed to actually put things in place. "A business student is able to write a beautiful business plan. but that is also doing the grunt work (some not so fun tasks). but if they haven’t worked in the business. Finally. the manager recommended that the student and the microentrepreneur sit down for at least a couple of hours to identify the needs of the business and to finalize expectations of a project timeline.
your volunteers will not be happy.S.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) The Challenges of Engagement Perhaps the reason there have not been more student-MFI partnerships are because of the liabilities involved with letting students get involved in providing services to the clients of the MFI. many students have had to make sure that clients understand they cannot work wonders. need help. the university may require a faculty advisor and by-laws. Students interested in consulting who volunteer their time with a client may be perceived as the face of the MFI. A clear risk. is that the client may feel that the student – and by extension the MFI – is checking up on their loan. according to a microfinance practitioner that I interviewed from ACCION Chicago. and that we are able help. I met two students from Claremont McKenna College who talked about how difficult it was to find a faculty advisor for their club. Students of the newer clubs also expressed worries of potential challenges in fundraising and recruitment. the very act of starting up a club is a challenge. students and clients sit down before the start of coaching sessions to verbally go through the terms and expectations for each partner. and the MFI must be careful not to have the client confuse the volunteerism of the student with the MFI’s professional capacities. but check off a disclaimer beforehand: “I understand that the Cambridge Microfinance Initiative is not a group of professionals or experts but rather an organization of student volunteers who have 25 Students and U. In addition. there are challenges in asking students to target a local community.” In addition. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . How does one pull together a club with members with varying levels of interest in microfinance and with completely different expectations for engagement? Even if a club does have the infrastructure to offer ambitious services such as the provision of business training to local microentrepreneurs. clients can apply online to receive coaching services. According to one interviewee. As an anonymous student who had participated in providing business consulting to local microentrepreneurs advised: “The best way to get engaged students is to get engaging clients. and will drop off when there isn't much work to do. It's very hard to find people who are committed to coming to meetings. which is the most challenging part of all. many of the students that I interviewed expressed many challenges facing their organizations. At some universities. and aren’t there to run the business for them. but we've heard some crazy ideas in the years). it took a year for the student’s club to be founded because of the bureaucratic requirements. Identities must be clearly defined before the any student-MFI consulting partnership. At the Cambridge Microfinance Initiative. At BR Microcapital. If you end up finding crackpots (no offense. At the Microfinance USA conference.
Given the right motivation and a good understanding of the impact of the loan. therefore. Summary of Market Research Findings A number of the most impressive student-led microfinance initiatives seem to be led by faculty advisors or truly dedicated founders who continue to work full time on their 501(c)(3) organizations after graduation. there has been a shift towards finding a partner that can provide greater transparency and/or greater returns about the impact of a loan. The challenge is in connecting entrepreneurs with these opportunities without the increasing the liability of the MFI. is essential to the longevity of the organization.com. student clubs can fundraise. one of the challenges that many student organizations encounter is institutional memory. I know they will not run my business with me but will only inform me of general principles and help me find informational resources.com and highrisehq.like the Intersect Fund – has invested in online services such as backpackit. The recruitment of a talented pool of members from each graduating class. I. More and more students are interested in finding their own MFI partners who can work with them directly to manage a loan fund. These types of organizations are less likely to face continuity challenges. Although KIVA is the top destination for most student lenders. websites which help organizations archive and manage their information and external contacts. Many small businesses may stand to benefit from the technology savvy of student volunteers. Elmseed’s ability to launch a long-term Spanish-language business workshop program is contingent upon its ability to maintain one or two leaders with the prerequisite language skills and passion for Elmseed’s mission every year.”17 Furthermore. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . For example.S. which often limits student organizations’ abilities to manage client relationships for more than one or two years. 17 26 Students and U. A related challenge is the problem of continuity. To solve this problem.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) studied up on the basic aspects of starting and running a small business. and are more likely to be extremely innovative in terms of their program service offerings. Elmseed .
and one respondent turned out to be a faculty advisor.2% 100.7% 32. 63% were current undergraduate students.8% 1. Student Demographics Status in School Undergrad uate Recent Alumni Graduate Faculty Advisor TOTAL # of Respond ents 54 24 7 1 86 % of Respond ents 62.9% 26.S. 28% were recent graduates.6% 1. More than 65% of the respondents also indicated that they had obtained a leadership position within the organization.1% 1.2% 100. Of the respondents.8% 27.0% Findings encompass aggregate results from 87 students representating 28 schools.9% 8.are studying economics or business.0% Graduatio n Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Other TOTAL # of Responde nts 5 1 18 23 28 10 1 86 % of Responde nts 5. The majority of the respondents were juniors or seniors.6% 11. 27 Students and U. In addition. intending to graduate in 2011 or 2012.2% 20. 28% of the respondents reported that they were a founding member of their club. 8% were graduate students. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . A large percentage of the students – almost 40% .Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Findings from Survey A.
Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) List of Universities Chapman University Columbia University Duke University Elon University Emory University Georgetown University Harvard University Indiana University Lehigh University Messiah College Northeastern University University of Notre Dame Ohio Wesleyan University Princeton University Rice University Soka University of America University of Houston University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill UC San Diego UC Santa Cruz University of Chicago University of Virginia University of Washington University of Pennsylvania Washington and Lee University 28 # of Responses 2 1 6 1 1 1 2 2 8 3 1 9 5 7 1 1 2 1 1 4 1 1 16 1 4 2 Students and U.S. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .
Olin Business School Yale University Total 1 1 86 29 Students and U. Louis .S.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Washington University in St. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .
30 . Around 34% of the students had been involved for three or four semesters. and 13% indicated that they spent seven or more hours on their clubs. 43% of the students indicated that they were involved in three or more other extracurricular activities. 30% indicated that they spent anywhere from 3 hours to 6 hours on their clubs. The majority of the survey respondents are also relatively young club members. The results also indicate that microfinance is not the only extracurricular activity that most students commit their time to.Student Commitment to Clubs 55% of the respondents indicated that they devoted ½ hour to 2 hours per week to their microfinance clubs. Around 10% stated that they had been involved in the club for more than two years. and 30% indicated that they were involved in two other extracurricular activities. Close to 50% of the students were involved in their microfinance clubs for only one or two semesters.
” received only 33% of the attention.S. while “interest in economic development in the U. 35% said that they had heard about microfinance from a professor.S. Of the reasons given for joining a microfinance club. only 24% admitted that they were “building their resumes” was a motivating factor.” 44% indicated that they had either read Muhummud Yunus’ Banker to the Poor or another book on microfinance. Only 16% indicated that they became interested in microfinance after being recruited to join a microfinance club. The second most cited motivation. was “exposure to issues in microfinance. 31 Students and U. Surprisingly. Only 14% of the respondents indicated that they were interested in starting their own small business. 81% cited “interest in the developing world” as a major factor. and 29% had become interested after hearing about it at a student activities fair. however.” 40% of the students revealed that they were interested in microfinance as a “potential career” and 36% checked off “interest in getting into the business world” as a motivating factor. at 59%. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Student Motivation More than half of the students surveyed (58%) indicated that they became interested in microfinance because of a strong interest in “economic development.
Using Excel pivot tables. A summary of the analysis is included in the table below. only 47% indicated that one of the club focuses was on microfinance U. while 83% indicated that one of the club focuses was on microfinance abroad. When asked about the main focuses of their clubs.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Club Activities More than 74% of the respondents indicated that one of their primary duties involved planning events or meetings for the club. Club Focuses Lending through a partner organization like Kiva Lending through the student organization itself Offering financial education to local micro entrepreneurs Helping micro entrepreneurs develop their business plans Teaching classes to local micro entrepreneurs Mentoring micro entrepreneurs in smaller group settings # Schools (Total in Survey = 28) 20 10 13 16 10 7 % Schoo ls 71% 36% 46% 57% 36% 25% 32 Students and U. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . 55% of the respondents noted “raising awareness of microfinance on campus” as a primary duty. lending.S.. 42% of the respondents indicated that they were raising awareness of microfinance in the local community. or consulting activities. I was also able to identify the schools that had respondents indicating that they were focused on engaging communities through training. sponsoring student interns.S. and 37% noted “fundraising for the club” as a primary duty.
S. and the ability to network with other clubs engaged in similar activities. 71% indicated that “An online platform where clubs can collaborate to discuss best” would be “moderately” or “very” useful and 78% supported “guidance on measuring club impact. In comparison. 18 33 “13a. When asked about the resources that would be “moderately useful” or “very useful” to their microfinance clubs.” was of high or very high importance.” and 78% supported an “annual roundtable with other student microfinance club members. 61% indicated that having the opportunity to consult microfinance clients would be of high or extremely high importance.S. Raising awareness of microfinance on campus Raising awareness of microfinance in the local community Consulting for community organizations or businesses 14 10 24 24 13 50% 36% 86% 86% 46% Needs and Values When asked about the experiences or opportunities they have hoped to gain from being a part of a microfinance club. respondents further emphasized their desire for collaboration with other clubs. 88% again reiterated “opportunities to speak to professionals working in the microfinance field. guidance on how to make an impact through start-up kits. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Sponsoring student interns to work on microfinance abroad Sponsoring student interns to work on microfinance in the U.” In follow-up comments to question 13a18. only 49% indicated that “gaining a greater understanding of how microfinance works in the U. In addition. How useful would the following resources be to your microfinance club?” Students and U. direct communication with professionals working in the field. more than 92% indicated that gaining “a greater understanding of how microfinance works internationally” was of high or very high importance to them.” 81% supported “a webinar roundtable with microfinance industry leaders.” Other potential resources were also given high ratings. More than 70% of the respondents also indicated that the opportunity to meet and speak to real microfinance practitioners or real microfinance clients would be high or very high importance.S.
