— giving and doing business all in one

I haven’t gone to church for months, so in trying to feel good about myself, I decided to do the next best thing — microfinance someone. You could say that a microfinance is like a venture capital that you invest in a business, but really it is more of an investment opportunity where your money can be used again and again to help the poor get off their feet and attain financial freedom. In other words, microfinance is a glamour word for what it actually is — a donation (I know I’m oversimplifying its actual meaning, but that’s what I wish it should be anyway).

I heard about through my favorite daytime show, Oprah, when they were interviewing Bill Clinton, and he in turn introduced the Kiva founders, a couple named Matt and Jessica Flannery. Kiva’s business model is very simple.
1) Kiva lenders collectively funds a listed enterpreneur of their choice with a loan.
2) The money is distributed to the chosen enterpreneur via Kiva’s microfinance partner.
3) The enterpreneur repays the loan to Kiva lenders.
4) Kiva lenders can re-lend the funds, donate them to Kiva, or withdraw them.
Like so.
Kiva -- How It Works

I like the fact that Kiva supports PayPal payments where all my online income is going into, and so I did my first Kiva funding of USD25 (check out my Lender’s Profile while you’re at it). I know that isn’t much, but that’s what’s left in my PayPal since I haven’t been actively making money these past couple of months.
Me in Kiva's Bloggers group

Still, it feels good knowing that I’ve helped made a change in someone else’s life. The best thing is that when Patricia manages to pay me back, I can do the whole good deed all over again, and that would be double my happiness! You know what karma says — what goes around, comes around.

For this reason, I am at this moment declaring that 25% of my monthly earnings from this blog (which translates to roughly around USD50 including ads and paid postings) will go to funding Kiva as well as another of my chosen non-profit organization. It’s highly likely it will be Doctors Without Borders, the group of people responsible for introducing the life-saving Plumpy’nut and end malnutrition deaths among infants and children in the Third World countries (! watched this amazing peanut-butter like food helping infants as young as 4 months old stayed alive through 60 Minutes). I just hope they accept PayPal ’cause I don’t have a cheque.

p.s. Will this make me feel better about not going to church? Unlikely πŸ˜›

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Posted on 29 September, 2008 under Life in reality, Life online and tagged with , , , ,


  1. Dean says:

    Thanks Lorna,… I hope that I can be somewhere near your level in the future,…. self hosted and blog monetization.

    1. Lorna says:

      All the best to you — it can be done!

  2. Michael says:

    I have heard of Kiva from a lady at my work. They are a good organization and it allows you to easily lend people people money from around the world. It also allows you to easily track where you money is going. I have been meaning to try it out, but I will definitely go through with it in the future.

  3. kouji says:

    fascinating. i’ve read quite a bit about the benefits of micro finance, but i like that here, it’s quite easy to get involved. will check out the site. thanks for the heads up.

  4. rummuser says:

    It is indeed a very good thing that you are doing there. I salute you.

    There are many such initiatives run on commercial lines in India which are proving to be very successful. There is no need for any charity and the banking model itself is self sustaining because, the recovery rate is very high. There are hardly ever any bad debts.

    1. Lorna says:

      It’s interesting to note that the low-income persons utilizing the microfinancing options are less likely to default on payments compared to the normal businesses. Thanks for commenting.

  5. kouji says:

    thanks again for introducing me to kiva. πŸ™‚ am unable to make a donation at this point. πŸ™ but i did write a post about it, and put the banner on my sidebar. πŸ™‚

    so along with freerice and goodsearch, i also try to promote kiva. πŸ™‚

    1. Lorna says:

      Thanks for highlighting freerice and goosearch, I’ll check them out.

  6. Joselyn says:

    Fascinating. i’ve read quite a bit about the benefits of micro finance, but i like that here, it’s quite easy to get involved. will check out the site.

  7. Kiva sure looks like it has found a role that had not previously been assumed. The model they have, which you have described here, looks to fit into current demand for resources to assist in the numerous procedures that are being undertaken by smaller groups or individuals.

  8. Downloadic says:

    Yep, its fascinating. Thanks for introducing the kiva.

  9. appleblogger says:

    i heard about kiva before. Its cool and if you have more money, you can help them by donate 25 dollar todays. πŸ™‚

  10. Jeremy says:

    It’s nice to see people developing a microfinance business concept that actually works. For the last decade or so there has been an understanding that microfinace is a great way to give back to developing nations or simply entrepreneurs in need. A little goes a long way.

    The problem has always been with the implementation, individual financiers instead of grouping multiple parties together, poorly managed sites, etc.

    My neighbor has been using Kiva for a while now and has nothing but good things to say about it. I plan to try it myself soon.


  11. Cathy says:

    Nothing beats going to church (and praying), but helping the poor is also another thing. While it may not make you feel a bit great about not going to church, it does, to some point, make you feel great about a whole other thing.

    Kudos to you. I’d like to try that myself soon!

  12. it?s quite easy to get involved. will check out the site. thanks for the heads up.

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