Financial NGOs have developed some of the most effective, cutting-edge methods for helping impoverished communities and individuals become prosperous. Many of these organizations were founded on the premise that while humanitarian relief is necessary in the short-term, financial strength will provide long-term stability. Since social entrepreneurship is still a relatively young field, new financial NGOs with innovative business models are emerging at a rapid pace.
Non-governmental organizations specializing in financial services perform a variety of functions. The Association for Social Advancement (ASA) helps connect small businesses and entrepreneurs to financial institutions through processes known as microfinance. Root Capital helps businesses too large to receive standard microfinance services but too small to secure access to financial institutions on their own. Similarly, groups like the Acumen Fund promote humanitarian causes by providing venture capital to social entrepreneurs. Some financial NGOs such as One Acre International and and Injaz Al-Arab take a more direct approach. One Acre International works with African farmers to help them develop more efficient business models. Injaz Al-Arab coordinates financial education, networking and mentoring for young adults in the Arab world.
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Financial NGOs represent a terrific opportunity for individuals in the business world to work towards humanitarian goals. The recent proliferation of non-profit organizations that provide financial services has made it easier than ever to volunteer or work for a financial NGO. Many of these groups were started by recent business school graduates as an exciting and meaningful alternative to traditional careers in finance and consulting. Individuals interested in working in the field thus have the option to join a financial NGO or start their own.