Kiva: Loans that are changing lives

Buying a Car? A house? Starting up a business? Need money for college? I could go on but whatever the reason is, you’re in a situation where you need a loan. You’re looking for a bank to lend you a helping hand and in exchange you will pay them back (in installments) the full amount, plus interest.

Seems like a pretty normal situation.

However, what if that bank was you? What if poor students and entrepreneurs from across the world told you why they needed a loan, how it would help them and were willing to pay you back (with interest)?

Seems like an interesting concept?

Well, that’s exactly what Kiva.org is – a crowd-sourced micro-lending website/platform service that allows individuals (like you and I) to lend money to extremely low income students and entrepreneurs across the globe.

Crowd-sourced micro-lending?

This is the source of how Kiva operates and it’s basically a group of people contributing Read more…

Global Giving: Funding the underdog

Transparency…

When deciding which do-good organization is deserving of my hard-earned cash, I am continuously faced with the same problem: How can I ensure my money finds its way to the cause that needs it the most while not falling prey to a scam in the process? It’s no surprise that the most well known organizations are also the most well-funded.

And it is because of transparency.

Whether or not it’s a legitimate concern, people feel more comfortable donating money to an organization that is publicly renowned. GlobalGiving is seeking to change that.

In the beginning

GlobalGiving was born of the desire of Mari Kuraishi and Dennis Whittle, World Bank executives, to find a new strategy to alleviate poverty. As explained on Whittle’s personal blog, while the pair acknowledged the merits of the top-down approach to tackling worldwide poverty taken by the Bank, they also saw a need for a bottom-up methodology which could provide financial Read more…

Crowdrise: If you don’t give back, no one will like you

How many of you have tried raising money for a worthy cause and found it very difficult?

Personally, I’m trying to do so at the moment, and am finding it challenging, especially online.

Raising awareness seems easy enough, but having people actually donate… well that’s another story.

It would certainly be nice to have a place where all my friends can get involved, be able to contribute directly to my initiative and receiving a further incentive for doing so.

This would not only keep them motivated, but it would make raising money a lot more fun – so much so that everyone else would actually want to get involved.

Enter Crowdrise…

Crowdrise started as a dry run when brothers Robert and Jeffrey Wolfe (creators of online outdoor apparel store Moosejaw), along with (film producer) Shauna Robertson, teamed up with (actor /philanthropist) Edward Norton and his organization (Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust) to create a web-based Read more…

DonorsChoose: You Can Choose to Help Students Learn

Take yourself back. All the way back – to when you were in school.

It’s after recess, you’re sitting at your desk watching your classmates getting excited about the paper-mache project you and your peers will be spending the afternoon working on. You’re enthused as well, but unlike the rest, you’re containing yourself. You know what you’re going to create, and it’s going to be awesome.

The teacher walks in and she has an announcement. “Class, due to budget cuts and lack of funding, the principal has decided that we will not be buying any supplies this year and unfortunately, that means no glue. So unfortunately our craft session will have to be cancelled. We can spend the rest of the day learning art history instead”

I apologize to the people who love art history (I’m one of them) but I was really looking forward to making a paper-mache light saber!

More and more, Read more…

A kickstarter for your creative project

So let’s say you are an artist.

A film maker, musician, perhaps a designer, a writer, or an illustrator. Or maybe a performer, curator, promoter or even an explorer and you’re looking for a way to not only get your project funded but be motivated by others to get it off the ground and running.

What would you do? Where would you go for help?

How about if you’re a person who just enjoys supporting other people’s creative efforts.  You’d love to fund their ambitious, yet passionate endeavors and you like the thought that your contribution will actually help initiate their project. Since you’re not expecting anything, you consider it a bonus that you will actually receive something in return directly from the creator of the project for engaging your (financial) pledge.

Here’s a thought – How about looking at Kickstarter, website that allows people to fund and follow creativity.

This is how it works: Read more…