Want to make a difference? I have written a few posts on using Magento for Charities (I had planned to do more), but I came across a different approach relevant more for those in the Magento community. Why not support Team Magento set up by
@gxjansen on Kiva?
What is Kiva?
Kiva.org is a site that makes it easy to make a micro-loans to people around the world, especially those in developing countries. I am no expert, but there seems to be everything from individuals trying to get clean water to their home to co-ops borrowing money so they can buy things to then go sell.
The thing is about Kiva is it is for making loans to people. They are expected to pay back the loan. So it is not a charity site asking for donations. Sometimes people fail to pay back loans, and there are risks of currency fluctuations meaning you might not get back what you put in, but looking at the loans Team Magento have made so far, most have got paid back.
The other nice thing is you can loan as little as $25 and a number of people can get together and support the one person asking for the loan. So if you feel like making say $100 available for those who could do with a kick start, you can reduce your exposure by supporting 4 people. If one falls through, you don’t lose all your money.
Most of the loans I have seen are repaid over a period of a year or so. This means if you put up say $100, after a year you should have most if not all of that $100 back. This means every quarter you can go and find someone else to help and reinvest the $25 somewhere else. You may lose some money sometimes, but this is different to a charity in that you are not just handing over money. It is a loan. You normally get the money back, and when repaid you can pull your money out if you want to.
The site does give an opportunity to donate to Kiva as well to cover expenses. That is up to you. You can always donate some of the repayments later I expect.
I’m In! How do I Start?
Here is my expert advice after using the site for less than an hour.
- Register your email address on kiva.org
- Join Team Magento – do this before making any loans.
- Have a look at what loans others in Team Magento have already contributed to. You might like to add to an existing loan that is not fully funded yet. (Go to the “Loans” tab on the team Magento page and look for ones marked “raising funds”.)
- Otherwise, look for a new request for a loan. You can search by a number of factors. Team Magento is trying to encourage commerce, so you might prefer to find someone raising money to kick start a business.
- When you make a loan, make sure you associate it with Team Magento so its associated with the team.
- I paid using PayPal.
- Feel good knowing you helped someone.
That’s it. It was pretty painless, and you are helping out someone who needs a kick start.