Microlending – Charity 2.0

Charity. It’s something we all think about and most of us try to do our little but, but form many reasons we just do not do it as much as we should, or could really afford. I think one of the reasons many people are reluctant to give to Charity is the lack of knowlege or even belief, in exactly where that money goes and the benefits it gives. There are alternatives such as sponsoring a child where you get the odd letter and photo froma  child in Africa, somethng which I have done in the past and yes it was rewarding, but sometimes you are still left witha  sense tha you are not really helping in the best possible way.

So here comes technology to put a new spin on things and a fresh look at how you can help people. Like the “Teach a man to fish” story, instead of just giving people money, how about lending them the money to create a business themselves so they can generate their own income. There are several sites which you can now go on to and browse Micro Entrepreneurs who are looking for investors in their businesses. These people are unable to get traditional lines of credit from a bank etc and are often only looking for very small amounts of money. You can give a small portion of the amount the person needs and spread your donations across a few people.

This gives a much more rewarding form of Charity as you can actually see where your money is going and how it is helping. You can even interact with the person and give them the type of help and advice that money cannot provide easily. Also, they are essentially loans you are giving – ok if his business does not work out you are not going to sue him to get your money back – it is charity – but if it does work out you get your money back and you can use that money to help someone else.

I have yet to give this a go but definitely want to give it a shot quite soon. I’m sure the recession is hitting Charities particularly hard. Wired Magazine have a good article on Top 10 Lessons From a Microlending Pioneer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcredit#Microcredit_and_the_Web – is a good list of sites to get started with.

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