Please use this thread to post suggestion on a new features, ideas and improvements. We are listening.

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I would like button on front page , and on each borrower for easy repost to facebook etc.
When we have donated to a a borrower , the same could apply with some standard message possible to edit.
Hi Sverre,

Thanks for the suggestion. We currently have that for twitter. We are building that feature for facebook. Hope to have it ready in a few weeks.

Cheers

Bhalchander

Sverre Skimmeland said:
I would like button on front page , and on each borrower for easy repost to facebook etc.
When we have donated to a a borrower , the same could apply with some standard message possible to edit.
From http://www.unitedprosperity.org/us/help#HelpCnt45:
"Is the money I use to guarantee tax-deductible?
Top
The money you use to guarantee through the United Prosperity website is not considered a donation because it is possible that you will receive your money back. Hence it is not tax-deductible."

Tax detuctible (for the US)
For the future here is an idea:
Make it possible to gurantee by donating to UP, but so that one can still choose who to gurantee to,
but it is unable to withdraw the funds. And the fund will be automanaged by UP if no activity for some time (3 months?)
I am still learning to navigate my way around UP. Am I correct in saying that users need to log on separately to the main UP website and the "Community" site (perhaps I am just doing it wrong)?

It would be nice if I could access both sites with only one "Sign In".

Also, since my user name is my - rather lengthy - e-mail address, I need to always type in a fairly long e-mail address to log on (which I sometimes do several times in a day). I wonder if the user name could be user defined, rather than being the user's e-mail address?
examples:
http://tellafriend.socialtwist.com/?fh
http://www.addthis.com/?utm_source=hm&utm_medium=img&utm_co...

Bhalchander Vishwanath said:
Hi Sverre,

Thanks for the suggestion. We currently have that for twitter. We are building that feature for facebook. Hope to have it ready in a few weeks.

Cheers

Bhalchander

Sverre Skimmeland said:
I would like button on front page , and on each borrower for easy repost to facebook etc.
When we have donated to a a borrower , the same could apply with some standard message possible to edit.
The community site is hosted on ning.com. That has its own ning id for sign on. To my knowledge they do not allow a common user id with other sites.

The main website supports openid i.e. Yahoo or gmail id can be used for authetication.However if you have already created an account, it is not possible to link it to your yahoo id or gmail id.One option may be to create a new account with a gmail or yahoo id as sign on. I know that is not the most elegant solution for your particular situation, but that is a work around I can think of at this point. We will allow users to have a user ids, but it is likely to take some time to implement that feature as we have other features also to be implemented.

Andreas Stephens said:
I am still learning to navigate my way around UP. Am I correct in saying that users need to log on separately to the main UP website and the "Community" site (perhaps I am just doing it wrong)?
It would be nice if I could access both sites with only one "Sign In". Also, since my user name is my - rather lengthy - e-mail address, I need to always type in a fairly long e-mail address to log on (which I sometimes do several times in a day). I wonder if the user name could be user defined, rather than being the user's e-mail address?
As a new site and with loans that are not due to be repaid for over a year, lenders have to put a large amount of trust into United Prosperity in the management of money. I have made a commitment and will continue my support, both through guarantees and donations.

To reassure myself, I would like to see more information from Field Partners and possibly the banks acknowledging the receipts of the loans. I realise these are early days but the site works well and proving financial credibility should be high on the list.

Sorry to be the one raising awkward questions!
Do the local MFI have loans with shorter life spans than 18 months? If its possible, i am pretty sure some lenders would like to see loans with a duration of 6-12 months.
The next MFI we sign up will have a loan duration of 12 months. Ajiwika works in one of the poorest parts of India and they have customized their loan product to the local context.
Hi Grant

I share your sentiments - both in terms of having made an on-going commitment, and the desire for a bit more information.

If I may add to your suggestion, I'd be really interested to better understand how UP is funding its operations in this start-up phase. I had a look at the 990 form, but this did not really tell me how operations can be funded, especially since at face value, the Balance Sheet is showing negative Equity(!), and I assume the numbers shown are not in thousands or millions.

To attract new guarantors, they need to be able to understand how the operation will manage if donations do not ramp up as fast as perhaps hoped for, what the costs of the operation are, etc.

Grant said:
As a new site and with loans that are not due to be repaid for over a year, lenders have to put a large amount of trust into United Prosperity in the management of money. I have made a commitment and will continue my support, both through guarantees and donations.

To reassure myself, I would like to see more information from Field Partners and possibly the banks acknowledging the receipts of the loans. I realise these are early days but the site works well and proving financial credibility should be high on the list.

Sorry to be the one raising awkward questions!
Hi Grant, Andreas,

Great questions and we certainly owe you an answer for these questions.

1. Partners we work with:
We have partnered with Ajiwika.org an MFI in Jharkhand India. You could visit http://www.ajiwika.org for more details. They are working with some of the poorest clients most of whom are living on less than $2 a day. We have been impressed by their commitment to the poor. Mr. Tanay Chakravarty the CEO of Ajiwika has also been recognized by the David And Lucille Packard foundation for his work over the last twenty years.

We are partnering with HDFC Bank - http://www.hdfcbank.com/ . They are considered one of India's best banks with the least losses due to bad debts. We have not listed them on our website as there are some internal approvals which need to happen at HDFC bank before we could list them as a partner.

2. How we are managing our operating costs:
United Prosperity has been bootstrapped. I started working on it full time since October 2007. My co-founders Ashok, Chiradeep and Shubha and have been involved with it from the early days and they have their day jobs. We have relied on support in kind extensively.
e.g. For software development Cognizant built the website for us pro bono and are continuing to support us. For legal help we are supported pro bono by several law firms - UC Berkeley Practicum group, OMM.com, Tempus Law in India and previously Hanson Bridgett which helped with the incorporation. Books2taxes.com is helping us with pro bono book keeping . Netsuite gave us a grant for the accounting and ERP software. Trier and Company is helping us with the PR.
We also have several volunteers helping out in several areas.

Overall the value of support in kind to received to date is around $0.5 Million. These however do not reflect on the balance sheet and income statement.

We run our operations pretty tight and as a result our operating costs are very low. e.g. For the month of June our total expenses were close to $250. PayPal fees were roughly 50% of that. We received $582 in donations and in a sense we were surplus on our operating expenses. I did not get a salary so that enabled us to earn a small surplus for the month, but had I been getting a salary we would have had to rely on external funding.

We are trying our best to raise operational funding so that we can scale our operations and reach out to more poor entrepreneurs, but given the long recession and caution with which people treat new to the world projects, raising it has been a challenge so far.

Nevertheless we are are extremely prudent in the way we manage our expenses and try to run a very lean operation so that the maximum benefit can be passed on to people who need it the most. That also ties in with our mission of 'maximizing the impact for your dollar' while 'combating absolute poverty'.

I will be happy to answer additional questions on the same topic.

Bhalchander
Wow! That is very impressive Bhalchander! The level of commitment both by yourself and the other volunteers - and the individuals who support your efforts - but also the partners is amazing! However, I hope we can get UP to be self-sustaining from regular donations ASAP.

I guess that will be a MAJOR milestone. In the meantime, we probably need to look to smaller milestones along the way. Soon we will hit 100 Guarantors, have the first $10,000 loan guarantees, etc.

All the best!

Andreas

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