Starting a Campus MFI - Start-Up Kit

How to start a
Define Campus MFI
A group or organization founded or led by
students that offers equitable financial
services to disadvantaged community
members off-campus
Campus MFI Examples
The Campus Microfinance Alliance is a
platform for students to learn how to practice
How we help Campus MFIs
Annual conference
Start Up Kit (
Intensive technical assistance – Site Visits
Lend for America Fellowship
Alchemy Listserv & Member Monthly
Yale University in New Haven, CT
Founded 2001
~50 student staff
2012 Operating Budget: $13,000
University of North Carolina
Founded in 2009
~130 student volunteers
2012 Operating Budget: $68,0
Brown University
Founded in 2008
7 Full-time staff
2012 Operating Budget : $280K
Before you start
• Is microfinance right for you and your
campus community?
– Commitment
– The Team
– Skills
– University Support
– Market Research
Legal Structure
Arizona State; Fordham
501(c) 3
Yale; Rutgers; Brown; UNC
Chapel Hill; Georgetown;
University of Wisconsin;
Grinnell College
Student organization
Northwestern; Duke;
University of Alabama;
Notre Dame; St. Cloud
State; Bentley
Products & Services
Technical Assistance: Loan packaging
Small Business Loans
Credit Builder Loans
Tax Prep
Financial Coaching
Business Training Course
Financial Literacy Class
Alternative payday loan
Consumer loans
Bank On
Access to Markets
• Community Reinvestment Act (1977)
– Banks
• Ask on campus for funds
– Think experiential education, community
engagement, community service
– Professors, department chairs,
Dean/President/Provost office, Center for
Service Learning, Center for Social
– Business plan competitions
• Structure: Example - Departments
– Executive Board (co-CEOs, COO, CFO)
– Fundraising Department
– Lending Department
– Finance Department
– External Relations Department
• Leadership transitions
What to do first
• ‘Voices of my community’ exercise to get
to know your community
– Go off campus and have conversations with
community members
Consider the following
• Geography: Is there a neighborhood close to
campus that is underserved by local providers? What
does it look like and what are its main challenges?
Are there central places where I can go to speak to
local community members?
• Demographics: Where is there a potential match
between their cultural characteristics (ie, low income
Hispanic microbusinesses) and our capacities?
• Psychographics: What are the attitudes, values,
challenges, and preferences of community
Take-home Exercise
Voices of my community