Sharing ideas that do good

An Online Kindness Bank

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In Australia over 13 million people are without a financial backup plan for emergency situations. Many Australians struggle with their bills and have no way out in the event of a personal financial crisis. Therefore I propose the idea of an online kindness bank which will allow people all over the world to contribute to others whilst others contribute to them in the event of a financial crisis. This will be developed into an app to allow more people to have access and get involved in the generosity of humanity.
What do you think?

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Comments
Pool Buddy @ 2021.03.15 4:56 PM

Hi Mia, Your idea is excellent. Interested to know your thinking on how people would apply for or become eligible to receive funds?


Jennifer Harrison @ 2021.03.21 11:06 AM

Mia,

I love your idea.  It embodies principles such as "pay it forward" and "radical kindness," and appeals to our desire to help people in their time of need.

It’s also somewhat aligned with a process that utilities, telcos, banks, regulated credit providers and insurers have to offer their customers who experience “financial hardship” due to something unexpected like redundancy, natural disaster or illness (rather than an inability to manage money).

Some thoughts:

1)      For collections, you could operate a round-up function whereby people contribute as they shop (like Raiz) (IdeaSpies fintech editor Ben Ford is an expert on this)

2)      You could register this as a charity so that donations are tax deductible, although this adds to the complexity of the set-up and governance (see acnc.gov.au)(I’m sure there are plenty of contributors to IdeaSpies who have experience of governance in the Not For Profit / Charity space)

3)      The criteria for deciding if people are eligible for help needs to be very clear and easy to assess (or else you will have a lot of complaints from people)

4)      The process for beneficiaries to apply for help needs to be easy but at the same time have appropriate safeguards against fraud

5)      You will need a cost-effective solution for collections and payments to get the money IN and OUT (I have some connections in the payments industry; I will do a shout out on LinkedIn)

Kind regards,

Jennifer :-)


Deyan Stamatov @ 2021.03.22 6:27 PM
This sounds like a really nice idea, maybe include some sort of membership program where individuals can schedule a few dollars to be taken from them monthly. 

Mia @ 2021.03.24 3:50 AM

Dear Jennifer, 

Thank you for your brilliant ideas for my project, it has really helped me consider all the factors and areas in creating my project. I would love to work further with you in helping my idea turn into the real thing. If you know of any examples of pieces of software and other factors to consider that can help my idea please let me know cause this will be great for my project. If you could comment your email that will be great for us to get further in touch.

Kind Regards,

Mia


Kristofer Rogers @ 2021.03.25 2:26 PM

Mia,

Congratulations on seeding this idea. I've been fortunate to have been involved in various social-impact tech projects over the past 20 years, including launching GoFundraise and SimplyGiving across APAC, which are peer-to-peer fundraising platforms. I think we still have a way to go, led by people like you. 

But you are obviously inspired to think beyond donations.... I am now part of the team at Mambu - a core banking platform... we deal with the very 'core' of banking that manages deposits, lending and transaction products. As such, let me encourage you to think bigger:

1. Explore concepts such as sharia-compliant banking where interest accrual is replaced with sharing profits amongst those who can benefit from them (in your case, those in need) 

2. Instead of asking people to give (which is quite a tired mechanism of supporting those in need these days) offer a great everyday banking product that has 'giving' embedded within. 

3. For Australia's youth, everyone needs a debit card and even a loan of some sort. If they know that interest earned through this financial services are being pooled to help people in the time of need, they would gravitate towards it. 

Anyway, congratulations, and dream big! I am always happy to provide advice and mentorship if it would help. 

Sincerely
Kristofer Rogers
General Manage, Australia & New Zealand
Mambu, the World's leading cloud-native core banking platform. 


Adam Caines @ 2021.03.25 4:35 PM

Fantastic idea Mia, I love the thinking of giveback and community in Financial Services.

I think there would be some challenges with how funds are distributed, as per Jennifer's comments relating to fraud. If you think about some of the issues GoFundMe have had with fake funds and people being taken advantage of, so that is something to think about.

There is a practice in some cultures to have a saving club and when one of the members is in need they can "borrow" from the club and pay it back over time, perhaps a similar concept could solve any hesitance to contribute and enable empowered distributions of funds in a time of crisis.

