Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Free Way to Help Others

This week I learned through two different sources about a very interesting social lending program (for lack of a better word) that I thought I would share. Kiva Microfunds is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that connects lending from people via the internet with entrepreneurs in developing countries via partner institutions (referred to as "field partners" on Kiva's website). Kiva operates based on grants, loans, and donations and does not collect any interest on the loans it facilitates, though their field partners do collect interest. The organization is headquartered in California.

Basically, the way it works is that you--the lender--visit the website and browse the qualified entrepreneurs. Each entrepreneur has a profile and photograph, along with descriptions of the work they are trying to perform (which can range from personal needs like fixing their home to professional needs like restocking their inventory) and the loan amount they are requesting. Lenders can choose to lend as little as $25 to an entrepreneur. Over time, multiple lenders finance 100% of the loan. As loan capital comes in, the funds are transferred to the field partners who disburse the money to the appropriate entrepreneurs. As loans are repaid, the lenders may choose to withdraw their money or re-lend to another entrepreneur. You (the lender) to not make any interest money, but you can reinvest the original amount of your loan. All of this is done via the internet using PayPal.

The first time you loan via Kiva, you can do so with someone else's money. Wait, what???  That's right, every person who wishes to see how Kiva works can sign in and donate $25 of someone else's money (typically an anonymous donor) to an entrepreneur as a free trial to see how the process works. If you are referred by someone (say, like me!) the referring party ALSO gets a free $25 to lend... So, for example, let's say 5 people read this blog and go lend their free $25...  that means that the total lended amount is $100 and if they use my referral link, I also get $100 so we will have lent $200----ALL FOR FREE TO US. If one or more of us chooses a "double impact loan" (another anonymous donor has pledged to match the funds) then we can make that amount go even further.  It's really an amazing concept in microfinance.

Kiva, like Compassion, has a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. Ninety-eight percent of loans are repaid, making it fairly low risk. It's a great way to make your money go a long way towards helping others, and it's not a hand out--it's a way to help people work hard towards bettering their lives!

I learned about Kiva on and through reading the phenomenal book "Half the Sky" (which I think every single man and woman in the developed world should be reading). So Check Kiva Out! Be sure to use my referral link so that we can make our dollars go further!!

Oh, and don't forget to visit my ETSY store, Conspiracy of Love!  I add new things every day and 100 percent of your purchase price benefits Compassion International Child Survival Programs!!!  


  1. That is so neat!! I think I'll do it...and I'll use your referral link.

  2. Your shop looks amazing and it keeps getting better! :) I love the Kiva idea, and I think I will do it in the future. Perhaps my mom would like it if I wait until I am older. I'll have to ask her.

    You received an award. please hop on over to my blog to read more about it! :)