Interactive Web site enables people to directly fund poor entrepreneurs
Oak Brook, Ill., (Oct. 26, 2008) — Opportunity International, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing microfinance organizations, today announced the launch of OptINnow™, a new initiative in the fight against global poverty. OptINnow connects people who want to make a difference with the working poor around the world who need small business loans to lift themselves out of poverty.
Through the new online donation model, consumers “opt in” – for as little as $25 – to become part of a global movement to help transform the lives of entrepreneurs throughout the developing world. Millions of poor people, many of whom live on less than $2 a day, struggle to fund businesses and make enough money for their families to survive. A single loan from OptINnow starts the cycle of poverty alleviation, helping poor entrepreneurs to start or expand a business, and enabling them to provide better nutrition and schooling for their families and job creation in their communities.
“Donating on OptINnow.org is simple and the impact is powerful,” said Mark Smalls, senior vice president of marketing, Opportunity International. “As our clients repay the loans, the money is loaned again and again to help many more entrepreneurs. It’s giving that keeps going.”
Visitors to OptINnow.org can read the story of each entrepreneur, which includes her or his name, photo, business profile and business needs, and then select one or more clients to support. The site currently features entrepreneurs in Kenya, the Philippines and Mexico, with more countries to be added in the coming weeks.
Beyond funding a loan, people can purchase gift cards and encourage others to fund an Opportunity International client through OptINnow. Supporters also can start groups of their friends, school, church or business associates to fund loans collectively, engaging more people in Opportunity International’s mission to help end world poverty.
“OptINnow will assist us in reaching our goal to help 100 million poor people work their way out of poverty by 2015,” said Christopher A. Crane, president and CEO of Opportunity International. “By expanding our supporter network, we hope to create a grassroots movement to get thousands of people to reach out with a hand up to the working poor.”
Opportunity International owes a debt of thanks to Kiva.org, the pioneer in microfinance online giving, which provided advice and counsel in the creation of OptINnow. Jessica Flannery, co-founder of Kiva, has recently joined the Opportunity International board of directors. The primary difference between the two sites is that on Kiva, people make loans that are repaid to them, whereas on OptINnow, people make tax-deductible charitable donations that are used to fund a loan. When a client repays the loan, OptINnow loans the money to another entrepreneur in that country, and another and another.
All donations to OptINnow.org are processed confidentially through Google Checkout. OptINnow is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. For more information visit: www.optinnnow.org.
About Opportunity International
Opportunity International provides access to savings, small business loans, insurance and training to over five million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. Clients in over 20 countries use these financial services to start or expand a business, provide for their families, create jobs for their neighbors and build a safety net for the future. For more information, visit http://www.opportunity.org or join the conversation at http://facebook.com/opportunityintl and http://twitter.com/opportunityintl.