Technology is fast becoming an important aspect of venture philanthropy, and Singapore-based social venture Milaap is integrating it into all aspects of its operations. Sourabh Sharma, CEO and co-founder of Milaap, says that technology allows people to transparently search for Milaap borrowers on its website www.milaap.org, empowering people to give in a transparent and accountable manner.
Milaap also uses technology for content development and product development, and to provide lender support and real-time impact reporting, he says. Milaap’s community partners share daily updates with Milaap on disbursements, fund utilisation and monthly repayments, and these automatically update on the online lender accounts. Secondly, Milaap fellows who are posted on the ground take photographs and audio/ video interviews with the borrowers, which are then uploaded onto the system, providing lenders with information in near real-time.
“Because lenders can choose exactly who they lend to, transparency and accountability is inherently built into the software system we have built for our customers,” says Sourabh, adding that Milaap is also able to track repayments, get borrower updates as well as the impact of the funds on the borrowers in near real-time.
“In 2013, we customized the vanilla CRM solution by Salesforce for capturing borrower data, loan applications, reporting and monitoring of funds utilisation and repayments. We rolled out with all our on-the-ground community partners who now use it to upload loan applications, track funding, report repayments, and impact on the ground from the funds.”
Besides bringing about transparency, technology is used to measure impact through SMS-based applications for tracking and communication of impact; to enhance communication through digital mediums to share quarterly reports with funders and donors;.
In the coming years, Milaap intends to continue using technology for community building, by facilitating social interactions and engagement between groups of people through online and mobile platforms.