From a broader perspective I remember an initiative in a supermarket in the UK whereby they give you a token and on the way out you put it one of 3 boxes which all related to local charities or a Scout group or similar. Perhaps this could be another mechanism for local or broader contributions as a user chooses where their contributions go.

Or for example with the fires in 2020 in Australia, a comedian ended up setting up a CrowdFund which had all sorts of issues with tax and distributions. Donations in a time of crisis and real-time distribution is a real problem to solve. if I knew my roundups or contributions where being sent to people in need in those communities instantly as I've contributed to a fund that can be used for crisis, then I would certainly sign-up to your bank today.

Good luck with your idea, never stop thinking or writing down ideas.

Adam


Michael Joyce @ 2021.03.26 4:55 AM

I love the thought behind this!

Any successful tech should learn from real-life analogue equivalents. The first most relevant here might be "Give a penny, take a penny" bowls in retail stores - people put their loose change into them, then take loose change from them if they're short. They're not really a thing here in Australia since we're almost cashless!

The other is ROSCAs (rotating savings groups) which exist in probably every emerging country. Everyone gives, everyone takes in rotation. Adam Caines mentions this in a comment below.

Facebook Good Karma networks could also be a great avenue to seed this sort of activity - it would necessarily be local, rather than global but that might work too.

I've got 10 years+ of working on financial inclusion in Australia and globally and would be happy to help.



Victoria Richardson @ 2021.03.26 2:51 PM

Hi Mia

This is a great idea.

To build on comments already made, and in particular to build on Jennifer's comments about criteria for eligibility, developments with the Consumer Data Right work in your favour here. Under the Consumer Data Right https://www.cdr.gov.au/ individuals can instruct their bank to share account information, including balance (which could be used as clear evidence of financial hardship) with accredited organisations. 

Additionally we ran a data hackathon a few years back with the major banks at Stone and Chalk and one of the winning products at the end of the weekend was an app to enable disbursement of funds to people impacted by bushfires and natural disasters. They were able to build the app with widely available government APIs and dummy CDR APIs.

I'm happy to chat if useful as you build out your idea. Find me on LinkedIn if you would like to follow up.
Keep going!

All the best,
Victoria Richardson
vrichardson@auspaynet.com.au



Mia @ 2021.03.26 10:15 AM

Good afternoon all and thank you so very much for your support and interest.

Some quick follow ups. 

@ Kristofer Rogers, thank you so much. I have been thinking about your suggestions all week, and have learnt a lot from the research and l have been doing into Mambu. A fantastic concept. I am very interested in taking up your offer of mentorship. How would this work.? If you could provide an idea of what this would like to help with expectations for both sides that would be great. Once I discuss this with my parents I will get back to you. Thank you again for your wonderful offer. 

 

 @ Adam Caines

Thank you, great ideas relating to fraud and the issues GoFundMe. Yes I have been struggling with this one. Disturbing funds and an easy safe mechanism is what I am currently looking for. The supermarket concept is so clever and simple. It makes me believe that this is actually possible.  I wonder if BlockChain technology could help with this?

 

@Michael Joyce 

Give a penny, take a penny" bowls in retail stores - Australia cashless! This is an amazing idea and really helps me understand how simple it can be and at the same time consider the local context

Facebook Good Karma networks could also be a great avenue to seed this sort of activity. (Great idea I will search them up now) - it would necessarily be local, rather than global but that might work too. Yes starting local is a great idea. Do you have any connections to developers that could help or know of any ready made app that I could modify?

I've got 10 years+ of working on financial inclusion in Australia and globally and would be happy to help. It would be fantastic to get your insight and technical expertise on this.  

 

@Victoria Richardson 

Thank you so much Victoria. CDR would be incredibly helpful as third party governance, would be really important for everyone. I will look into this. 

Thank you Victoria I would love to follow up on this. Do you have a work email address you could send me as I would love to learn more. Also do you think Stone & Chalk would allow me to connect with the winning team. Do you think both parties would be interested in collaborating? 


Thank you everyone for your wonderful help this week with my project, it is so fulfilling to see everyone contribute and give me the encouragement for my project to be developed!

Sincerely,

Mia


Aaron Roberts @ 2021.03.29 6:46 AM

Hi Mia, 

Really nice idea to help support those in financial need, especially in the turbulent times we’re in now that don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. 

