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Microfinance: Changing Lives with Small Loans

31 Jul

This article originally appears in Forbes.

 
7/24/2012 @ 12:26PM

Microfinance as a Tool to Alleviate Poverty

Amy Neumann Amy Neumann, Dell

For millions of people without access to traditional banking, the internet is a lot more than a place to share the latest family photos. It’s an opportunity to tell their stories and gain access to small loans that can change their lives.

Just 10 percent of the global population has access to traditional banking, according the Gates Foundation. To bridge the gap, microfinance institutions step in. Microfinance entails loans of as little as $25 to unemployed or low-income individuals or groups who would otherwise have no other means of gaining financial services, providing low-income people with opportunities to become self-sufficient.

Back in 1974, a Bengali man named Muhammad Yunus created the concept of microfinance with Grameen Bank, winning him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for the dramatic global impact of his idea. The World Bank estimates that more than 500 million people have benefitted from microfinance to date.

Different than charity, these loans are repaid to the individual lenders. Since 2005, Kiva, a person-to-person microlending organization, has provided more than $329 million from 786,000 lenders in 62 countries, with the astonishing repayment rate of 98.97 percent. Borrowers are able to tell their stories online, along with details of their business idea – say, opening a shop or buying materials to make goods by hand.

For as little as $25, you can help someone launch a business through Kiva.org.

Kate Cochran, COO of education microlender Vittana, notes the ripple effect these small loans can have across entire families and even generations. “In India, an education can increase earning power by 200 to 300 percent. In many cases, siblings are able to pay for younger brothers and sisters to complete their education with that extra income, and the upward cycle repeats.”

As success stories flourish, continuing innovations are happening in the space. Numerous entrants in the 2012 Dell Social Innovation Challenge involved creative aspects of microfinance  in their business plans. Other microfinance organizations (MFI’s) include ACCION, Microplace, and Grameen America. Many MFI’s also offer microloans in the U.S. for entrepreneurs with solid business plans but who don’t qualify for traditional bank loans.

Global Philanthropy Group partner Maggie Nielson, who helped develop and implement the United Nation’s Year of Microcredit  program in 2005, sums it up nicely: “People just want access to the same financial tools we have so that they can help themselves. They don’t want someone else to build them a big project or give them a handout. They are perfectly capable of creating their own success even though they weren’t born into the same circumstances. That is the kind of assistance anyone can give. You can literally change someone’s life.”

Thank You Everyone Who Supported #12DaysofGiving! $13,725 Raised!

29 Dec

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.  ~G.K. Chesterton

It’s incredible to think about how everyone came together in social media and in 12 Days of Giving, donated $13,725!  Words alone cannot express enough gratitude…the thrill of seeing the teamwork and passion around this group effort of giving, and the impact that resulted!  Thanks to the 12 Champions and 12 Causes and to Crowdrise for sharing these amazing causes with all of your friends!  Wow.  Thousands of small, meaningful actions really can change the world, and social media proves that every day!

Here’s a list of the 212 individual donations #12DaysofGiving received.  THANK YOU!

