I stumbled upon Kiva while looking for a charity. I wanted to give, but I couldn’t think of a cause. There are plenty of noble causes out there, and I have given to a number of them, but I wanted something more than just sending some cash off to an address. Kiva offered two things others didn’t. One, a way to see my money working. Two, a way to keep on giving.
The central idea of Kiva is microlending. It is hard to go to a bank, especially in the less developed parts of the world, and get a few hundred dollars to improve your business. Kiva partners with lots of lenders to reach lots of people, and while I’m certain there isn’t an actual 1-to-1 relationship with what I see on the website and what is really happening, there is enough of an illusion and enough truth to make it okay that my $25 isn’t actually going to the person I picked, but is really going into a pool to fund microlending all over the world and the person I picked is one of those people getting a loan and doing the thing they said.
And because it’s a loan, they pay it back (most of the time), and you get your money back, and you can lend it again. This is the best part of Kiva. As of this moment, I have $225 in the system. It goes out, it comes back in, it goes out again. And when I get a bonus at work, or Christmas, or my birthday, or anytime I feel a need, I drop another $25 in, which grows the total and increases the number of times per year I can make loans.
I have a team, ProbablyNot Limited of course. If you would like to join, click here. Last I checked, we had made 38 loans totaling $950.