There are different resources that can be used to give back, and Kiva is but one way to help entrepreneurs, businesses, individuals seeking an education, and others. It is also possible to donate to local charities such as the Salvation Army and their annual Red Kettle campaign, the United Way, Feeding America, and many others. you can even donate items to a business, such as gently used office furniture or electronics to a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store. It can often be a great feeling to give back financially (no matter how small the dollar amount).
Needhelppayingbills always encourages people to donate money (if they can). Or even if you can’t make a financial donation for whatever reason, it is always possible to give back to society by volunteering your time. There are many ways to make financial donations both locally and internationally, including at one of the thousands of other charities out there. But be sure to screen the charity before donating, as there are frauds and scams out there. Any dollar amount can be donated…even a few bucks if that is all that you are comfortable in giving or able to contribute.
Using a service such as Kiva or peer to peer lenders including Sofi comes with risks. While the repayment rate for those companies and other related lenders is very high, unfortunately it may not work out. As it is hard/imprecise to determine the credit worthiness of say a farmer in Africa or someone seeking to start a retail store in Thailand. So there are some risks with some businesses that you invest in or that you loan money to. There are risks whether you use Kiva, Lending Club, or any of the other lending platforms out there. Always keep that in mind before making an investment.
Even if you invest money, due to that risk, businesses may fail. The data is, according to many experts, many businesses, in particular start ups, fail. In addition, some of the borrowers through companies such as Kiva are based overseas, so it may be even more challenging for the companies to collect the loan or determine their creditworthiness. While the services such as Kiva and Lending Club do their best to screen out the applicants who are seeking money, they are not fail safe.
It can also be very difficult through Kiva or another peer to peer lending service to identify the companies which may fail or succeed, but Kiva does work with local partners to try to help minimize the risk to you…the lender. Sometimes you will invest, and it just doesn’t work out so be prepared for those losses. However the vast majority of loans (over 97%) made through Kiva are repaid. Lending Club and the other peer to peer lending type services also have high repayment rates, but they are not as high as Kiva. They do come with additional risks as the vetting process is not as detailed.
If you do not have the money to loan
Donating money using platforms like Kiva is one way to give back to society. I have used this company to make loans to many different types of businesses, including farmers in Africa, IT startups, companies creating clean water wells and students from Asia who were seeking an education to improve their families future. For those who would rather take a different approach, there are other ways to give back as well.
You can volunteer, or “donate” your time as we noted above, at any number of places. We have previously talked and written about animal shelters, helping the elderly, the Salvation Army, mentoring, and more. Food pantries, soup kitchens, clinics, job centers, and many other charities are always in need of volunteers. There are even local business groups you can donate at to help upcoming entrepreneurs, ,including immigrants who start a great number of businesses. In fact, many of them are almost “begging” for help. I volunteer/mentor through SCORE as I previously indicated as well as some other groups. We have posted quite a bit about giving back, and read more on volunteering.
No matter the result, it is still rewarding to try to help, whether financially or in some other way. Giving back and trying to help a business is one of the things that brings people confidence, builds pride, and it is a new challenge. It brings me many other positive feelings too, and it can be rewarding to do so. Many people who do give back often express the same positive feelings, and their are even medical benefits to volunteering.
Kiva financial donations
The following is a high level description of how the company operates. Of course you can go directly to their website for more detailed information. At a high level, Kiva is a non-profit that issues loans to the beneficiary or business that you select. The vast majority of the loans (over 97%) have been historically repaid. If you sign up to donate through the service, you get to select who you want to lend the money to.
It is a global company so you are able to select a borrower from almost any country in the world, a wide range of industries, backgrounds, and more. Each potential borrower has a brief description of what they need the money for…whether it is starting a business, going to school, etc. Then, over time, they will hopefully repay the loans to you through Kiva, and then you can reinvest that money into another opportunity. It can be rewarding and maybe a little fun to loan money using Kiva.
Whether you can donate financially, or give some of your time by volunteering in some other ways, there are many benefits to both you and the beneficiary. We at needhelppayingbills always encourage this when possible.