Monday, 28 October 2013

Bad Business

Mr Hossen 

The unintentional effects of microcredit schemes in developing countries:

  • As of December 2011, more than 34 million Bangladeshis had accessed microcredit since 1997, when it began collecting data
  • Of those 34 million, more than 26 million live under the poverty line - on less than $1.25 a day
  • There are currently 20.65 million borrowers in Bangladesh
  • It is estimated the sector constitutes around 3% of GDP

These lenders were originally set up to help lift people out of poverty by offering small loans to people who do not qualify for traditional banking credit, to encourage entrepreneurship and empower women.

This is why I worry when Justin Greening starts explaining why we need to stop sending aid and set up businesses instead. Venture Philanthropy may sound like a shiny new word to fix the world's problems, but let's just evaluate what excessive lending has managed to achieve in our own countries - such as the UK - where the gap between rich and poor, the haves and the have-nots, is widening year on year. 

Governments have been able to slow the process, but not stop it. Taking an ideology we can't even manage ourselves into countries with people who don't have a basic level of education in order to understand or question the concepts we're pushing at them, is a really, really bad idea. In this instance, immoral.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Benefits Calculator

According to Turn2Us:

The UK has 13m in poverty - and £19bn in unclaimed benefits.

Check out their online calculator to see whether you or your members are eligible for additional help.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Skills Platform

Had a message about Skills Platform the other day. Looks like a great idea, both for organisations looking for training and assistance, and for consultants looking to give it.

The first version went live this week so you can register and find out more now, then be ready for full launch in December when the following features go live:

  • Your provider profile matched to user needs
  • Fully searchable in the best search engine in this sector
  • Go to market with a new service in less than 20 mins
  • Take bookings and payments without a penny invested in tech
  • Spin off your profile page into your own minisite in minutes...FOC
  • Test the market for services before you develop them
  • Free for users and no income no fee on providers' transactions

So far it's been more than two years in development with help from 500 people in charities, social enterprises and service providers. The Government even invested over £1m in it!

If you sell a service through them they will take 10% of the fee up to a maximum of £50. If you register before 2nd December 2013, that will be 5% up to £25 until 31st May 2013.

Thursday, 3 October 2013


Want to create some funky advertising logos or event flyers, but find PhotoShop expensive and hard to fathom?

Check out Fotor. Do lots of fun things with your photographs, slap on a QR code, and away you go. Advertising made easy. Something to keep your volunteers quiet for an afternoon.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Mocrosoft Corporate Citizenship

Website outlining how Microsoft technology can help your organisation. Scroll to the bottom and select the size of your organisation for tailored info.

Funds for NGOs also has some info on Microsoft's software grants to empower young people.

And there's a couple of previous post you might find useful on nonprofits and technology: CT Exchange and Charity Digital News.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Giftaid Online

Gift Aid it - Lowry Museum, Manchester

HMRC is reminding charities that from 1 October they must make Gift Aid repayment claims using the Charities Online service.

It has sent 126,000 letters to charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) to let them know about the deadline. From that date they will not be able to use the old R68i claim form.

Gift Aid online was launhced five months ago. Since then, over 33,492 charities have registered to claim Gift Aid online.

Andrew Edwards, HMRC’s Head of Charities, said: "Using Charities Online to make a Gift Aid repayment claim is quicker and typically takes only three days, rather than the 26 days that it took using the R68(i) paper claim form. We worked with charities and developed the online service in response to their feedback.”

If for any reason a charity does not have access to the Internet, it will have to make claims on a new ChR1 paper form, available from the HMRC Charities Helpline on 0845 302 0203.