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Kiva

Submitted by on September 21, 2010 – 12:35 pm

Kiva is making a difference for small businesses around the world by combining loans and a really smart web strategy.

Like other micro-loan organizations, Kiva works with field partners who know the community and bring in potential clients, and they put together the clients’ stories, pictures, and business details for the website. People can then go to the website, read about these various different businesses and look at their stories, and choose a business to support. When the business gets off the ground, Kiva supporters are repaid by the business through PayPal, and they can choose to withdraw the money, re-lend the money to another business, or donate the money towards Kiva’s operating costs.

Recently, Kiva has branched out and started offering student loans in addition to business loans. This has garnered some media attention, especially for their “Send someone to college for $25” advertising campaign. Like the U.S.-based Donors Choose, Kiva supporters can see exactly where their money is going and who it is helping, and it creates a positive experience for lenders, entrepreneurs, and students.

For those who want to give their time as well as their money, Kiva has a fellowship program. The program gives volunteers 21 years old and older the chance to work in a Kiva community from a minimum of twelve weeks up to over a year, and all fellows maintain a blog during their mission. To read blogs by current fellows, go to http://www.kiva.org/blog/fellows.

Go to http://www.kiva.org to learn more about Kiva and read about entrepreneurs who are seeking loans.

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