Microloans Rock!

By Scot Herrick | Personal Finance

Jan 12

moseskwambaIt is January and we’re all hit with the end of the year, performance reviews, maybe a year-end bonus, new goals for 2007…there are a lot of endings and startups this time of the year. One of the things that I want to do different this year is to figure out a better way of giving dollars to others.

I’m not a great charity fan in that I tend to not give to organizations directly. Instead, if I look over my past history of providing dollars for causes, they have tended to be directly to a person who is doing something and usually involves a pledge.

My charitable giving has been more person-to-person and not person-to-organization.

I’ve been OK with that, but in the back of my head, this seems more random and dependent upon a person I know doing something that I would want to give dollars to. I’ve been thinking about how to do things differently where I could incorporate my one-on-one giving with something that is more consistent and also personally more helpful. Fifty bucks to an organization is great, but when hundreds of thousands of fifty bucks get in there, my personal contribution gets lost. Not that it doesn’t count, but it gets lost to me.

Then Ben over at Startup Spark did this great review about helping other entrepreneurs earn a better life. In it, he writes “about the power of microcredits and microloans (and) I decided to find some worthwhile causes at Kiva.org.”

And he did, contributing to a loan to Kossi Joseph KOTSI, who has a history of using the dollars well and building a better business with his loans. At the time Ben wrote the post, Kossi was just short of getting the dollars needed for his loan and has now just gone through.

I thought that this idea was great for giving person-to-person help where a great difference could be made.

In looking through the various opportunities there, I settled on Moses Kwamba, who’s smiling face graces this blog post in his tailoring shop, and is looking for a loan to expand his tailoring business. He was close on getting the dollars for his loan, so mine should have put him over the top.

The really cool thing about this is that what I have provided is a contribution to a loan. It gets paid back. Once the loan is paid back, my dollars are then available to me to provide another loan to another person. It is a gift that can keep on helping others.

This is a great idea for helping others. I’ve known about microloans for quite a while, but have never been presented with a simple way of providing the dollars. (I’m sure any Google search would have done it…). But Ben’s post was a great personal example of giving dollars to other people in need that made things simple.

Think about how you provide dollars to help others. Then consider a microloan.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.