A start-up kit for new microfinance clubs-. Our club focuses heavily on fundraising by obtaining grants and donations from businesses. A network to share what we are doing and learn from others would be awesome. we know what we want. Discussing the world of microfinance with professionals would be most helpful. Resources and collaboration are very important when starting a club and the more streamlined this can be the more scalable microfinance clubs in the U. The existing platforms aren't too great to do this on. I feel like the biggest setback our organization has faced is our lack of direct communication with fellow collegiate microfinance programs and professionals in the field (with the exception of our advisors).S. Many of the club members at my university are interested more in learning rather than in going into the field and becoming a practitioner. Right now. Having a start-up kit for new clubs would be FANTASTIC. Also. I would love to have more connection with other students working in a similar way. As a lending and savings institution. and a guide to help get us started on this would be very useful.or just a start-up kit for any club. This would not have been possible if it hadn't been for the support we got from Microfinance professionals and could have happened much quicker if we hadn't been re-inventing the wheel the whole time.S. It would be a tremendous asset to become a part of a consortium of like-minded clubs and professionals. effectively enabling the collegiate microfinance world to advance more rapidly and with greater unity. It took our club about 2. we would greatly benefit from assistance in keeping our books consistently up to date. I find some academic resources to satisfy their academic curiosity very useful. Any tool that would help build the network between microfinance organizations/ practitioners and microfinance clubs. Currently we are focusing on microfinance projects abroad.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) What resource would you find MOST useful to your club? – Highlighted Responses to Question 13b - “Guidance from both professionals from the microfinance field and perhaps a start-up kit of sorts for new organizations to get off the ground. When trying to formulate a mission for the group it would have been very helpful to have had input from leaders in the field to determine in what areas students can have the most impact. can be. its just hard to find all of the information all in one place. Therefore. when we asked about lending guidelines and how exactly ACCION USA works w/ the club we received an answer that was a little unclear. however once we are established and have more funds we may work on more local projects. Collaboration with other student groups and microfinance institutions to determine the biggest needs and niches for student involvement would be fantastic. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .5 years before we were working with grassroots microfinance clients in Zambia. Rather than operating as a set of individual units we should work together to develop a model that can be used across the country. Any tool that would help build the network of microfinance clubs across the US. We would like to see the lending guidelines in hard copy and perhaps hear from another club what their 34 Students and U.
(Right now we are a little unstable and unsure how we should continue forward w/ the guarantee fund etc. The ability to easily communicate with other professionals from the micro-finance field to help assess where the greatest need for assistance is Guidance on measuring club impact Greater publicity on our campus would be helpful. Networking opportunities. Hosting a panel event on 10.S.3% ACCION USA . and 44% were very likely to participate in coaching microenterpereneurs in activities with ideas for strategies in marketing. we loved being able to reach out to other like-minded student groups and school departments. 45% were very likely to fundraise to host speakers. Microfinance: Final Report to 31.8% 26.2% Very Likely 20.2% 35 Blogging about microfinance 36.0% Blockwalking in your local 31. Definitely was the most helpful resource.S. How likely would you be to participate in the following activities with your club? N/A or No Respon se* 12. or shoot and edit a video about an experience at an event.4% 44.4% 52. Guidance on measuring club impact and e-learning course about the credit system in the U. sales.4% community Helping to design a website 12. In our first two years.1% 37.5% 5.8% 17. etc. indicated that would be “very likely” to blog about microfinance. Receiving clear examples of how they set up their guarantee fund and how they work w/ ACCION to lend to small businesses.8% Students and U. Relatively lower percentages.) Speaking w/ other clubs would be great too.5% 8. That way we can ask each other how we organized certain club aspects and bounce ideas off of each other.7% for a microentrepreneur Coaching microentrepreneurs 10. ” Potential for Engagement Around 52% of the respondents indicated that they were “very likely” to host a panel event on campus. blockwalk in their local communities.7% 29. however.4% Not Likely Somew hat Likely 30.1% with ideas for strategies in marketing. etc. That way we have a strong foundation to start from and can start our own path.4% 31.2% 33.9% 17. sales. and a similar percentage indicated that they were “very likely” to host microentrepreneurs from their local community on campus.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) experiences have been like so far lending w/ ACCION USA.
Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .9% 26.2% 9.5% 45.8% 12.3% 12. etc.1% 30.4% 39. […] I hope you do come up with some good solutions and Ohio Wesleyan will probably be willing 36 Students and U. or facebook Broadcasting a microfinance simulcast course taught by a professor from another campus Attending online webinars to establish a greater knowledge base about microfinance 10. and indicated their willingness to get involved in a student program run by ACCION USA. In follow-up comments to the survey. a few students have commented on how they were curious about what the survey results would lead to.1% 10.3% *There is a high percentage of N/A or “no responses” to this question because I added this question to the survey a couple of days after the launch of the survey.5% 10. It is difficult to keep the interest of students into something like microfinance where the money is going across the world. after already receiving the 8th response.3% 50.7% 40.8% 34.5% 34.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) campus Fundraising to host speakers on campus Hosting microentrepreneurs from your local community on campus Shooting or editing a short video about an experience at an event Raising awareness about microfinance through twitter.2% 45.3% 12.3% 15.7% 29. The majority of the respondents also indicated that they do not go off campus very often.9% 15.5% 9.S.7% 37. ACCION. Motivational speakers from KIVA. “This sounds exciting and should definitely be helpful (based on the 13th question in the survey). would be very useful to generate interest on campus.0% 26.1% 31.8% 9. youtube.
Although the first microfinance club (The Elmseed Enterprise Fund at Yale) was founded in 2001. there needs to be a good story/case presented for microfinance in the U.Pratyush Agarwal. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .S. furthermore. [that we] can actually take part in its development. Domestic microfinance is not on everyone’s radar. and rapidly growing industry that I feel. How can Students Help Scale Microfinance in the U. town-gown relationships are often not very close. Students want to talk to real microfinance practitioners and each other about what’s happening in the field and the best practices in engagement. through partnerships with MDOs such as ACCION USA? Conclusions and Recommendations to ACCION USA for Engagement “Microfinance is such a young. Many of the student-led 37 Students and U. and others I know feel.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) to be a part of something ACCION is doing (It's a club. so I can’t make decisions alone).Travis Kiefer. the majority of the student microfinance clubs in the United States seem to have been founded between 2007 and 2010 – all within the past three years. but lack information about how they can get best get involved Collaboration is key. have been impressive.” .” . It may be difficult for students to get transportation off-campus at some universities.” .S.Anonymous student from Survey "In order to get students interested in domestic microfinance. 2009-2010 president of Ohio Wesleyan University’s microfinance club Summary of Survey Findings Students are very interested in supporting local MFIs. Executive Director of Gumball Capital The relative youth of the student microfinance initiative movement in the United States is remarkable. The accolades they’ve received in that short span of time.S.
Others have been awarded grants from foundations and sponsorships from corporate donors. Key Activities Identified for Student Microfinance Clubs: 1. Category (B) student organizations – or student-led non-profit initiatives – often have target populations and missions different from that of ACCION USA. One recently founded student organization at Washington and Lee University was just granted a $10. Awareness raising in the local community of the loan products and online financial education webinar services offered by MDOs such as ACCION USA 3. participating in the Gumball Challenge or $2 Per Day Challenge.S. where students are working in conjunction with Professor Melissa Paulsen’s yearlong microfinance class to engage in providing more services for local entrepreneurs. Support of local microentrepreneurs (especially those less techsavvy) via one-on-one “coaching” activities and business-related workshops held on campus Students cannot be depended upon to know their communities well (an overwhelming percentage of the survey respondents revealed that they visited an 38 Students and U. but may need to be decided upon within a case-by-case basis. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) microfinance initiatives featured in this study have been recognized by the Clinton Global Leadership Institute. Based on findings from the interviews. The exception to this general trend is the Microfinance Initiative at Notre Dame. partnerships with these types of organizations may be possible. Awareness raising of the meaning of domestic microfinance and the importance of financial education to other students on campus 4. Fundraising for domestic microfinance through participation in campaigns such as Microbike 2. The final type of student organization – those initiatives guided heavily by faculty – are possible partner organizations for ACCION USA on a case-by-case basis as well. the opportunity to engage Category (A) student organizations – or members of university-recognized microfinance clubs – are the greatest. The activities that many of the student organizations typically participate in – activities such as fundraising. since many of the faculty-guided student organizations seem to be focused on integrating coursework with international microfinance rather than domestic microfinance.000 prize from Davis Projects for Peace to establish a microfinance initiative with a partner MFI in Haiti. and coaching microentrepreneurs – have also been prone to being profiled by local and university newspapers.
