April 18th, 2008

CotM: Kiva

Once a month, I’ll be highlighting a different “Charity of the Month” to help spread the word and encourage charitable giving on a regular basis. If you have suggestions for charities I can share, please contact me!

I want to start off the series by highlighting Kiva, a microfinance organization that is quite popular. Kiva has been around since 2005, and in that time has collected over $25 million in loans for people in 30+ countries.

Each person who requests a loan through one of Kiva’s partners has a photo and a description of their business for you to view. For as little as $25, you’re able to help fund the person’s loan. The loan is then repaid monthly, and once paid in full, your money is returned. You can either withdraw the money, or recycle it into a new loan, putting it to work in a continual cycle that helps more and more people.

Each lender has a page showing their loans (here’s ours), with demographic information at the bottom showing who has benefited from your investments.

Kiva makes it super easy to be involved in charitable giving. You’re able to become a participant in the process instead of depositing your money into a large pot, never to be tracked again. You receive notification as each installment is paid, and can communicate with the borrower through a blog-like interface on their loan page.

Kiva also offers gift certificates, allowing you to encourage others to become involved. My wife and I have been able to invite others to become involved by giving them a Kiva gift certificate for their birthday or special occasion. In most circumstances, once the gift certificate is used, these people fund even more loans on their own.

Not a member of Kiva yet? Sign up today, and put your money to work!

One Response to “CotM: Kiva”

  1. Voice of Utah
    April 20, 2008 at 10:21 am #

    I second the recommendation of Kiva. So far, the people I’ve lent money to have all been responsible — $720 repaid so far out of $800 lent, with a 0 % default rate. Needless to say, I will be re-“investing” that money, and I just shake my head, comparing that level of responsibility with what we see in the U.S. sometimes.

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