Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Giving feels good: Message from Boond

Christmas and New Year are the most festive times of the year and the moments when we remember all our near and dear ones. It is a time to share the warmth and make others know that you care and remember.

This year we at Boond decided to make this sharing of warmth and happiness a little easier and inclusive through our `Boond with Christmas` webpage.

From this site you can send your friends and family anywhere in the world Christmas and New Year cards, 2011 calendars and nice ethnic gifts (made by rural artisans supported by our partners www.eyaas.com), and the best part is that all you have to do is choose and give us the recipients address since we will pack, ship and lick the envelopes for you. And better still is that all the proceeds from your order will go towards our Boond campaign for sending Boond Development Kits to Ladakh (rather than a big office building and a know all receptionist). So this means that you will not just share the happiness of the season with your friends and family who you send the gifts but also with those who are spending a dark and cold Christmas in a remote part of India.
Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year
Russ (Cofounder Boond- a social enterprise with a powerful business model)

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Microfinance Debate: What would you do?

Minimum information and maximum media coverage has created the monster microfinance debate: greedy bloodsucking bankers or saviours of the world?.
I am particularly troubled by the fervor and timing of this debate because Diwali/Christmas/New Year is when, motivated by a spirit of thankfulness and/or spirit of saving on taxes, we do our annual bit of charitable giving. How will you give this year? The Financial Times (thank you FT) article Microfinance: small loan, big snag is a nuanced view with data from many countries. Microfinance is still about lending to people with no collateral; where traditional banking did not lend. That has not changed. What has changed is the desire to scale- more capital to benefit more poor people; while the majority of microfinance institutions, still led by dedicated entrepreneurs, stay true to the mission, different elements (in India, e.g. it is corrupt politicians worried about losing votes if the poor benefit from entrepreneurship who have garnered much media attention) have taken advantage of the situation. This does not mean that sustainability (double bottom line- do good and do well) is inherently impossible. Another FT article Perhaps microfinance isn’t such a big deal after all presents the strategy on how to deal with the pangs of going mainstream. fly under the radar- Just lets tone it down- lets not call microfinance the way to solve every problem - its just banking after all.
How will you donate this year? Whether it is Kiva or Microplace some other form of lending - I urge you to do your own homework - it is complicated and I personally do not know a single greedy bloodsucking banker in the microfinance realm.