and creating innovative ideas for fundraising (Owl Microfinance at Rice University hosted a “Mr. but students can be depended upon to do the tasks that they know the best – activities such as raising awareness on campus. their unique mission statements and unique clientele demographics means that partnerships with these types of organizations are best formed on an ad hoc basis.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) local small business fewer than once per month). the potential for the average environmentally conscious student to act as effective awareness raisers of the domestic microfinance movement – especially in a social media setting – is significant. The engagement of young people for social movements is not a new idea. The Intersect Fund. Capital Good Fund. hosting conferences. because it is easier to raise a few hundred dollars to lend to an international client on KIVA. As my research has shown. but international microfinance is still the main focus amongst the majority of these initiatives – in part. the next step is to figure out a workable partnership model that would limit the operational costs on ACCION USA’s side and increase the value that students get from participating in ACCION USA’s student program.g. Although these student organization types tend to be the more successful student-founded establishments. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .) are already focused primarily on domestic microfinance. regular Category A student organizations are highly interested in getting engaged with microfinance. The Elmseed Enterprise Fund. however. As Wendy Kopp.S. temporary time commitment activities such as fundraising. Taking this point into consideration. Again. etc. I recommend that ACCION USA engage students through low-key. Rice Asian” pageant that raised over $1000 for KIVA. founder of Dress for Success can attest. and Gumball Capital challenges students to return profits from a loan of $27 and 27 gumballs). you don't know that ‘there is a way things are done’ and so you work off 39 Students and U. Community Empowerment Fund. raising awareness. The first step and challenge in targeting the students in the afore-mentioned “Category A” organizations is to make sure that they are aware of the importance of domestic microfinance and the need to include it as a serious component of their clubs’ mission statements. “when you are that age. a young person may not have the work experience to know how the industry works – but their naiveté can often motivate them to go beyond what is initially thought to be possible. perhaps. As Lublin explained in an interview. With ACCION USA’s new presence on KIVA and efforts to expand its financial education and green loan programs. Most “Category B” student organizations (e. founder of Teach for American and Nancy Lublin. creating marketing campaigns and brochures about local microentrepreneurs in their communities. and volunteering useful skills in web design and technology for potentially interested small business clients on a case-by-case basis.
ACCION USA will highlight the activities of the students through its blog and on its new website for students at www. so pulling all-nighters isn't a big deal. will work with the volunteers to execute the campaigns. Erica Dorn and the Microfinance Council volunteers. Nonprofits Give the Business World Tips. “Q&A: In Lean Times.” 19 The ACCION USA-Student Partnership Model After much reflection and discussion with student interns in the office. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . 4. Students will have the freedom to sign up for the specific challenges by getting together a team.S.” <http://www. 3. The Microfinance Council. regular updates about other clubs and U. Students who sign up for the mailing list or participate in an ACCION USA student campaigns may get the chance to win prizes such as an ACCION USA t-shirt or other promotional material for their team members. ACCION USA will launch a series of campaigns that revolve around fundraising. You also don't have a mortgage or a family.studentsforaccion. and supporting local microentrepreneurs. 2. raising awareness of domestic microfinance on campus or in local communities. 40 Students and U. and the chance to have a speaker from ACCION USA come to their campus to talk about issues in domestic microfinance. Andrew. and filling out a short form on the website.is/post/q-a-taking-money-saving-tricks-from-the-nonprofit-world-to-bigbusiness/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+good/lbvp+ (GOOD+Main+RSS+Feed)>.S. microfinance in a monthly student e-newsletter.good. the ACCION USA Student Partnerships Project team agreed on the following model for engaging students in domestic microenterprise: 1.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) instinct and data rather than tradition. 19 Price. designating a leader.org. a group of working professionals based in the NYC region.
(2) The Manager of Volunteer Partnerships at ACCION USA receives the notice and forwards the email to a volunteer from the Microfinance Council.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Students form teams and sign up for an ACCION USA Student Campaign by filling out a short form on the website. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . 41 Students and U. (3) The Microfinance Council volunteer emails the student team leader and works with the leader to execute the campaign.S.
S.” 42 Students and U. Quick access ACCION USA’s Financial Education Materials and archive of webinars V.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) The Website Recommendations for the website: I. A “Why U. Opportunities to Get Involved in an ACCION USA student campaign and view powerpoint “Action Guides” that list the point values20 of the campaigns and provide more information about the campaigns IV.S. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . A Forum where students can discuss issues in microfinance with other clubs II. A page listing and promoting the activities of the Featured Student Organizations 20 The “point values” idea is inspired by the One Campaign. Microfinance?” page explaining the history and importance of domestic microenterprise III. where campuses are awarded points for completing actions that can be as little as “leaving a comment on Facebook” to “getting people to sign petitions on campus.
Yola. sign each participant up for $10. Students form a team on campus. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . Many ACCION USA clients are in the process of putting their businesses online and have asked for help. At $49. and get a free tshirt for each participant.S. In-person meetings between clients. Microbike 2010 (400 initial points) + (# participants x 2) = Total Points Help an entrepreneur design a website (500 points) Host an event on campus to Give students the freedom to plan creative 43 Students and U. plan a bike route. the loan consultants who recommended the clients.” This campaign is being managed by ACCION International.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) The Campaigns Campaign Ideas *=new ideas Description Organize a biking event to “pedal against poverty.95/year. and students are ideal.com offers a domain name and an easy way to put a launch a business site online.