:: Thanks! ~>     Rick and Kathy    :: Thanks! ~>     Kathy Meyer
:: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous    :: Thanks! ~>     Hoang
:: Thanks! ~>     Zee from D town !!!    :: Thanks! ~>     Callie Davis
:: Thanks! ~>     Sam & Patti Mccormck    :: Thanks! ~>     Lori McIlwain
:: Thanks! ~>     Tharin Clarijs    :: Thanks! ~>     Cheryl Burgess
:: Thanks! ~>     Shonali Burke    :: Thanks! ~>     @shikemore
:: Thanks! ~>     Sally Stokes    :: Thanks! ~>     April J. Rudin
:: Thanks! ~>     Paull Young    :: Thanks! ~>     @DoinaOncel
:: Thanks! ~>     Fiona & Waffle    :: Thanks! ~>     Jeanine Becker
:: Thanks! ~>     Bridger Hammond    :: Thanks! ~>     @lindsayfultz
:: Thanks! ~>     Harlie Hammond    :: Thanks! ~>     Adam L Stanley
:: Thanks! ~>     Lisa Brookes Kift    :: Thanks! ~>     Mitch, Jody, Derek & Josh
:: Thanks! ~>     Lisa Brookes Kift    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Haney Armstrong    :: Thanks! ~>     fareastphillips
:: Thanks! ~>     Stephanie McAuliffe    :: Thanks! ~>     Paula in Kansas
:: Thanks! ~>     Beth Kanter     :: Thanks! ~>     RachelintheOC
:: Thanks! ~>     Debby Lee    :: Thanks! ~>     @kanter
:: Thanks! ~>     Beth, Walter, Harry, and Sara    :: Thanks! ~>     Gabrielle Gardner
:: Thanks! ~>     Todd Jordan    :: Thanks! ~>     Carolyn Gardner – @OurTownMagazine
:: Thanks! ~>     In Memory of B. Ochs    :: Thanks! ~>     @lisadekleyn
:: Thanks! ~>     Chris Brogan    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     AnnTran_    :: Thanks! ~>     Dave J.
:: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann    :: Thanks! ~>     Barbara Clark
:: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann    :: Thanks! ~>     @RunningMomsRock
:: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann    :: Thanks! ~>     Melinda Hersh
:: Thanks! ~>     Gina Stark    :: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann
:: Thanks! ~>     Chanti and Lori    :: Thanks! ~>     Jessica Northey
:: Thanks! ~>     Marie Jo Dauphin    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Suada Duvette    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Zan McColloch-Lussier    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     @RunningMomsRock    :: Thanks! ~>     Matt Russell
:: Thanks! ~>     @angelicrica    :: Thanks! ~>     Matt Russell
:: Thanks! ~>     Janelle Allen    :: Thanks! ~>     @RunningMomsRock via Michelle Sedas
:: Thanks! ~>     AnnTran_    :: Thanks! ~>     Paul Bernardin and Glen Radewich
:: Thanks! ~>     Joe Baker    :: Thanks! ~>     Andrea Robin
:: Thanks! ~>     Gary Maberry    :: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann
:: Thanks! ~>     CrowdRise    :: Thanks! ~>     Aly’s Grammy
:: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous    :: Thanks! ~>     Kelly Vanicek
:: Thanks! ~>     CrowdRise    :: Thanks! ~>     NATIONAL AUTISM ASSOCIATION INC
:: Thanks! ~>     Michelle Sedas    :: Thanks! ~>     Leigh A. Wilcox
:: Thanks! ~>     @RunningMomsRock    :: Thanks! ~>     Larry and Val Ranseth
:: Thanks! ~>     @RunningMomsRock    :: Thanks! ~>     Sue O’Kane
:: Thanks! ~>     Mark    :: Thanks! ~>     Michelle Sedas
:: Thanks! ~>     Diane Boynton    :: Thanks! ~>     Jenna
:: Thanks! ~>     Sissy Northey    :: Thanks! ~>     Michelle Sedas
:: Thanks! ~>     Sueanne Shirzay    :: Thanks! ~>     Amie Hoff
:: Thanks! ~>     Navy    :: Thanks! ~>     SteveAkinsSEO
:: Thanks! ~>     Maggie    :: Thanks! ~>     Amanda Hite
:: Thanks! ~>     Yely    :: Thanks! ~>     Joyce Cherrier & Family
:: Thanks! ~>     Rial Allen    :: Thanks! ~>     Matt R.
:: Thanks! ~>     Barbara Masters    :: Thanks! ~>     Marilyn Terrell
:: Thanks! ~>     Zoetica    :: Thanks! ~>     Tyler, Lana, Lola
:: Thanks! ~>     Paul Sceppaguercio    :: Thanks! ~>     Kevin Green’s RockTheReTweet
