Sweet Charity: Blogging.LA’s Guide To Giving – Kiva.org

I hope Oprah doesn’t have a problem with me riding her coattails on this, but since I’ve been a Kiva fan and lender since long before 2010, perhaps it’s Big O who is tagging along with me.

Kiva is one of my favorite organizations helping to alleviate poverty around the world. Kiva is not a typical charity, wherein you might make a donation which is then used to help those in need. Kiva is a micro-lending organization which facilitates the funding of small loans (average loan is $381) for impoverished entrepreneurs. Those small loans help people build their businesses, and work to lift themselves out of poverty. Like a standard loan, it is expected that the money will be paid back.

While the average loan is a few hundred dollars, that is distributed across many lenders. The typical lender contribution to any one loan is only $25. For only $25, you can help change a life. Continue reading below where I’ll tell you how you can help just as much for even less of your own cold, hard cash.

One of the things I like best about Kiva is the feeling of partnership. Unlike typical charities where you donate and the money gets distributed to…someone, with Kiva you get to decide exactly where your money goes. When you go to Kiva’s website, you can see all of the different loans that are funding now and learn about the entrepreneurs before you choose to lend to them. You’ll see pictures, learn about their business, read a bit of their personal story. You can choose what country, what type of business, and specifically which individual you want to lend to.

Since 2005, Kiva has loaned nearly $180 million through Kiva Field Partners (local microfinance partners) in 57 countries to over 470,000 entrepreneurs. Here’s the best part: all of those impoverished entrepreneursĀ  get the benefit of the loans, then pay the money back. Kiva’s current loan repayment rate is 98.91%. That means a default rate of less than 1.1%! That repaid money can then be loaned out again and again, and the same small amount of your money helps multiple entrepreneurs numerous times.

Right now Groupon is offering $25 Kiva loan credits for only $15. For less than the cost of a night at the movies (for one, no date,) you can help change a person’s life for the better. Here’s how:

  • First, if you’re not already a Groupon member, join here. Full disclosure: If you join through that referral link, Groupon will give me a kickback, which I will in turn use to make more Kiva loans. Everybody wins, particularly another poor cobbler in Uruguay.
  • Buy a $25 Kiva credit for only $15 through Groupon here. Don’t wait; this is a limited time/limited availability offer.
  • Register with Kiva here. Then choose the loan you want to fund here.
  • As the loan is repaid you’ll get regular updates as to its status. When the first $15 (your initial investment) is repaid, it’s yours. You can either withdraw or re-loan it, which is what I do. The $10 that Groupon kicks in will be donated to Kiva when the initial loan is repaid, helping to cover Kiva’s 501(c)(3) non-profit operating costs.

Easy. Only a couple of steps. It might take you 10 minutes and minimal financial investment, for which you will have direct positive impact on a specific individual’s life.

In this season of giving, here is a big opportunity for a small contribution that will continue to give throughout the year, again and again.

One thought on “Sweet Charity: Blogging.LA’s Guide To Giving – Kiva.org”

  1. Haha, I found this blog by searching google news for “oprah kiva” and this was the only article that came up. Looks like the promotion went well. As this moment, Kiva has run out of loans (thought more will be coming soon.)

    Here’s another awesome kiva-type site exclusively for loans for clean energy technology: http://energyincommon.org

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