I first stumbled upon Kiva when I was speaking with a friend of mine who worked for a microfinance company named Accion Emprendedora in Santiago, Chile. For those who don’t understand what microfinance companies do, they provide small loans, even as low as tens of dollars, to individuals to provide the capital investment they require to run their respective business.
Now understand this is not exclusive dedicated to traditional businesses, but can even provide the necessary means for a farmer to purchase, say, a cow to provide milk and eventually meat. Kiva has taken this concept to another level and implemented a means to connect those seeking microcredit with the average person. Whether you are donating the money or receiving the money, you no longer need to go through a microfinance company, effectively skipping the middle man.
In addition, they have made it incredibly easy and personal to make to donation to the cause. You can peruse through hundreds of “profiles” and eventually pick the individual of your choice. Once you make your donation, which can be as little as $25, you have the option to have your donation recycled to new individuals once the initial beneficiary pays back their loan. Effectively, your $25, about the cost of a night at the movies for two, can help finance dozens of individuals. It’s incredibly powerful to think how influential, and beneficial a few bucks can be.
If the generous act itself isn’t convincing enough, microfinance has proven to be incredibly successful, with Kiva boasting 98.95% repayment rate. It’s a wonderful concept, and the math proves it is an amazingly effective business strategy. By creating a means for the avearage person to easily, yet substantially, influence another’s life makes Kiva one of the best philanthropic organizations I’ve ever seen. So get out your credit cards, hold off one week for the movie date, and change a life through Kiva.