Michael Cleland


Social Good

Recyclable charity: Kiva


If you like the idea of “recycleable charity”, then consider kiva.org

You can help fund microcredit loans, by contributing $25 towards a loan (usually totalling about $500 – $1000) to enable people in developing and third world countries invest in their own businesses.

Each month, a portion of your contribution is paid back, and then you can reloan that to someone else, or withdraw the money altogether.

All of your money – that’s 100 per cent – goes to the “entrepreneur” (you can donate money to Kiva to assist with running costs). People you loan to do pay interest to a local microcredit agency in their country.

For example, you might help loan money to someone to buy a new machine for their furniture making business, or stock for their store.

You can browse Kiva to see photos and stories of the people who you are actually loaning your $25 to. As you browse, you can filter by country, gender or industry.

I first read about this in Bill Clinton’s book “Giving” and I believe Oprah mentioned it in her “ultimate gifts”.

I’ve been a “capital raiser” on kiva.org for 2 years now and have helped loan money to 60 individuals and groups. I’ve got people involved at my work for Kris Kringle and we’ve pooled together for over 20 loans.

It is a great feeling!

There were some comments about The Age’s article about a good number of Kiva’s loans now being back filled.

RichG, you’re correct that Kiva NOW does backfill the loan they’ve already made with your money, but that has only been in the last year.

Kiva has gained sufficient momentum that they can now send funds through without having to wait for the donations to come through. The benefit of this is that people asking for the loan can get the money faster (maybe saving a month or more of delay) and so can get to use it on their project.

You as the loaner though, still reply upon that individual paying back the loan to YOU, so in this way, you still have a direct connection to that entrepreneur, even if they got money before you donated it. It’s all a bit “back to the future”, but the intention is good and it works.

Author: Michael Cleland

Michael is a passionate web geek who is sure that most problems can be solved with a big bowl of ice cream. A believer in social good and fan of great, useful content, Michael is an advocate for web accessibility, usability and mobile web based on open standards. You can find Michael on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. You can read more on Michael in the About page.

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