Options include giving an unrestricted grant to ACCION USA to support its operating costs. or lending to an ACCION USA client on KIVA.S. and be knowledgeable about ACCION USA’s lending requirements. Where the proceeds go are up to the students. These students must be responsible. again. have transportation to and from the client’s location. (300 points) + (ACCION USA tshirt 1st place) + (Other ACCION USA swag 2nd place) = Total Value Become an ACCION USA field representative (1000 points) + (200 points per client referral) = Total Points This campaign would be targeted at students interested in marketing.S. These students. setting up a loan fund** with ACCION USA. ways to raise awareness of domestic microfinance on campus Individual students are trained on how to pre-package a loan and work closely with ACCION USA loan consultants to help advise potential clients on the loan process. microfinance (300 points) *Host a fundraiser event on campus (250 points) + (Amount invested in ACCION USA or ACCION USA client x 4) = Total Points *Lend to an ACCION USA client on KIVA (Amount lent x 4) = Total Points *Make a video (<1 minute) about why you support domestic microfinance and post it in reply to ACCION USA’s challenge video on Youtube.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) raise awareness about U. video production. and/or multimedia. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . Students might typically refer clients that they do not have the capacity to serve (in terms of lending) to ACCION USA. Nonstudents are currently in the process of piloting ACCION USA’s field representatives program. must be knowledgeable about ACCION USA’s lending process. Quality videos may help increase awareness of ACCION USA’s internet presence and help the student earn great resume leverage. Any student group that already has a lending team on KIVA can do this. Similar to the challenge above. The ACCION USA Facebook feed is updated *Refer a client to ACCION USA (# clients referred x 250) = Total *”Like” ACCION USA on 44 Students and U.
” 400 points for second place. or other swag.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Facebook (500 points for the campus with the most “likes. ACCION USA MP3 players. microfinance. pens. Further Recommendation 2: ACCION USA should quantify the impact of a dollar’s donation to ACCION USA.S. 45 Students and U.S. Below is a calculation using FY2008 figures. Second and third place campus team will receive ACCION USA promotional materials such as t-shirts. After completing the action. the student team(s) from the campus that receives the most points will be awarded recognition and a speaker visit from a top ACCION USA representative. and 300 points for third place) frequently with news about the organization and happenings in the field. The monthly e-newsletter will report on student campaign progress and highlights. Sign up for the ACCION USA monthly student e-newsletter (# students x 10) = Total Points Organize a blockwalking event (500 points) Further Recommendation 1: At the end of the first semester. Representatives from the campus that has the most points by the end of the year will be awarded a trip to the annual Microfinance USA conference and their conference entrance fees waived. The e-newsletter will also highlight a studentteam-of-the-month and share tips and best practices for effective ways to raise awareness about U. This would only be cost-effective with a large number of people at locations close to ACCION USA’s offices and near campuses where students have a good relationship with the locals. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . each student can report the action by voting for their campus in a poll (Sample poll title: Which campus should win the ACCION USA Student Campaigns Challenge?) on the ACCION USA Facebook page.
Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .0 99 $1.827.S.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) ACCION USA Functional Expenses (FY2008) Program Services – Lending Management and General Fundraising Total Source: ACCION USA Form 990 Amount $9.836.428.1 06 $765. 690 % of Total 79% 15% 6% 100% 46 Students and U.485 $12.
“Buy Local.g. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .S.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) A. Summary of Potential Values Added by Partnership Program TO STUDENTS Resume building opportunities (experiences in marketing. and fundraising) ACCION USA campaign swag (e. consulting. Lend Local” t-shirts) TO ACCION USA Publicity about ACCION USA and U. microfinance online and in local communities Donations that can help cover operational costs TO ENTREPRENEURS Flyering or online marketing strategy help from students Sales and publicity from student-hosted events that raise awareness of the businesses of local entrepreneurs Opportunities to plug into the network of other entrepreneurs working with students and ACCION USA Opportunity to speak to and get advice from microfinance professionals Client referrals from student field representatives who meet a client that seems to satisfy ACCION USA’s preloan requirements Investments from student organizations to a loan fund Investments to ACCION USA’s clients on KIVA Opportunity to speak to microfinance clients Publicity for the student organization from being featured by ACCION online at the student website or on ACCION USA’s blog 47 Students and U.S.
Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . The CEO of MoreMarbles. MFIConnect MFIConnect is the site for students who want to connect to other students working on projects in microfinance. 48 Students and U.com. We’ve talked to Campus Kiva about setting up a panel on U. Since its founding in February 2007.com connects university consulting teams mentor (often MBA students.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Internship opportunities in microfinance Field representatives who advise the client on the loan process can save time for loan consultants. It is co-hosting a national conference for students involved in microfinance in D. however. It is hosted on Ning. with MFIConnect in the Fall. The teams work on 50-500 hour projects that take at most a semester to complete for companies that typically earn between $1 million and $50 million in sales. Gumball Capital Gumball Capital is a Stanford University student-led non-profit that challenges students to be social entrepreneurs by raising as much money as they can with a loan of $27. MoreMarbles. is only on international microfinance.C.com MoreMarbles. Gumball Capital t-shirts. and a timeline of 10 days. microfinance at the conference and cross-referring to each other’s programs on our respective websites. Gumball Capital participants have raised over $20.S. thereby reducing the cost of servicing a loan Opportunity to use classroom theory in real life practices Recommended Partnerships with Non-Student Organizations Campus Kiva Campus Kiva has over 50 university lending teams on KIVA already.com has talked to ACCION New Mexico about a loose partnership that would connect student consulting teams with potential ACCION New Mexico clients. which means that there is an elaborate forum for viewers to post questions and add to discussions about microfinance. though undergraduates are welcome) that are advised by a faculty.S. 27 gumballs. MFIConnect’s general focus.000.
promotional materials. Catchafire Catchafire connects working professionals with skills-based volunteering projects for non-profits. They are responsible for creating and executing marketing strategies in accordance with their campuses’ university policies. Registrants can sign up to volunteer to create logo designs. ACCION International ACCION International runs Microbike. e-mailing a friend about the project. The $2 Dollar Challenge currently recommends donations to go to Opportunity International. At the bottom of every action guide is a place where viewers can indicate their commitment to executing the project by typing in their email address. LearnVest. a national fundraising campaign to raise awareness about microfinance. or finding more about other causes. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . Student participants only pay $10 to organize their own event (dates are 10/1 and 10/3). and all participants receive free t-shirts as well. for non-profits. print materials.S. etc. an international NGO.com Best Practice Takeaways Highlight the benefits of participating in a campus program Publicize the other schools that are involved in the initiative Give students the challenge of designing and executing their own marketing plans DoSomething. The non-profit provides monetary grants to clubs as well as action guides for project ideas. 49 Students and U.org Best Practice Takeaways Make it easy for students to sign up to get involved in a project Keep track of student involvement Publish short action guides on how to accomplish different campaigns or projects. Best Practices from Other Student Programs LearnVest Ambassador Program LearnVest ambassadors promote LearnVest on campus.org challenges people (targeting a mostly young demographic) to take on projects on any issue that matters to them.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) $2 Dollar Challenge The $2 Dollar Challenge challenges students to live on $2 per day for five days and was founded by Professor Sean Humphrey of La Ceiba (a student-led microfinance initiative at the University of Mary Washington). develop brand identity.org DoSomething. DoSomething.
Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Grameen U “The Grameen U Challenge is a competition among Grameen U Groups in campuses to raise the largest amount of money in the most creative ways. campus visits by ONE staff. weighted. blog. The winning village will be showcased on our Grameen U blog. The One Campaign Best Practice Takeaways Every action taken by a student is measured. For example. and speakers on campus.” Grameen U is recruiting for one student volunteer – a “Grameen U President” – to keep track of initiatives on different campuses. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .500 raised represents one loan. You may also register your groups and donate via our website. and awards prizes such as ONE t-shirts and stickers. This title gives the student a lot of responsibility and ownership over the initiative.” Grameen U Best Practice Takeaways Quantify the impact that a donation has. and quantified! Students can win points for their campus for actions as simple as putting a comment on Facebook. invited to visit our Grameen America headquarters in New York and will receive VIP passes for Grameen America Day. documentary screening rights. 50 Students and U.g. The One Campaign ONE Campus Challenge counts points by asking students to “report their actions” by filling out a form that provides evidence that they completed the action. “Every $1. ONE runs monthly challenges. and run with creative ideas to spread awareness about ONE on their campuses by offering amazing end-of-the-year prizes such as trips to DC for a ONE conference and a trip to Africa for the top motivated students. a campus can win 50 points if a student becomes a fan of ONE on Facebook.” “Remember that every $1. trips to DC by selected representatives of the winning school(s).S. This will serve to inspire all of Grameen U Clubs on different campuses with new ideas and creative ways to fight against poverty. The One Campaign has successfully mobilized students to make videos.” “Campus Reps will report back to the Grameen U President through a monthly check-in call and will post on our Grameen U blog.500 raised represents one loan to help a low-income family lift itself out of poverty. (E.