:: Thanks! ~>     Sue McFarland    :: Thanks! ~>     Frank Sonnenberg
:: Thanks! ~>     Lisa Hammond    :: Thanks! ~>     Matt Russell
:: Thanks! ~>     Rial Allen    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Kristen Paul    :: Thanks! ~>     John
:: Thanks! ~>     nerdgirlagogo    :: Thanks! ~>     KATHLEEN MCCORMICK
:: Thanks! ~>     @mmangen (Michelle Mangen)    :: Thanks! ~>     colleen holt
:: Thanks! ~>     Betty & JC    :: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann
:: Thanks! ~>     Lori Moreno    :: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann
:: Thanks! ~>     Gina Stark    :: Thanks! ~>     Matt Russell
:: Thanks! ~>     Gina Stark    :: Thanks! ~>     Matt Russell
:: Thanks! ~>     Gina Stark    :: Thanks! ~>     Hoang
:: Thanks! ~>     Gina Stark    :: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann
:: Thanks! ~>     Gina Stark    :: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann
:: Thanks! ~>     Gina Stark    :: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann
:: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous    :: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann
:: Thanks! ~>     Gina Stark    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Beatriz Breton    :: Thanks! ~>     Harry Halvorsen
:: Thanks! ~>     Scott Levy – FuelinternetMarketing.com    :: Thanks! ~>     Michelle Sedas
:: Thanks! ~>     Christopher’s Computers    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Aaron & Marina Knudsen    :: Thanks! ~>     Beatriz Breton
:: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous    :: Thanks! ~>     @MomsOfAmerica
:: Thanks! ~>     Beth Kanter    :: Thanks! ~>     Marty McPadden
:: Thanks! ~>     Social | Impact Consulting    :: Thanks! ~>     Christina Lizaso
:: Thanks! ~>     Esther Neumann    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Kathy Lee    :: Thanks! ~>     Liv Violette
:: Thanks! ~>     Gwendolyn Gleason-Ecochiccouture    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Kirsten Abernathy    :: Thanks! ~>     Dennis Crowley
:: Thanks! ~>     John Neumann    :: Thanks! ~>     Ann Tran Via GN
:: Thanks! ~>     Sarah & Chris Dorsett    :: Thanks! ~>     Aimee Allenback
:: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous    :: Thanks! ~>     diane starr
:: Thanks! ~>     Katie McCormick    :: Thanks! ~>     Paula Kiger
:: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Lalita Raman    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous    :: Thanks! ~>     Zyljana  M.
:: Thanks! ~>     Henry Chu    :: Thanks! ~>     tracey taylor
:: Thanks! ~>     Geekbabe    :: Thanks! ~>     AnnTran_
:: Thanks! ~>     Christina Luna    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Showshan Yang-Ting    :: Thanks! ~>     Michelle Sedas
:: Thanks! ~>     Michelle Sedas    :: Thanks! ~>     Kaili Hawley
:: Thanks! ~>     Michelle Sedas    :: Thanks! ~>     April R
:: Thanks! ~>     Danielle James    :: Thanks! ~>     Beth Kanter
:: Thanks! ~>     Diana Adams    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous    :: Thanks! ~>     Beatriz Breton
:: Thanks! ~>     Bill Conlon    :: Thanks! ~>     Anne Thomas
:: Thanks! ~>     Geno Carter    :: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann
:: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous    :: Thanks! ~>     Amy Neumann
:: Thanks! ~>     In memory of Frances Richardson    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     In Memory of Frances Richardson    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     In memory of Frances Richardson    :: Thanks! ~>     KATHLEEN MCCORMICK
:: Thanks! ~>     Natalie “Frugalista” McNeal    :: Thanks! ~>     Anonymous
:: Thanks! ~>     Ryan Setter    :: Thanks! ~>     Beth Kanter
:: Thanks! ~>     cw    :: Thanks! ~>     Beth Kanter
:: Thanks! ~>     cw

