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Transparent Person-to-Person Donations (or Lending)
Ideated December 22nd, 2010
Very little has changed in the way that people donate money to those in need. Most people end up writing a check to a "charitable" organization that works for a cause that they might care about, or to one that has been identified as being trustworthy (most often through word-of-mouth). These donations are done in good faith; the donor can only hope that his/her money is spent for the intended purpose.  

However, this can be changed by leveraging the use of internet -- helping connect donors and donees directly, minimizing the need for intervention by a third-party. 

Inspired by the micro-lending site, Kiva.org, I propose the creation of an online "person-to-person" donation (or lending) platform that will be enforce transparency, and thereby build trust, in the donation process by exposing as much information as possible at each step. 

In order to be a successful platform of this nature, one must give the lender complete control, give them a clear understanding of what they are in for, and give them tons of feedback. How this can be piloted (focusing on lending as an example):
  • Partner with a microfinance institute/NGO in a developing nation (India, for example) and through them, source cases of people who want to set up small businesses in rural areas and who require funds to do so.
  • Post these stories on the website, and provide a fine-grained breakdown of the various costs involved in the businesses.
  • Allow users of the website to lend towards any of these costs.
  • Salient feature -- alert lenders every time their loan exchanges hands -- all the way to the actual expenditure of the money. 
  • Give lenders frequent progress reports. Create back-and-forth conversations between lenders and loanees.
Some key challenges to overcome will be:
  • Skepticism/gaining trust.
  • Scaling.
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Expertise Wanted: Social Work
Software Engineering
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Ideated By

Madhav Krishna Madhav Krishna
New York, New York
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