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Virtual Volunteers

credit-suisse-sm The “Virtual Volunteering” initiative is an ongoing collaboration with Credit Suisse to match enthusiastic, skilled Credit Suisse employees with Accion and CFI projects who could benefit from their support. Through this initiative, teams of Credit Suisse employees lend their time and expertise on issues like research, writing, strategy, human resources, marketing, data analysis, web site development, and IT, while gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing microfinance and financial inclusion.

The 2014 Virtual Volunteering cycle includes projects in three CFI program areas: Investing in Inclusive Finance, Financial Inclusion 2020, and Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities. Accion’s Training and Capacity Building team is also supported by two groups of volunteers working to improve and expand our capacity building resources and knowledge sharing efforts.

The Virtual Volunteering program was launched in 2011, when volunteers supported four programs across the CFI.  In total, over the four years of the program, more than 65 volunteers have supported approximately 20 projects. Virtual Volunteers’ efforts have resulted in engaging blog posts, innovative research and tools, and insightful recommendations that inform Accion and CFI programs’ strategic direction. A sampling includes:
  • Through research, data analysis, interviews with leading experts, a team of volunteers created an easy-to-digest map of the fast-evolving impact investing landscape. They presented their work at a spring 2014 convening of the Financial Inclusion Equity Council.
  • Volunteer Vipin Gupta embarked on an intensive study of barriers to financial inclusion for persons with disabilities (PWD) in India, analyzing the concerns and perceptions of both MFI staff and clients. The findings are chronicled in a recent report, Making Microfinance Accessible to Persons With Disabilities: Awareness and Attitudes Among Indian Microfinance Institutions as well as a blog post.   
  • In 2013, the Investing in Inclusive Finance team worked with a group of volunteers to create a comprehensive library of relevant tools, case studies, articles, papers, and other resources that currently exist on risk management in the microfinance industry. This Risk Management library was posted as a “Hot Topic” on the Microfinance Gateway.  
  • A team supporting the Smart Campaign interviewed a variety of investors to understand the degree to which the Client Protection Principles are translated into due diligence processes, monitoring, and reporting.  Through this effort, the Smart Campaign gained a deeper understanding of how the CPPs are in use and mapped out an approach to this crucial stakeholder group. See their findings here
  • Volunteers have analyzed access to financial services for PWD in markets like the Philippines, India, and Mexico; researched new entrants in financial inclusion like fast-moving consumer goods companies, and surveyed global examples of youth asset-building or asset-transfer schemes, releasing their findings on CFI’s blog. Read all CFI Virtual Volunteering blog posts here.