Give first, Web 2.0-style

Kiva.orgThose of you who know me know I’m a big fan of a little book called “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg. It’s a simple concept, really – give first, without keeping score. People who give generously often end up all the richer for it; it simply requires a bit of faith (and sometimes a little patience).

 I’ve found a great website, courtesy of Oprah, that takes this to a whole new level. Kiva is a website that crowd-sources loans to third-world entrepreneurs. Instead of looking for huge donations from a few wealthy individuals, small crowds loan small amounts, which are combined to make up microloans to business owners across the globe. Check out the women I’m helping in Senegal.

Incidently, it’s not a donation – it’s a loan, and it’s paid back over time. There’s no interest, so you won’t make money, but once a loan is paid back you can reclaim the funds or choose another small business owner to support.

What fascinates me, from a technology standpoint, is how it’s bringing people together. Those of us who are better off can each contribute a little bit here, a little bit there, and gradually these small insignificant sums start adding up to serious impact. At the same time, we get to connect to someone on the other side of the world, hear their stories, and see what it’s like. I suspect we can all learn a great deal from these determined entrepreneurs.

Business owners helping business owners, all around the world. I don’t know exactly what will come of it, but the one thing I’m sure of is that Kiva is making the world a better place. I’m excited to be a small part of it.

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One thought on “Give first, Web 2.0-style

  1. I love the “a little patience” reference. But remember that karma isn’t a one-to-one relationship. We get impatient that our giving isn’t paying off in one quarter while completely missing the opportunity our giving created because it’s coming from an unexpected source. The “watched pot” not only doesn’t boil, it gets nervous. So you can watch the pot forever, but remember that focusing on the pot means you won’t see the 7 course meal on the table. Bon Appetite!

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