I spend a lot of time writing, talking and thinking about how to use my interests and expertise to make a positive impact on others. Surely there is something I can do to make the world just a tiny bit better. Hopefully, my teaching, research and even this blog are a start. However, sometimes I can’t help but wonder how can I expand my reach. I’ve got some new ideas that I’d like to share.
What is Kiva?
Kiva is a non-profit organization whose mission is to connect people, through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Bingo! This concept of ‘microlending’ or ‘microfinance’ fits exactly in the intersection of my love of finance, my desire to do good things for others and my hope to encourage others to learn and do good things as well. Through Kiva, everyday people like us can make small loans to folks around the world who could really use the help to start or expand their own business and improve their financial situation. What’s even better, is that Kiva allows you to help others without killing your budget. You can make loans as small as $25. In fact, you could join my team, make one $25 loan and never give another dime. When your borrower repays you, you can either take that money and lend it to another entrepreneur of your choice or put your cash back into your piggy bank. The choice is yours. Now, you won’t receive any interest on your loan, but you just might find that the difference you can make in the life of an impoverished person is worth far more. So here’s the deal, consider joining my team. There’s no monetary benefit in this for me. I just think that together, we can accomplish amazing things and I am anxious to see what a whole army of budget-conscious do-gooders can do to fight poverty.
Why You Should Join My Team
If you like this idea, you could go it alone, but wouldn’t it be more fun to be part of a team? We could target certain geographic regions or borrowers with specific interests. By concentrating our individual lending efforts in one area as a team, our only limits are our respective budgets. As an added bonus, maybe we’ll make connections that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Imagine that! You can make friends and do good at the same time. This takes social networking to a whole new level! If you need more convincing, here are five reasons why I think you should consider joining Kiva and my team.
- Sustainable Giving. Because you can re-lend your funds once they are repaid, this really is ‘the gift that keeps on giving’. If you have charitable giving in your budget, you can allocate $25 of it to Kiva one time and still make a huge difference. For many of us who are unsure about the future but happen to have $25 lying around at the moment, that’s a great way to give in a way that is sustainable.
- Alleviating Poverty. As a kid, my mom constantly reminded us that there was always someone in the world (or even in our own neighborhood) who had it worse than we did. As an adult, I have a greater understanding of poverty, but I often feel helpless when staring down such a large issue. Through Kiva, I can make a difference. That’s pretty cool.
- Connections. I mentioned recently that I deactivated my Facebook account. When I’m overwhelmed by my own problems and competing priorities, Facebook just feels like a time drain. Social networking is great, but sometimes I question the value that it adds to my life. Today I reactivated my Facebook account. By linking my Kiva account to my Facebook account, I can encourage my Facebook friends to join my team too. Now social networking makes sense!
- Transparency. I’ve given to charities before and often wondered where my money was going and how much of it was even getting to the folks in need. With Kiva, 100% of my loan goes to the entrepreneur and I can track their progress over the life of the loan. They will have to pay interest to their local lending partner, but all my money gets in the hands of the person who needs it and 98% of the time, those borrowers repay their loans. What’s great is that I can check on my borrowers online any time I want. No more charitable giving black holes!
- Going Global. Let’s face it. We live in a global community. It’s time to start thinking bigger than ourselves. Kiva allows me and my team to help someone (or an entire community of someones) who are thousands of miles away. On the other hand, if my team decides that we want to focus our efforts in the good old U S of A, we can do that too. There aren’t as many Kiva borrowers in the U.S., but they are out there and could use our help too. The main idea of Kiva though, is to help those with few (if any) other resources for betterment and empowerment. That is why developing nations have the greatest need.
So there you have it. Did I sell you? Are you ready to join my team? If so, click here. If not, I won’t be angry. Just remember, if you change your mind and want to join the team later on, I’d love to have you. In the meantime, I’ll be fighting poverty, $25 at a time.