Some time back, I was listening to NPR in the car, like I always do, and a really great story came on where they were discussing the end of digital rights management, micro-philanthropy and the giving trend of the tech-savvy, and the new Windows 7 Beta.  Jam packed radio goodness.

You can check it out at the KUOW site

To listen the program click on the audio links on the  right.  The part about micro-philanthropy starts at the 7 minute mark.

I was inspired listening to this to check out a non-profit organization called Kiva. They facilitate the connections between individual lenders (you or I) and individuals around the globe that need small loans in order to make a living.  This is a very reputable company and was the organization recommended by the expert in the story.

You may have heard about micro-loans in the news.  They are very successful in helping people  lift themselves out of poverty in third world countries.  The repayment rate on these loans is extremely high and these are areas where a small amount of money can do tremendous good.  

Kiva works with people all over the world, providing small loans and training to help ensure the success of these individuals and the repayment of the loans.

As a lender, you are contributing toward the loan along with many other lenders.  The the money is sent to the individual via organizations around the world that do this sort of thing.  As the loan is repaid, you will receive your money back.  The interest on the loan is paid to the organizations the deal with handing out and collecting the loan and teaching and training these people to be successful.  Your part is pure giving.  

The great part is that your small amount of money can be used again and again to purchase inventory, buy equipment or any number of other important business purchases.  As you receive your money back, it is then available to be loaned out to another individual or you can withdraw it any time via PayPal.

I was excited to give this a try and participated in my first loan yesterday.

Check out my lender profile page or better yet, give it a try yourself.