By Nikhil Sheth, Rang De Social Investor
A year ago, I had invested Rs.2000/- in a passionate 5-minute debit card transaction, with http://www.rangde.org website through which we can make small investments directly to help small entrepreneurs in some far-off places in India where we otherwise could not travel.
Friends and family I later talked with about this, had cast doubts on the trustworthiness and effectiveness of such setups, they poo-poohed my unwise decision and our conversation had ended there…
One year on, I’m proud to announce good news : performance is a better indicator than status and appearance…. while the huge banks of the world are having such a rut from their lending and then sucking money from taxpayers, it looks like micro investment options like Rang De are getting almost 99% of all the money lent out, returned on time.
I will let the screenshots below speak for themselves — and am glad I was able to help out a small time entrepreneur in Andhra Pradesh. I now have nearly all my invested money back and am re-investing part of it with a breakfast vendor in Maharashtra.
As little as Rs.100 can be invested by anybody here, using Indian debit card or netbanking or credit card. No hidden charges — I’ve tried, tested and can personally give it a thumbs-up. You get your money back in a year, which you can have sent back to your bank account, or, use the same to help another person in a few clicks. So this is an at-your-fingertips repeating, self-sustaining “charity” where entrepreneurs gain and donors don’t really lose anything except…
…the tiny little bit of interest we’d gain with bank (and leaving stocks out of this as it’s a 1-yr duration — i cannot predict from today’s volatility). Soooo many people nit-picking on that! I like to consider THAT bit as the “charity” I’m giving — so practically speaking, in under Rs.50 or 20 (not sure what interest I’d earn in a savings account on Rs.2000 in a year, but I’m sure it won’t be much!) I have helped an entrepreneur already.
What was the last donation you made, and did it help the concerned people — like, forever? Or will you have to help the same people again, next year as well? In my case, Jyothikumari will never need my help again.
Scale this up and imagine what impact it would make if I was really spending, by way of interest lost, the amount middle class citizens usually spend on charity. Practically speaking, I’m able to have over 10 times greater impact for the same cost, and that too it’s not money spent but rather money not earned. If I instead consider, in my case, that the Rs.2000 I invested one year ago, was just money saved by forgoing a few parties and movies, then my net cost in this endeavor amounts to zero, plus I got my “party” expenditure returned to me, to celebrate in next year!. Hmm….
So invest a little time in a visit to http://www.rangde.org. And then if you feel like it, invest some money as well 😉
Nikhil Sheth is a social investor with Rang De. He has a blog titled Blog Trek, the next generation and he wants to use this blog to give a voice to his thoughts. He has blogged about his social investment with Rang De on his blog too.