Podcast (iTunes) #2: Amy Neumann and @CharityIdeas – on ClaireDiazOrtiz.com

5 Dec

Thank you to one of my favorite Social Good Stars, Claire Diaz-Ortiz!  This piece originally appears on ClaireDiazOrtiz.com – http://clairediazortiz.com/podcast-2-amy-neumann-and-charityideas/

The podcast is also available for free on iTunes – “The Claire Diaz-Ortiz Podcast” >> “Amy Neumann & @CharityIdeas”

Podcast #2: Amy Neumann and @CharityIdeas

December 1, 2011 By
Alright folks.  My second podcast episodeis live.  Join me as I chat with Amy Neumann (@charityideason the Twitters) about her passion for technology and how she got started in the business of world changing.  Here!

Click above for the podcast on ClaireDiazOrtiz.com or check it out on iTunes.

Twitter for Good #mybook

Filed Under: Blogging, Podcast

Social Good Stars – Beth Kanter (@kanter)

19 Nov

This post originally appears in the Huffington Post in my new series for Impact, “Social Good Stars.”  Thank you to the amazing Beth Kanter!

Writer, speaker and social media consultant for nonprofits and businesses
Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

Social Good Stars: Beth Kanter

Posted: 11/18/11 12:43 PM ET

This is the first in a new Impact series, #SocialGoodStars. The people highlighted here are passionate, dedicated philanthropists, strengths to their communities, and social media masters. They also happily share their vast knowledge with others, making them shine as leaders in the Social Good world.

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it. ~Edith Wharton

Some people stand out as an example of a person who is indeed the bright candle, from whom others can help spread light. Beth Kanter, well-known in nonprofit and social media circles alike, is one of those people. She has been named by Fast Company Magazine as one of the most influential women in technology and one of Business Week’s “Voices of Innovation for Social Media.” She is the author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, one of the longest running and most popular blogs for nonprofits, and the book, “The Networked Nonprofit” with Allison Fine. She is also co-founder of Zoetica Media. Most importantly, Beth spends a lot of time listening to others, curating key information, and sharing it so other people can also be Social Good Stars.

2011-11-15-Bethkanter.jpg

Beth Kanter in Kenya with a winner of her book.

With 32 years in nonprofit social good, Beth is the perfect person to answer some pressing questions about current and future trends. Our interview is below.

You famously co- authored the book, “The Networked Nonprofit” with Allison Fine, and have worked with social good luminaries such as Claire Diaz-Ortiz of Twitter and Randi Zuckerberg of Facebook.  With such legendary background knowledge, can you reveal any social-media-for-social-good trends you see?

What’s top of mind at this moment is this stat:  In 2020, 40% of the world population will have grown up knowing nothing but the Internet and social networks.  Think about that. I’m a baby boomer and my first job was with the Boston Symphony in late 70’s, early 80’s.  I was in development and wanted to see examples of membership or annual fund brochures from other symphonies.  So, I wrote letters to about 20 of them, asking for a copy.  It took a month, but I then had a great collection of ideas — which was good because the annual conference when we could exchange that sort of stuff was six months away.  Now, we can learn in real time from our peers. Think how fast ideas are shared and copied from nonprofit to nonprofit.  I also watched my son last night do his homework.  He is 12.  He had to do a PowerPoint on Portugal.   He had a PowerPoint document uploaded into Google, was collaborating on it with two friends, and they were talking to each other on Skype. Our world is changing before our eyes and organizations really need to think about what this means for their work.  I think about the younger people in nonprofits — and those like free agents outside, and how important it is for nonprofit leaders to empower younger, millenials on staff and outside their walls.

Who is a personal  hero/ine in the social good space?  What makes them unique?

This is such a hard question — I have so many heroes/heroines.  But, I will name one.  Kristin Row-Finkbeiner the co-founder of Momsrising. “Where Moms and people who love them go to change our world.” They are such a fantastic example of working in this agile and transparent way and leveraging social media for on the ground social change.

