Gift Certificates Pay It Forward… and Back Again

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This year, give someone the opportunity to truly change the life of a person living in poverty in the developing world., the world’s first microlending website, lets individuals purchase gift certificates for friends and family, allowing them to make a loan directly to a developing world entrepreneur.

“A gift certificate is much more than a gift — it’s the start of a very positive cycle of loaning to a deserving entrepreneur, getting paid back and loaning again,” said Matt Flannery, CEO and Co-Founder of “We have seen so many lives changed by what we might consider a tiny loan in this country.” President Clinton, who features in his new book, “Giving,” said, “Through, people around the world can become micro-bankers to developing world entrepreneurs, who have their own ideas, so we can give them a chance to raise their kids with dignity, send their kids to school, and in troubled places like Afghanistan we can marginally increase the chance that peace can prevail, because people will see there is a positive alternative to conflict.”

How it Works gift certificates are easily purchased on in multiples of $25. Once received, the gift recipients go to, redeem their gift online and then choose an entrepreneur to lend to, such as Damaso Clares of Bolivia, who needs $600 to buy a dairy cow, or Judith Mumbo of Kenya who needs $175 to purchase a machine for her candle-making business. Lenders then choose the amount they would like to contribute to the loan, starting at $25. Throughout the course of the loan (typically 12 months) lenders receive email updates on repayments made and the progress of the business. When the loan is repaid, the funds are returned in full to the lenders — the ultimate recycling of money!

Why Lend

Kiva Lenders are attracted to the personal connection they feel with the entrepreneur whose business they have invested in, and the feeling of mutual respect and dignity encouraged through lending rather than donating. Ann, a lender from Seattle, said: “This was my opportunity to invest in someone else’s dream. It’s rewarding to know that you don’t have to give much to make a huge difference in someone’s life.”

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