When most students hear “microfinance. to incentivize students to pay closer attention to domestic microfinance.S. ACCION USA must make the case for the impact of an unrestricted grant. Campus Kiva (online lending). MoreMarbles. and the Gumball Challenge (fundraising and social entrepreneurship) are already popular amongst student networks that want to do something to support microfinance Source: Interviews Students are drawn to microfinance because they can see the direct impact of their fundraising efforts from their ability to get their money back.” they automatically 51 In order for non-loan funds to become popular. ACCION USA should present a good story of the interesting history of domestic microfinance and its place in the context of Students and U.com (consulting).Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) Final Table of Findings and Recommendations Final List of Findings Organizations like ACCION International (fundraising via Microbike). In the messaging of its student partnerships program. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . the $2 Per Day Challenge (fundraising). (See: Impact of $1 donation. or my attempt to quantify the impact) Recommendations to ACCION USA (according to findings) Rather than spend a lot of time focusing on the creation of new action guides for fundraising or awareness campaigns. Many of the student teams that participate in the $2 Per Day Challenge or Gumball Challenge fundraise for the purpose of raising loans for KIVA. ACCION USA can make potential partnerships with these organizations public on its website and encourage students to indicate their interest in supporting ACCION USA after signing up for these challenges. ACCION USA can offer publicity on its student website for the student teams that are the most successful at lending to ACCION USA’s clients on KIVA. ACCION USA can partner with organizations that are already managing enthusiastic networks of students who support microfinance.
Facebook is a great.studentsforaccion.S. Buy Local” t-shirts to the editors of the best videos.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) think “poverty alleviation” and “international microfinance. In addition. ACCION USA might do well launch a Student for ACCION USA facebook page that.org to take off. ACCION USA may also opt to award small prizes such as client merchandise or “Lend Local. There is potential in the idea of supporting small businesses by connecting web-savvy student volunteers with entrepreneurs who may not be as web-savvy. Liabilities issues. publicity for the individual and the student organization. when “liked. Automatic prizes for students include recognition. Facebook makes Facebook-website integrations easy with its social media plugins. international microfinance.” can feed updates and links to the newsfeeds of its supporters. In order for the forum on www. however. There are liability issues involved with 52 Instead of asking students to support microentrepreneurs through business consulting Students and U. must be addressed. Sources: interviews.” Source: Survey. or have a stake in the success of the forum. Convincing students of the importance of domestic microfinance and the potential for students to make an impact must be done well on the student website. direct observation of student club websites ACCION USA should challenge students to make Youtube videos about U. Given many students’ tendency to log in to Facebook frequently as a stressreducing activity. easy-to-use tool for link sharing and communication. (See next bullet). students must either have an incentive for visiting the website to check updates regularly. ACCION USA should perhaps first issue a 1-minute challenge video and then ask students to enter the contest by “replying” to that video. Many website forums suffer from the lack of being revisited. Twitter.S. and a line on the resume. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA . ACCION USA should utilize Facebook as much as possible for its student website. Interviews Students are savvy with technology and are comfortable with social media presences on Facebook. microfinance. and Youtube. An ACCION USA-run Youtube contest can generate great publicity for ACCION USA and domestic microfinance.
ACCION USA can ask students to get involved with websites such as Moremarbles. This space can be a forum or a website – or a forum on a website.” ACCION USA may fill a true need by providing a space for students to network and interact with microfinance professionals and other student clubs. This model relieves ACCION USA of the responsibility of vetting both clients and volunteers and making sure that clear expectations are laid out before the start of the project. ACCION USA might refer the client to a partner organization that could then decide whether or not it could help the client.S. ACCION USA may not have the time or the expertise to manage student volunteers who want to support microentrepreneurs directly.com or another official organization whose focus is on consulting. In the cases where an ACCION USA client could benefit from the services of a student volunteer (the creation of a Facebook profile for online marketing purposes. When trying to formulate a mission for the group it would have been very helpful to have had input from leaders in the field to determine in what areas students can have the most impact.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) allowing students host a training workshop or “consult” microentrepeneurs using ACCION USA resources or the ACCION USA name Source: Interviews without direct supervision. for example). Source: Survey Students are interested in meeting and speaking to microfinance 53 ACCION USA can challenge students to find potential microfinance clients in their own communities by doing some market research on the financial resources available to Students and U. An online catalog of the different organizations involved in supporting domestic microfinance and the best ways to contact them may be helpful as well. “Collaboration with other student groups and microfinance institutions to determine the biggest needs and niches for student involvement would be fantastic. Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .
Microfinance: Final Report to ACCION USA .S. and speaker engagements to students It is important that for the design of the student program. ACCION USA give students the freedom to be creative while acting within the parameters of ACCION USA’s program goals microbusiness owners and 54 Students and U. Interviews Students can be very innovative at fund raising. and inviting speakers to campus Source: Interviews There are liability issues involved with the “Guarantee Fund” idea Source: Interviews Students want to speak to microfinance practitioners. ACCION USA may think of simply asking students to refer eligible clients without the strings of the guarantee fund Offer internships.Linda Peng – August 2010 (edited September 2010) clients. Source: Survey. webinars. Source: Survey. hosting events. Interviews Instead of asking students to back up the loan through a “guarantee fund” and incurring liability risks in accepting a client whose ability to repay is risky.
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