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Earlier this month Million Dollar Journey posted about Kiva.org. I'm all for micro lending, but I'm looking to see if anyone else has used Kiva.org? Lending Money Through Kiva What about other Peer to Peer options, like Lending Club and Prosper?

Right now I'm just curious about the experiences of others and where you think micro lending fits into everything.
 

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I havent looked into the details ... but I think lending through Kiva doesnt earn interest on the money you are lending - correct? Unless I am missing / misread something.

So Kiva is more of a charity, rather than an investment?
 

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I have been donating through Kiva for the past couple of years. I donate the same money over and over again. It is not an 'investment' as you don't earn a return on your money, it is a form of charitable donation. I have always been repaid as agreed. I like choosing which entrepreneur to support.
I think Kiva rawks! :)
 

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is it a registered charity..? do you get a tax-receipt for it? if not.. then why bother?
A true gift is not made with the expectation of something in return. There are plenty of people, myself included, who regularly make donations to non-registered charities or to charities outside of Canada and see no tax benefit for it. It's not because we're stupid. It's because we believe in what these organizations are doing.

Microfinance is an admirable model: instead of giving people a handout, they're given a loan and are responsible for paying it back. It creates a different dynamic between donor and recipient, and gives the recipient a measure of dignity and responsibility that they wouldn't experience with traditional aid. People who believe in that model and want to support it will contribute even if they see no financial benefit themselves. The value and benefits they gain from their generosity are best measured in non-monetary terms.
 

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A true gift is not made with the expectation of something in return. There are plenty of people, myself included, who regularly make donations to non-registered charities or to charities outside of Canada and see no tax benefit for it. It's not because we're stupid. It's because we believe in what these organizations are doing.
Brad, I think that somehow rubbed you the wrong way. Like many people, I set a target for how much I will give to charity each year, a budget which is set on the expectation that the govt tax credit essentially reduces that amount by nearly half. So by all means I will give to non-Canadian-registered charities (and have done so), but I need to somehow believe my contribution is going twice as far.
 

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I set a target for how much I will give to charity each year, a budget which is set on the expectation that the govt tax credit essentially reduces that amount by nearly half.
That's a smart strategy and I have no quibble with that; I was just objecting to "do you get a tax-receipt for it? if not.. then why bother?" which implies that there's no reason to donate to a charity unless you're going to see a tax benefit.

By far the biggest single donation I've made in my life was to a cooperative in Afghanistan that is not a registered charity in Canada; I bought and shipped them a couple of solar generators. It cost me many hours of my time in research and logistics, and about $10,000 of my hard-earned money. But it was a life-changing experience for me, and it gave me a sense of tangible accomplishment that I rarely get in my work.

I class this kind of non-deductible giving in the same category as travel: at the end of a trip you have nothing to show for all the money you spent except the experience, which you will keep with you for the rest of your life. Similarly, you might not get any direct monetary benefit from a donation to a foreign or non-registered charity, but if you really believe in what they do and want to help them, the benefits are immeasurable.
 

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thanks to brad for expressing the true meaning of a charitable donation.

my parents always used to teach that a real gift should "hurt" the donor, in a constructive kind of way. If an object is to be offered to a friend or relative, it should be something so beautiful or so rare that the parting with it causes a pang, my mother used to say. If a donation is to be made to a foreign charity, the absence of a tax receipt should be the grain that produces the pearled experience, she might have added.
 

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My Girlfriend has been lending money via Kiva for a few years now . Each time she has been paid back in full (3x now, I believe) and she adds a little more to the pot each time. From what I gather she gets to choose which project her money goes towards and the organization is very transparent on the (low) management cost.

Her motivation is definitely on the side of ethical charity (teaching to fish rather than handing out a Mcfish sandwich). She is not particularly investment minded and believes in giving micro loans to people in the developing and 3rd world a chance at starting their own business's. Rather than any tax break or return on investment.

hope this helps

SM
 

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My wife and I have been members of Kiva for a few years now. We find it to be a worthwhile organization. We initially put in $100 to our account and then searched the database for individuals we wanted to loan money to. The profiles of the people gave us a good idea as to whether we wanted to loan them the money.
These are mico-loans of $25 or more given to people who want to start up or improve a business in third world countries. The money has always been paid back to our account so that we may lend it out again. We do not make money on these loans, we provide an opportunity for other people to earn a living. It is not a Canadian registered charity, but that is not important.

Anybody who is interested should research the site and the organization to see if it would suit them. If you loan the money and find that the experience is not for you then you can withdraw the money when it has been paid back.

Scott
 
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