Have you built a prototype of the solution / app to test with your customers? 

As well as the benefits of testing, I find that creating prototyping provides another way to think and explore the challenge from a different perspective.  

There are heaps of good / free tools out there

- paper prototypes: draw screens on paper and show them to people for feedback. The benefit of this is that it’s super quick and free!!!

- PowerPoint or Google slides are great for drawing basic prototypes too.

- figma: once you’ve moved passed paper prototypes, download figma (free), and you can have some fun making the app look closer to the real thing.  A bit more complex though. 

I hope this helps and best of luck!

Az 


Anthony Passe-de Silva @ 2021.03.30 1:57 AM

I think there is an interesting idea in here but potentially the starting challenge will be funding - those who are in a position that have sufficient funds for an emergency are the ones who could provide that funding upfront. It may be possible to source alternative funding through vehicles such as social impact bonds if you could prove your business has generated a social gain - these bonds have structures which then generate tax & other return structures that make them attractive.

You could also partner with a financial services group who could argue a facility like this may help lower their credit risk - this could also help when you get a "surge" event like a major natural disaster when many could come forward looking for support. Financial services providers with specific ESG mandates may also see a way of facilitating a platform like this.

I also wonder if money is the only thing the bank could "pay out". In many stress situations, it could be that certain goods & services may become harder to access. As such, rather than a financial payout like you get with insurance, perhaps the bank could have packages of goods & services that are available.

There is something novel in this that merges being a "good neighbour", charitable giving and insurance.


Kristofer Rogers @ 2021.03.30 3:42 AM

Good morning @Mia

Wonderful to see more contributions and encouragement, I hope it's inspiring you! 

Sorry for not dropping you a quick note earlier but I would be happy to provide mentoring if it helps galvanise your thinking. The mentoring I have done before would typically be a fortnightly / monthly call to help you shape your ideas and offer up more information. This can be a 30 minute video meeting or phone call with an open agenda - so casual mentoring to help steer you in the right direction(s). 

Rather then sharing my contact details here can I ask that you (or your parents) connect with me via LinkedIn and we can go from there.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristoferrogers/

Thanks and keep on doing what you are doing. 


All the best
Kris






ReadyFundGo @ 2021.03.30 5:38 AM

Congratulations Mia on your excellent idea and also for sharing it on IdeaSpies.

One of the areas you could look at is using crowdfunding to help get your idea off the ground.

I am sure that you will probably have thought of this already but if you would like any help or suggestions about setting up a small campaign we would be delighted to help you.

I think that by running a small campaign to help people you will learn a lot and gain a lot of insights that you will be able to use as you further develop the Kindness Bank. 

Let us know if you would like to discuss.

Well done again,

With best wishes Jill

jill.s@readyfundgo.com




Soumya Srinivasan @ 2021.03.30 9:42 AM

Hi Mia, 

What a beautiful idea. Given that you've had so much expert input on the many aspects, like core banking, collections, eligibility etc., let me get right to the mechanics of the payments. 

You'll need a neat (and cheap!) way for participants to put money IN, somewhere to "store" it and a neat way to pay it out, and reconcile that the right amounts went to the right places. 

Participation in payment networks can be very expensive, so consider a partner who can handle the complexities for you, but make all the data available so that you can see clearly what is going on (Split Payments, from whom I do some consulting are in this category). 

Another thing you'll want to consider, is something we wish never happened - fraud. You'll need some rules and some tools for the following three scenarios: 

1.  When someone onboards to your platform for the first time, they are who they say they are.

2. The correct person is accessing the app, and

3. The correct recipient is receiving the money.

There are may tech/app-based providers in this space as well. Check out: 

- Frankie Financial

- Biocatch

- Jumio

- Onfido

If you do want to spend some more time on all things payments and fraud, I'd be more than happy to chat. You can find me on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/soumyasrinivasan/


All the best!

Soumya


Alex Carpenter @ 2021.04.09 9:29 AM
Great idea Mia, technologically speaking you could launch this with relative ease on the blockchain. A group called 1hive - https://1hive.org has created all the documents and blockchain protocols you would need and they are a really helpful bunch eager to support people like you to do things like this.

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15 March 2021

 
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