I have never wanted to blog about anything before but I think this is important. I want to let as many people as I can know about KIVA, why I love being a KIVA member and why KIVA is a great organization.
KIVA is a person to person microlending organization, which allows ANYONE in the world with acess to the Internet and a small amount of extra income to participate in making a positive difference for entrepreneurs accross the globe who do not have access to regular bank loans like you and I may have. KIVA loans are "loans that change lives". This is the organization's motto and it happens to be quite true.
The KIVA community has been making a positive change in the world for some time now but there is still a need for more publicity for this organization. KIVA has been featured on Oprah, CNN, Good Morning America, BBC News, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, et al. Hey, even President Bill Clinton has spoken about the organization! They have been in numerous publications such as TIME, Fortune, Forbes, Network World, USA Today and many more.
Still, too many people either do not know about KIVA or have heard the name but really do not understand what this organization is all about and how microlending works. Through their innovative use of technology, feel for personal connections with entrepreneurs accross the world as well as fellow lenders, and ease of use the organization has been able to rapidly grow to what it is today. They have reached over 100 Million in loans. If you want to see yourself how fast KIVA is growing you can go to their site at http://www.kiva.org/ and preview how many loans were made each week and how many new lenders have joined.
KIVA is easy to use. All you have to do is open an account at http://www.kiva.org/, click on Register. You can upload a photo or create an avatar (just like any social networking site). You may or may not choose to write a little bit about yourself and include a link to any other site you want to support or your own website. On the main site you can also learn about how KIVA got started, their mission and how microlending works. It REALLY is very easy to use.
You don't need much money. You only need as little as $25 to lend to a business. That's less than what it costs to fill your car or truck with gas these days, or buy a few value meals that go straight to your butt and belly! I have seen people on KIVA who do not have much extra money AT ALL! or are small business owners themselves and still find the money to lend because they know what it is like to struggle to make it on your own. Once your loan is repaid you can re-loan the money to a new business. Eventually, you can continue to cycle the money you have lent each month to new businesses without adding new funds.
You need to be clear. Your loan may or may not be repaid! Do not think that all loans will be repaid! Every time you lend there is a possibility that you will not get your money back. This is NOT a for profit organization and you will NOT collect interest on your loan. You get back exaclty what you gave, a portion of it or maybe (and that has never happened to me) nothing at all. That being said, I have been a member of KIVA since September 6th 2007, I have 64 loans and have had only two loans that defaulted. Both loans ended with a loss due to no fault of each business owner. Also, they were both partially repaid (one almost in full) so I did get more than half of my money back and was able to lend it to new businesses.
With the economy the way it is right now I have not been adding extra funds to my KIVA account lately. Still, this month I was able to make 3 loans (0ne in the USA, yes you can lend to people here in the US), gave a small donation to KIVA and still have money left over for next month.
You can be a part of a team. Once you become a member there are many teams to choose from. The main point of teams is to get together with people of common interests and join in conversation, get answers to your questions and be generally supportive of each other. You do not have to be on any team if choose not to but it is fun. You can join as many teams as you want and count your loans toward different teams. You can also start your own team and recruit members. I am a member of the Poverty2Prosperity team and The Flying Spaghetti Monster Team and I am also thinking of joining the Europe team. I love the team feature and the threads that get started. Also, you can send private messages to people of you need to.
Anyone can do this. I mean ANYONE!!! There are people from all over the world on KIVA from all kinds of backrounds, cultures and religions. I have even seen a team of high school students. So, if any of you public educators strapped for cash are wondering out there how to get your kids involved and using their noodles well here is an absolutely easy way to do it.
Well, this is all for my first blog to get you readers started. I welcome any questions so just send me a message and I will do my best to answer. If you want an invitation to become a KIVA member email me with the email address you want the invite to go to. If you want to see my KIVA profile page here it is: http://www.kiva.org/lender/milena3406.
So more about my KIVA life later! Type at ya soon :)