Charity &

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When I began working in 2001 the combination of living with the parents and working full-time led to the accumulation of more money than I knew what to do with. Thanks to Sal, then my boss, asking me to re-build parts of Yahoo! AU&NZ Finance, I read up about shares and the sharemarket and dabbled a bit on that front. But I also thought it would be nice to give some of that money to charity as I'd never had that much money before, and I certainly didn't need all of it.

I began by donating to the usual suspects - The Cancer Council, the Starlight Foundation and other big names. I honestly regret doing that as that landed my name onto various donor lists and I get endless amounts of spam from all sorts of charities that I have never dealt with. It also greatly annoys me the amount of marketing crap some charities send. Its 2009 and there's this thing called the internet where you can put up a website, and send emails for almost nothing - there's no need to send glossy newsletters by post.

Thanks to these wasteful behaviours I started looking a little more closely at various charitable organisations and today I support only two on a regular basis. MSF, and

Today, in the latest Kiva newsletter, there is this enlightening video:

I really dig the micro-finance concept as it does away with the "hand out" mentality, and as a donor I like the idea that I can keep re-lending money (if it does come back) which is nice considering I'm not exactly financially wealthy. I started out with a plan - I was donating $50/month to MSF, and I thought I'd do the same with My aim was to lend US$50 via each month, eventually reaching a point where my account would become self-sustaining as existing borrowers repaid their loans. Most loans on Kiva run for about 12-18 months so it would take roughly that long to reach that point.

The table below details my Kiva stats. I've put in US$1,225 over the last 23 months but lent out $1850 as $650 of the first "round" of loans have been repaid. I lost $30 when one of the MFIs went bankrupt.

$1,850 in loans over 23 months
More on my lender page.

The default rate might seem high but from a donor's perspective 5% is still better than the 100% disappearance rate when you donate to a regular charity, and I really like being able to vaguely target how my money is spent. And should I fall on rough times, I can opt to pull money back out as it's repaid. So go on, lend some money today.

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This page contains a single entry by goosmurf published on January 11, 2009 1:34 PM.

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