While I spoke yesterday of how great it can be to give your time when you cannot give money there is always need for charitable donations of monetary value. There is a million worthy causes under the sun and how you spend your charity money should always be in line with your own values.
I would however, like to draw your attention to the organization that I have been supporting for number of years. Kiva is a web-based charity that links entrepreneurs from around the world with people who are willing to help fund their small business. In the traditional charitable format is that of giving a family a goat so that they can make and sell cheese. Through Kiva you lend the family the money, which they use to buy a goat. With the money they make selling cheese they pay you back.
Once your loan is fully reimbursed you can either withdraw the sum or you can either withdraw the sum or you can loan it again and help another family. Loans can be as little as $25 and are administered on the ground by microfinance institutions, which are vetted by the Kiva team. One of the big questions is how do I know that my money will come back? Overall Kiva’s repayment rate currently sits at about 99%. Personally I’ve lent over $20,000 dollars (which is possible because I lend out the money again once it comes back) and to date have only lost $75 (or a repayment rate of almost 99.6%). In my mind I would rather chance losing $25 on a loan which I will be able to relend then give away $25.
The entire idea behind microfinance fascinates me. Instead of giving people a hand out you are giving them a hand up. The people taking the loans are accountable for what they do with the money lent and use it to build a business, which will improve their standard of living over the long term.
The one draw back I can see associated with loans is that it is not considered a taxable donation, since you get your money back. However, donations that are made directly to Kiva in order to support their infrastructure are eligible for tax receipts. I invite you to take a look at what Kiva has to offer the world, and be a worthwhile venture.