Have you heard about Kiva? No it's not another monthly subscription, although you could make it into one and that would be a terrific thing. Kiva is a non-profit organization that connects people through micro-lending. Yes, I said lending. I know this doesn't sound like it's going to be a fun topic but here me out. I'll be quick.
The short story is Kiva works with micro-lending institutions on five continents to provide loans to people who don't have access to traditional banking systems. Say a baker in Samoa needs a loan to purchase more supplies for her German Bun business. She asks for a loan for $350 with a promise to pay it back within 14 months. You can lend her any amount you want between $25-$350 and every month you will get a portion of your loan back until the whole amount you loaned is paid off. This baker gets the needed supplies for her business and you helped. How awesome is that! This was an actual loan I made back in May 2009. The $350 was funded by 10 of us and she repaid every cent back. I often wonder how her business is doing.
I have been lending through Kiva since February 2008. I started with $25 out of my pocket then when that was repaid I re-loaned it to someone else and continued with that cycle. I have made 26 loans for a total of $650 with only about $100-$125 of actual out of pocket money.
The fun thing about Kiva is you can narrow down who, where or what type of business you want to loan to. You can select by gender, location, industry or attributes. Looking for a female in Jordan who wants money to expand her blanket making business? Lend to Juana from Bolivia, she is currently asking for $750 to purchase wool to sell more blankets.
For me lending money is just as addicting as subscription services. I make it fun and tell people I have a goat farm in Kenya, a corn and rice farm in Ecuador, and even a beauty salon in the U.S. (yes you can even loan to people in the U.S.). Of course I don't "have" these businesses but I like to think my $25 helped play a small role in helping these entrepreneurs expand and grow their business.
Right now Kiva is offering a free trial loan for new users. They will give you the $25 for you to loan all you need to do is sign up and pick your lendee. The money will go back into the Kiva account once it's paid back but you are welcome to put you own money in and lend again. You may just help change a life.
To get your free trial you must use my Kiva referral link.