Answer: I don’t know, but Kiva, the micro-finance loan organization, would be hard to beat. Your Kiva “donation” is a life-changing gift that keeps coming back so you get to keep giving it over and over!
Kiva’s slogan is Loans that Change.
After reading about how Kiva works, you’ll probably say “Wow! That’s incredible! What’s the flaw?” There isn’t a flaw–that’s the amazing thing!
This is how it works. From Kiva’s website:
HOW TO USE KIVA
1) Choose a borrower
All loans on Kiva are deserving of funding. Pick the one that speaks the most to you.
2) Make a loan
Loan amounts can be as little as $25, or as high as the full loan amount. Checkout is quick and easy, made possible by Paypal.
3) Get repaid
As the borrower repays the loan, the money becomes available in your account. This is called your Kiva Credit.
You can now use it to fund another loan, donate it to Kiva, or withdraw it to spend on something else.
Here’s some more information from their website:
We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Learn more about how it works.
Since Kiva was founded in 2005:
- 598,023 Kiva lenders
- $227 million in loans
- 98.79% Repayment rate
We work with:
- 134 Field Partners
- 450 volunteers around the world
- 59 different countries
Why we do what we do
We envision a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.
We believe providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.
How we do it
Making a loan on Kiva is so simple that you may not realize how much work goes on behind the scenes.
Kiva works with micro-finance institutions on five continents to provide loans to people without access to traditional banking systems. One hundred percent of your loan is sent to these micro-finance institutions, which we call Field Partners, who administer the loans in the field.
Did you spot that amazing loan repayment statistic?
The loans are pretty short-term –about 1 – 2 years. See the great bang you get for your buck? Imagine the good your loan of just $25 can do if you keep lending that $25 over and over every year or so? And every cent of your money goes towards the loan — no commission or administration fees are taken out. Kiva certainly isn’t your normal charity donation!
Watch this beautiful You Tube where the founders of Kiva, Matt and Jessica Flannery, tell how Kiva came to be:
Kiva and I:
As I’m writing this post, I’m feeling pretty embarrassed. I have known about Kiva for about four years–a friend told me how good Kiva was when I was reading up on intelligent philanthropy a few years back. I checked it out and loved the concept. Finally, a couple of years back, I decided to make a loan. However, as luck had it, Kiva had just been all over the news so had been so inundated with people wanting to lend money. As a result, they had just announced they’d run out of qualified loan prospects! Bummer! I told myself, “I’ll come back later when things settle down.” I forgot about it. Then last year, another friend mentioned Kiva. I said “I know! Isn’t it fantastic!” But still I did nothing about it.
And here I am today telling everyone how great Kiva is, and feeling very silly and hypocritical because I haven’t lent any money to the good cause myself!
So enough silliness! Today’s the day! I’m off to visit their site to find four people to lend some money to. Let’s see how it turns out.
Step 1: I click on http://www.kiva.org/lend to check out the people wanting loans.
Step 2: I whizz through some stories. I hate too much choice — I get easily overwhelmed. I’ve decided to make myself choose four good-enough stories in 15 minutes!
Step 3: I make my selections:
1. Shetu Ndjrumbomenyi was born in 1973. She lives in Church Center Bamenda, Northwest region in Cameroon. She is separated with 3 children. With the difficulties she had in the matrimonial home she was unable to cope with the situation. Her parents died when she was still young. Shetu Ndjrumbomenyi was unable to continue her education. Her last resort was to get married, which could provide a solution to her problem, but later turned out to be a negative. Since she separated from her husband, the husband has never supported her nor provided needs for the children so she is the sole person that provides for the basic needs for herself and the children.
Before joining GHAPE, she was roasting fish, but without capital. She usually borrows and sells before paying, which earns her little income. Given a new loan, Shetu Ndjrumbomenyi plans to continue her business and even expand. She has a good site with more customers who are ready to buy. The profit she will obtain from the loan will enable her to pay her children’s school fees and also provide the family with basic needs.
She wants a loan of 50,000 Kenyan shillings to buy vegetables and tomatoes.
4. Edith has been selling firewood for seven years to assume her role as wife and mother efficiently. Alongside this income-generating business, Edith sells maize. She buys her supplies in one of the marketplaces of Bénin. Wishing to expand her business and better respond to the demand of her clientele, Edith is requesting a fifth loan from ALIDé. She was granted four prior loans that were all correctly reimbursed.
Step 4: Psyching myself up to working out how to pay. I hate this technical stuff –I hope it’s straight-forward and I don’t need to know PayPal passwords or something!
I’m not sure what happens next. I guess Kiva will keep me informed. I’m glad I’ve finally done it — it’s a big load off my conscience! I no longer feel like a hypocrite! And it does feel nice to help others.
It also strikes me as an excellent gift idea: You can buy a Kiva card, put whatever money you want into the card, and give it to someone who then gets to choose their “people”. I think I’ll give Kiva gift cards to my three children this year as a Christmas present!
15 August: An update on my 11 July Kiva loans
KIVA has been very good keeping me up to date via lots of emails telling me how my loans are going.
Today I received this email, telling me I’ve already received $8.77 of my total original loan amount of $100. Pretty fast work! I like KIVA a lot. It makes me feel good!
|Hi anne austin,
We’d like to give you a repayment update on the loans you’ve made through Kiva.
A total of $8.77 has been repaid today! As of August 15, 2011, you now have $8.77 in Kiva Credit in your account. You can re-lend to another borrower, withdraw to your PayPal account or donate these funds to help cover Kiva’s operating expenses. (The minimum lending amount is $25, but you can easily add new funds to existing Kiva Credit to complete a loan purchase.)
Below is the repayment update on your Kiva Portfolio