The perfect wedding present- MONEY! (and no, not the tasteless kind)

Well, it’s wedding season. I’m sure for many of you that’s not necessarily exciting (although I’m still in that phase) it’s probably just expensive.

My friend Matt blogged about a brilliant idea a few months ago and I think that it should be promoted.

Problem:

  • Couples usually want money for their wedding instead of toasters and wine glasses that they don’t need, yet they can’t ask for it (although some still do…)
  • Giving money is unoriginal and boring

Solution:

Ask for/give money through microfinancing and get it back!

Why?

  • The money goes to a good cause – incites entrepreneurship in developing countries
  • The couple still gets money back – losing out on the time value of money (6-12 months with a pretty low default rate)
  • The giver feels good – doing a good deed and giving something valuable- to all parties
  • The couple feels good – receives money while still giving something valuable to people in need

Kiva.org is a great organization for this.

Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can “sponsor a business” and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you’ve sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

Just one of those thoughts that I think should be passed around. Honestly, I’d love to see this make it big (weddings, birthdays, Christmas etc.) Sometimes we can do without “stuff” and I don’t need your money as much as these people do…But giving to Kiva gives them the opportunity and I get double rewarded with the actual money and more importantly, the feeling that I’m actually doing something good in this world.

So think about this for the next wedding you go to and please pay it forward and spread the idea:)

 

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2 thoughts on “The perfect wedding present- MONEY! (and no, not the tasteless kind)

  1. mattroberts says:

    I charge $5 for all good ideas that are stolen. 😉

  2. Jay Godse says:

    Awesome idea Jane. The nice thing about Kiva is that you can lend in $25 increments.

    A couple of caveats. First of all, based on past performance, you will get about 98% of the money back, because some of the businesses do default. From trolling some of their projects, it looks like the typical project takes about 18 months to pay back. Also, it takes time to raise the money.

    Maybe we should encourage Kiva to open up a wedding registry or a birthday registry. When you open a registry, you list a set of projects that you would like to sponsor. Your birthday or wedding guests make a PayPal payment to Kiva to a project you have chosen if they’re still available, or another one of their choosing. As the registry owner, you get updates, and when they pay back, you get the money, not the wedding/birthday guest.

    This scheme has the nice property of “washing” your money with good deeds before taking it. It also prevents you from prematurely building up shelves full of useless crap in your house. (We still have wedding presents in our house that we haven’t tossed for 15 years). For kids, you prevent the buildup of birthday presents that turn into garage sale fodder within a week. For another, if you don’t need the money, you can continue to recycle repaid Kiva loans into other Kiva projects. You get renewable philanthropy without contributing a dime. (You are actually contributing the pre-tax opportunity cost of investing the money yourself for yourself, but the nice thing is that you don’t get taxed on what you don’t make), Finally, you get your own profile on Kiva that you can put in your Facebook profile to show what a great philanthropist you are.

    I especially like Kiva because there are so many businesses possible in poor countries if only they had access to reasonably priced capital. Because of their poor and monopolistic financial infrastructure, the local capital markets charge usurious interest rates. Kiva basically comes in and undercuts them, offering a rate that makes it attractive to get a business going.

    Kiva is not about giving a man a fish so he can eat for a day. It is about financing his fishing dory so that he can eat for life.

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