The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) recently launched an innovative online campaign that collects contributions from individuals in the developed world to benefit first-time savers in developing countries. WOCCU helps people living in poverty to open credit union accounts and offers education about saving. Contributions collected at MatchSavings.org are used to match deposits of these first-time savers, thus providing an incentive to save.
WOCCU’s work with matched savings draws upon CSD’s research on Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), particularly CSD Director Michael Sherraden and CSD Senior Scholar Mark Schreiner’s book Can the Poor Save? The book provides an overview of the findings from the American Dream Demonstration (ADD), which tested the effectiveness of the IDA as a tool for low-income individuals to achieve life goals. One of the important findings from ADD is that the poor can and do save if given appropriate incentives and support.