Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fundraising Done Right

Today I helped a man in Kenya buy a cow. I used a lending website called Kiva to perform this micro act of philanthropy.

I guess I’m a bit late to the party because Oprah included Kiva.org in her list of favorite things for 2010, but I have to agree with her. It’s a really, really cool idea. Kiva is a not for profit organization that works with lending agencies in developing countires. These agencies post brief profiles for borrowers, and then Kiva users choose to lend as little as $25 to the person. Projects on Kiva range from purchasing supplies and merchandise for shops to financing indoor pumbling for a family's home.

The great part about Kiva is that your participation is not viewed as a donation. Instead, each borrower profile gives a timeline for when the money will be returned to your account. This money can either be pulled out of the Kiva system or reinvested in other projects. Kiva’s return rate is impressive - hovering somewhere around 97%. Those are pretty good odds that you’ll see you money again.

I think there’s definite educational application for Kiva. Every year students get sucked into countless fundraisers. They sell candy bars, wrapping paper, candles, cookie dough, magazines, etc. The list goes on. The problem with this the focus of the fundraising becomes the act of generating the funds instead of the good cause that the funds are supporting. Kiva is different in the sense that students can see the face of the person being affected by their generosity. This is the crucial step that every other charity/fundraising activity in schools is missing.

This is Peter. I helped him buy a cow for his family.

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2 Responses:

Adam Cross said...

What a great concept!

John Mikulski said...

@Adam -

I'm actually planning on having students create books on storybird.com and then use them to fundraise so we can sponsor loans on Kiva.