Saturday, April 3, 2010

Re-loaned

I’ve spoken before about how I think one of the best charities around is kiva.org. Basically, it makes micro-loans to entrepreneurs in disadvantaged locations to help them expand their businesses. Because the funds are loans they are paid back over a period of time. The good thing is that, once returned, the money loaned can be withdrawn or re-loaned, which is exactly what I’ve just done.

The great thing is that it brings together those who need the loans with those prepared to lend using technology. By having many different people contribute to a single overall loan lenders can mitigate their risk. Given the regions where some of these people are running businesses is not the most conductive to commerce. I must say however, that I have not yet had a loan not repaid, ever.

It is really very easy to get into the microfinance game. Simply go you kiva.org and sign up. From there select from a list of people whom you’d like to help and then make a secure payment via credit card. As the loan progresses you’ll get updates and information about the person who you lent the money to. At the end of the term you’ll generally get the money back and be ready to make another loan.

This form of charity appeals to me on a number of different levels. Firstly, you are loaning money to entrepreneurs who are trying to better themselves through business (which I can associate closely with). Next any money you give is provided as a loan with the intention of having it repaid. Thus, any funds you contribute can be loaned out to others so it is helping more than just one person. Finally I like the way that you actually find out more about the person you are loaning to quickly and easily by the web site.

I would encourage you to sign up and kiva.org and start helping those trying to help themselves. If you want a better idea of how my money has been allocated see my lender page at:

http://www.kiva.org/lender/robert5824

It doesn’t take much sometimes to make a big difference.