One of the things I'm passionate about is helping others. I'm not only frugal, but I have a pretty low income right now too, so helping others monetarily is not usually an option for me. However, a few years ago I did find out from a friend about Kiva which has given me the opportunity to help others in impoverished countries and I've currently loaned over $1,000 to those trying to improve their life situations. I was able to do all of this with only an initial $25 donation.
What is Kiva
Kiva is a charity loan program that allows you to make microloans to individuals and groups of individuals that need help with their small businesses, education or basic life needs. Kiva focuses mainly on countries and individuals that live in poverty areas, although they do have some groups that focus on loans in the US if you're interested in loaning closer to home.
I have loaned to women and families that need money for school fees, livestock, material for sewing kiosks etc. A standard loan might be a total of $500 USD to help a family buy a goat or a group of goats which will provide their entire income for the year. As a micro-loaner, you loan $25 and other participants make up the difference.
How I Loaned So Much
The best thing about Kiva is that you can re-lend your money once it's paid back. I've loaned the same $25 over and over again reaching over $1,000 in total amount loaned. I've helped 31 people so far! You can always loan an additional amount out of your own pocket, or you can loan that same $25 over and over again. I always choose a loan with a short return time so I can help others more quickly.
Join a Team
Once you join Kiva, you can join a team. It doesn't have to be a team of people you know, you can join a team like, Nerdfighters, Kiva Christians or Team Canada. Join a team just allows you to track how your team is lending, see what campaigns people like the most and join together to help more individuals. Of course, if you don't want to play on a team, you can go it alone too.
How You Can Help Too!
If you want to try it, I urge you to try through this link to Kiva. I personally won't earn any money for you joining, but I will get a credit to Kiva that I can use to make another loan to a needy family. Thanks! Happy Helping!