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Process for finding microfinance charities

Note:This page describes the process we used to identify microfinance charities in 2009-2011, and is not actively maintained.

This page outlines our process for choosing which microfinance institutions to contact for the purpose of identifying outstanding microfinance charities.

  • Our questions focus on MFIs' attention to social impact, so our first screen was evidence that an MFI had completed MixMarket's Social Performance Standards (SPS) report, a self-reported questionnaire on various issues related to social impact. As of early April 2010 (when we started this work), about 170 MFIs had completed reports.
  • We then checked whether each MFI either (a) had accepted donations recently or (b) was actively soliciting donations (according to their MixMarket profile). Of the initial 170, 114 organizations met this criterion.
  • Finally, we looked at three specific questions in each MFI's SPS report: (a) do they track clients' standards of living; (b) do they track the reasons why clients drop out of the program OR offer voluntary savings. Applying this screen left us with 59 MFIs.

In the first round, we contacted MFIs with an SPS report which were located in sub-Saharan Africa and not self-sufficient as part of our 2009 economic empowerment grant research. In the second round, we contacted three MFIs that had substantial public information available on their operations. In the third, we contacted 23 MFIs that seemed promising based on their reported drop out rate or offering of voluntary savings and amount of recent donations, or because they had been the subject of a Social Impact Monitoring case study by Imp-Act. In the fourth, we contacted the MFIs listed by Mix Market as having submitted both an SPS report and a social rating report by an independent rating agency (and which we had not yet contacted and appeared, from their website, to focus on microfinance). We also contacted three MFIs that reported both holding more than $1000 in voluntary deposits and measuring clients' standard of living. Finally, we contacted four of Kiva's top partners1 (in terms of total loaned through Kiva).

In total we emailed 43 MFIs, heard back from 25, and spoke on the phone with 18. 11 of the 18 provided us with enough information to complete a full review. The table below details the current status of communication with each of the MFIs we contacted:

Organization Reason for contact Response
AgroCapital Top Kiva partner Did not respond to our email
Al Majmoua Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Spoke to us by phone
ALSOL Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Did not respond to our email
AMK Stood out for publicly available information Review completed
Aqroinvest Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Did not respond to our email
ASKI Independent social rating report Spoke to us by phone; told us they don't use donations for microfinance
CDRO Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year They responded, but we decided not to proceed due to language barrier
CEPRODEL Independent social rating report Declined to participate in review process
CEVI Reported offering voluntary savings and measuring clients' standard of living Did not respond to our email
Chamroeun Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Review completed
Coop 20 de Abril Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year They responded, but we decided not to proceed due to language barrier
Crecer Subject of a Social Impact Monitoring case study Did not respond to our email
CREDIT Top Kiva partner Did not respond to our email
CUMO Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Review completed
DAMEN Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Review completed
Enda Inter-Arabe Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Declined to participate in review process
FDL Independent social rating report Did not respond to our email
FIE Gran Poder Independent social rating report Did not respond to our email
FINCA Peru Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Review completed
FINCA Uganda Reported offering voluntary savings and measuring clients' standard of living Did not respond to our email
FMFB Reported offering voluntary savings and non-zero donations in most recent year Review completed
Fondo Esperanza Independent social rating report Spoke to us by phone
Fonkoze Stood out for publicly available information Review not completed
Fundación Paraguaya Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Review completed
Fundeser Independent social rating report Did not respond to our email
ID-Ghana Economic empowerment grant Review completed
IMON International Top Kiva partner Did not respond to our email
Khushhali Reported offering voluntary savings and non-zero donations in most recent year Did not respond to our email
MBK Stood out for publicly available information Informed us that they are a for profit company
MEC AFER Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Did not respond to our email
Microloan Foundation Economic empowerment grant Review completed
NWTF Subject of a Social Impact Monitoring case study Phone call upcoming
ODEF Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year They responded, but we decided not to proceed due to language barrier
Prestanic Independent social rating report Did not respond to our email
PRISMA Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year They responded, but we decided not to proceed due to language barrier
PRIZMA Subject of a Social Impact Monitoring case study Did not respond to our email
Pro Mujer Bolivia Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Responded to our email after we de-prioritized this investigation
Pro Mujer Peru Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Responded to our email after we de-prioritized this investigation
Progresar Reported tracking reasons for drop out, a drop out rate of less than 25% and non-zero donations in the most recent year Review completed
Sabaragamuwa Reported offering voluntary savings and measuring clients' standard of living Did not respond to our email
Sinapi Aba Trust Top Kiva partner Phone call upcoming
Small Enterprise Foundation Economic empowerment grant Review completed
VFC Reported offering voluntary savings and non-zero donations in most recent year Spoke to us by phone