Friday, May 4, 2012

Kiva - or Charity Without the Charity

Are you the kind of person who wants to help the poor but doesn't want to give to those big charity organisations because you're not sure how much of your money is going where? Don't like the giving part of charity? Wish there was something in it for you? Want to help lots of people but don't have that much money to spare?

Well guess what! The solution is here! There is this amazing website called where you can give out microfinance loans to people trying to start a business or do something that would help their business survive. You may recognise the concept from the Simpson's episode Loan-a Lisa, where Lisa anonymously funds Nelson's bike company. It's very simple, you're like a bank lender only you don't get interest on your loan and you're considered a good person instead of viewed as below Journalists but above Used Car Salesmen on societies list of barely reputable individuals. You find the person you want and give them $25 (though you can lend up to $500 for one person) and then this gets added to all the other donations by other people so said poor person can reach their goal. They then have a schedule to repay you over the next few months, which quite a lot of them do.

That's right... you get the money back! It's like charity only you get paid back for it! How awesome is that? Though of course you could always be a kind soul and put this refunded money back into a different loan so another person has the joy of making their own business. That way there's an endless cycle of giving! You put say, $100 into Kiva, and that $100 can help dozens of people over time not just 4.

And you know the money is going to them and not Kiva, because Kiva asks you if you'd like to donate a little for it's operational costs and you can also pick how much you want to give to them. You can even pick $0 if you're one of those people. Though you know, you don't get paid back for anything you give to Kiva's operational costs, but it makes you feel good about helping the people who helped you help others.

So why not join up today? It's simple, quick, and easy! And there's communities on it too for you to join, like the Nerdfighter community. (HOO-HA NERDFIGHTERS!) Donations you make contribute to their overall ranking of charitableness compared to other groups. Yeah, it kinda makes you feel a bit competitive about giving, which is a good idea. Let's all give Kiva a round of applause for their brilliant idea.

Oh, and if you sign up really quickly by clicking on this url you can get your first $25 loan for free! YEAH! CHARITY! (Hurry! It can only last so long!)

Want to know more about how microfinance works? Here's a helpful short video about Microfinancing by John Green which I do recommend you watch:

And the follow up by his brother Hank Green talking about using the site and how interactions with those in poverty create a better understanding of how they're people just like us:

If John Green, Hank Green, and this blog post have yet to convince you to join Kiva then I don't know what will...

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