Welcome to the Charitable Measurement Initiative!

The Charitable Measurement Initiative is a collaboration of people and organizations that are deeply committed to the belief that social change organizations can mobilize significant new and better investment if they are able to implement a measurement reporting framework that credibly communicates their real impact to donors. The Initiative is directed by GiveIndia and calls on the resources of pilot program partners Keystone Accountability, Global Giving, and New Philanthropy Capital, as well as many other organizations committed to social welfare.

The process began when we decided to combine our previous experiences in humanitarian and charitable work with our current work as corporate lawyers. We sought to find a group in India that was looking to incorporate capital markets/securities concepts in reporting and analysis to create more valuable and transparent information.

Thankfully, we were put in touch with GiveIndia. Give discussed the idea of running a pilot program implementing the Keystone framework developed by Keystone Accountability to see if we could help organizations more clearly articulate the outcomes they wanted and better communicate their actual results to donors. This was exactly what we were hoping to do and gladly agreed to donate a year of time to making this work.

While we were in London, Give put us in touch with Keystone Accountability and New Philanthropy Capital. After many meetings throughout the spring and summer, we arrived at our joint creation – the Charitable Measurement Initiative – and a plan as to how we would seek to help NGOs in India become more transparent, responsive, and efficient, as well as help donors become more engaged and involved.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Loan Sharks in the Villages

One of the biggest challenges in helping rural populations to generate steady income is getting rid of predatory lending. People often have to borrow at extreme rates (10% compounded monthly) because they don’t have other options. In addition to the high rates, these lenders also require other conditions, like making a lendee’s wife work as a maid at the lender’s home, agreeing to give a share of the profits from the sale of crops to the lender (in addition to the interest), and requiring people to cultivate the lender’s crops first. While it is paramount to stop these lending practices, the community needs to deal with the lender so when a group is first tackling these issues, it needs to find a away to engage the predatory lender and slowly remove his power. When groups try to immediately create “banks” or other options for the village, the predatory lender often retaliates against the others in the community.