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« Hope for China's Earthquake Survivors, Trash Collectors, Autistic Children, and Blind Orphans | Main | Stories from Inner Mongolia: Monthly Repayments on Long-Term Investments? »

December 19, 2008


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Jake de Grazia

I think Sean is right to think of a Wokai investor-contributor-lender's return accruing to microentrepreneurs and growing MFIs, but I also think Wokai has the potential to offer valuable (though non-financial) return to investors.

Wokai can offer investors connection to a faraway place and its people, education about a faraway (but worldwide applicable) poverty alleviation tool, real stories about real changes in real lives, and proof that everyone can (USD 50 at a time) help make meaningful change.

Makes me think of Jack Nicholson, Stacey Monk, Epic Change, and Ndugu...



My view has always been that a donation in an NGO's progam is an investment in the community, and that the key to an NGO successfully raising money is being able to show that an investment in you will have a wider impact on society/ issue than were they to invest in another group/ program.


Leslie Forman

Thanks Jake and Rich for your insightful comments!

I like your emphasis on the qualitative returns that Wokai can deliver to investors. I think we need to emphasize these benefits more, along with the value of including people in a dynamic international community focused on empowering people in China to lift themselves from poverty.

I think that this logic makes a lot of sense if the prospective donor/investor has already stated a desire to invest in the issue. This seems to be the case in CSR programs in China, but it might be a harder sell to our contacts in the US whose connections to China are less formally established. Hope to see you soon!



I will agree that asking donors in the US to invest in a China program may be difficult, but in general this is the terminology I prefer to use for many reasons... one of which being donation and investment have very different meanings, and while many feel a donation brings little in return (and there are lot of questions about that), an investment (unless it is in US bank) should. Selling point.

I will probably have some BJ time coming up soon on Hands On/ Crossroads business. Send me email with your current details.


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