It’s not news that businesses that use data get better results. But while we know this works in business, it’s still rare to see analytical rigor applied in an area like charity. This seems short-sighted. If businesses that use data see 33% more revenue and 12x profit growth, what kind of impact could data have in the work of helping humanity?
If you’re a certain kind of data nerd with aspirations of making the world of better place, you create a charity like GiveDirectly. Two friends pursuing advanced degrees in economic development at Harvard and MIT founded the organization in 2008 when they were looking for the best ROI for their own donated money.
GiveDirectly does something pretty radical for a charity: it raises money, and then gives it away to poor people in Kenya and Uganda. No strings. No requirements. Very little overhead.
This holiday season we wanted to do something as a company to contribute to those less fortunate than us. A few members of our team previously worked at companies that organize canned food drives, but I’m not a big fan. While I think that any effort to help others is worthwhile, the data indicates that canned food drives are not particularly effective. If your goal is to feed the hungry, you can help 20 times as many people by giving cash to hunger relief organizations rather than using cash to buy cans of food.
While we are proud of each of our clients, I think it’s important to spotlight one in particular that is doing a great service to humanity. LendforPeace.org is a non-profit microlending site founded by that allows individuals to make loans to specific entrepreneurs in the West Bank. The idea is that bottom-up economic development and cross-cultural collaboration can play a role in bringing about a more peaceful Middle East. The site was in private beta until their public launch yesterday evening. Over the course of their pilot they had a 100% loan repayment rate.
Some very interesting institutions are involved with Lendforpeace.org, including the Clinton Global Initiative, Ashoka (the world’s largest association of social entrepreneurs), and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s International Consulting Organization.
We’re proud to be involved with Lendforpeace.org in two ways. First of all, they are running all of their analytics on RJMetrics in order to track metrics on lenders, borrowers, loans, and donations. This data set will only get more interesting as lender activity increases. Secondly, RJMetrics is helping to fund an entrepreneur named Rabiha Al-Matahenah who needs an additional $600 to meet her $1,000 goal to expand her sewing business. Please join us and make a loan at Lendforpeace.org today.