 How important is “networking” to you in social media (and IRL)?  Has social media made it faster, slower, more or less relevant?

Definitely faster. I’ve always been a networker, before the tools — that is seeking people out, introducing people, and learning from the network/community.  The challenge when you add online tools is that you can connect to so many more people that you run the risk of having shallow relationships.  I have a lot of connections or friends, and I often feel that I don’t get a chance to just to chat and get to know people in a deeper way. These days I get a lot of requests for a lot of things. I find that introducing people to other people where there is a mutual need or potential for reciprocity is a good thing.

 What’s the “killer app” of social media right now?

Tools come and ago — and they change faster than humans.  Right now the killer app or type of app is content curation.  Less about the tools, more about the process.  I’m really excited about the whole concept of people whose job it is to make sense of information on the web. They used to be called journalists — but we have so much information available to us now that the sorting and making sense of it is a job in and of itself. This primer on content curation talks about why.

Do you have a favorite “social media success story” for this this year?

Yes, grist.org. They use a unique combination of entertaining content and environmental reporting, dubbed the “The Daily Show of the environmental movement.”  They have inspired a whole new generation of environmentalists who don’t take themselves so seriously while creating on-the-ground change.

What personal projects and charities do you love & support?

My main charity is the Sharing Foundation which helps kids in Cambodia.  My two kids were adopted from that country – and supporting the organizations is a way to give back.

I’m also on the board of Ushahidi , a non-profit tech company that develops free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. I support a number of other organizations in small ways.

2011-11-15-bethhat.jpg

Beth Kanter

You can learn more about Beth at BethKanter.org and follow her on Twitter @kanter.

Amy Neumann is a writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her CharityIdeasBlog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.


Social Media for Social Good

24 Oct

Thank you to Arizona State University for having me as a featured workshop presenter at your 19th annual Sustainability Conference!  Held at ASU Lodestar’s Dessert Willow Conference Center in Phoenix, Arizona, October 14, 2011, it featured some of the most brilliant minds on Collective Impact.  This year’s theme was “‘Go fast, go alone; go far, go together’: Collective Impact.”  Nearly 250 nonprofit leaders, community partners, students and professionals from across all sectors – business, government, general public, and nonprofit participated.

In the 90-minute Workshop, we covered a multitude of reasons why social media works so well for social good, and got many brilliant questions.  Although we can’t recreate the full session, the entire Keynote presentation can be downloaded for free  HERE.

[And I’m always reachable on amy@amyneumann.com. ]

Warren Buffett himself has quoted the wise ancient Chinese proverb — “To go fast, go alone; to go far, go together.” And it’s eloquently perfect for social media.

To put it another equally eloquent way, when thinking of social media:

“Luck is quite predictable.  If you want more luck, take more chances.  Be more active.  Show up more often.” ~ Brian Tracy

Essentially, that’s what social media is.  Conversations between people interested in the same things, in places convenient to them, when it’s handy.  If you’re in all the right places, at all the right times, with all the right messages, everyone will happily work together, almost instinctually.  That’s the message.  And that’s what I believe is the theme of social media, for Collective Impact, and for Social Good.

Why I Love QR Codes – Amy Neumann

2 Oct

Scan Amy Neumann's QR code for more!

Simply put, I love QR Codes because they make getting key information directly into someone’s hands easier and faster.

QR Codes, short for “Quick Response”, are these funky boxes (left) that when scanned link to more information online. [ I like using @daqri because of the number and types of links you can embed behind it.  It’s in private beta, and here’s their site, where you can request an invite:  daqri.com.]

This one shown is my personal QR Code, which I have on my business cards, sites, blogs, and pretty much everywhere.  If you download the free daqri app you can see the 8 links behind it (which can include PDFs, sites, maps, video, link to call directly, and more.)

