UPDATE: This was originally published on Aug 9, 2009. Since then, we've increased our loan value thanks to you! In this time of need all around the world, planet5D urges you to loan what ever you can afford to help others. It isn't a donation, in the vast majority of cases the money is put back in your account and you can re-loan it to others.
Original post: Many of you may not know it unless you've read the blurb at the top of the Buyer's Guide, but we donate a portion of the income from our photography and affiliate sales to local charity. In the past, we've been helping folks in our local community who have been in need and we're now expanding our giving as well as asking you to consider helping out as well. We all know times are difficult and the best way to get out of this mess is to help each other.
I am extremely blessed to be earning money from my photography and blogging hobby and it warms my heart to be able to help out others who need some additional help.
Some time ago, I found out about Kiva.org – an international organization doing ‘micro' loans to people around the world. If you're not able to give to charity, then maybe Kiva is something you can do – because you're taking your money and loaning it to someone else who will repay you later (yes, there are some loans that default so there's a bit of risk but if you spread your money thru several loans, your odds are better to retain your money). And, you're not going to earn any interest on your money, but you are helping out others to get on their feet.
Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.
The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding – not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.
Many of you who read the blog are wedding photographers – I just found a page on the Kiva site where couples are asking for Kiva donations instead of wedding gifts or shower gifts etc… maybe you can find a way of mentioning the idea to your couples and spread the gift of giving.
This morning, I joined and loaned some of the recent planet5D income. I'm eager to see these people succeed and when they pay me back, I plan to loan that same money out to others.
I also set up a “team” there – teams are a way to try to encourage others to join and I thought it would be fun to see how many of you we could gather together. When you create a team, their site creates some text for you to send out…
“I want to recruit you to my lending team, planet5D, on Kiva, a non-profit website that allows you to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur across the globe. You choose who to lend to – whether a baker in Afghanistan, a goat herder in Uganda, a farmer in Peru, a restaurateur in Cambodia, or a tailor in Iraq – and as they repay the loan, you get your money back.
If you join my lending team, we can work together to alleviate poverty. Once you're a part of the team, you can choose to have a future loan on Kiva “count” towards our team's impact. The loan is still yours, and repayments still come to you – but you can also choose to have the loan show up in our team's collective portfolio, so our team's overall impact will grow!”
As a last note, we had a google adsense ad running on the blog and in the last couple of months, it brought in $100 – this morning we put that money into 3 loans on Kiva and changed over the google ad to a Kiva ad. I hope that seeing that ad often as you read about the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, you'll join the team and begin helping others.
Even if you don't join the planet5D team, please take some time to read over the materials at Kiva and hopefully, you'll see the opportunity to help out others – even if it is only $25 at a time! Just think – that extra battery or extra flash unit or other accessory you were thinking about for the 5D2 could help someone get out of poverty.