These are brilliant to use for nonprofit events, where you can add directions and maps, info like an auction catalog, a way to purchase tickets and make donations via mobile like give.mobi, links to sites, direct click-to-call, and more in one spot.  You can upload videos of prior events and post pictures and videos of the event real-time.

Here are a couple great examples of using QR Codes:

What are your thoughts on QR Codes?

Twitter’s Claire Diaz-Ortiz @ClaireD: HOW TO Use Twitter for Good!

26 Sep

Twitter’s Claire Diaz-Ortiz (@ClaireD): HOW TO Use Twitter for Good!

“How can *I* use Twitter for Good?”

As a consultant to nonprofits and business about social media strategy, Twitter is without a doubt what garners the most curiosity and questions.  Having heard countless uplifting tales of how it can help people in disasters, break fundraising records, and create global awareness, people everywhere want to know: 

What’s the secret to Twitter?

 “Be a Force for Good.”
                    ~ Twitter’s operating principle

Claire Diaz-Ortiz, aka @ClaireD, Twitter’s Philanthropy & Social Good Expert.

Luckily, the day has arrived that Twitter’s own philanthropy and social good leader, Claire Diaz-Ortiz (pictured), has written the book on just that: the definitive How-To guide, “Twitter for Good”.  From co-founding a nonprofit for AIDS orphans (Hope Runs) in Kenya and using Twitter there in 2007, to helping the world’s largest nonprofits and socially responsible companies, Claire has seen amazing uses of Twitter and shares some best practices in her book.

Claire became impressed with Twitter impact for good while using it in 2007 in Kenya, running her nonprofit Hope Runs.

Having been inspired by Claire’s discussion of her T.W.E.E.T. model as panelists together at Dell’s Social Innovation Competition earlier this year, I asked her how we can all “Be a Force for Good.”

  • What do you consider most important for organizations who want to use Twitter for Good effectively?

“First, developing a strategy is the answer to ‘What am I doing on Twitter?’  I create the 5-Step framework called T.W.E.E.T. to help with that and for using Twitter:  Target, Write, Engage, Explore, Track.  It works because it’s simple.”

  • What are a few examples of nonprofits really leveraging the relationships from Twitter to impact awareness and fundraising or other key goals?

Pepsi Refresh showed what it means to pique the interest of the Twitter audience, and draw them to a site to learn more and take action.  Pepsi took $20 million, and later included another $1.3 million for the Gulf, and used Twitter to help local causes be broadcast across the nation and beyond to win grants to help their communities by voting.

Mark Horvath, well-known as @hardlynormal on Twitter and founder of InvisiblePeople.tv, is another brilliant example.  He travels the US and Canada interviewing our homeless friends on video and gives them a voice, a voice everyone can now hear because of the reach of Twitter.”

  • Twitter does numerous internal philanthropy projects, including your pro-bono Tweets for Good program.  Can you talk about that?

“Within our advertising platform, we offer pro-bono programs for non-profits already engaged on Twitter.  Promoted Tweets are a tool advertisers use to promote specific campaigns via Tweets on Twitter. The Promoted Tweets for Good programs is an application-based pro-bono program serving a number of non-profit organizations each year. We offer a second type of Promoted Tweets for Good ad hoc to organizations involved in disaster relief in times of crisis or civil unrest.”

        “People are basically good…When you give them a simple tool that helps them exhibit that behavior, they will prove it to you every day.”
                ~ Biz Stone

For more information on Claire’s book, and many more ideas, below is an informative trailer for “Twitter for Good”, which highlights additional tips and case studies.  More about programs mentioned can also be found at http://Hope140.org and http://Twitter4Good.com

The Video Trailer for the “Twitter for Good” book

I received an advance copy of “Twitter for Good” and found it incredibly helpful for both nonprofits and business, and for individuals too. ~ Amy  [Follow me on Twitter @CharityIdeas]


Claire's book, "Twitter for Good"

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