Typically during the holiday season, we focus on those closest to us. And that’s not a bad thing. But it’s good to remember there are many outside our immediate spheres that could use some help.

What you might not think about is that these two focuses (or foci?) can be combined with some really thoughtful gifts. Each Tuesday, we’re going to suggest one such charitable gift that reaches out to others on behalf of those you love.

It’s always best to make these donations personal, and our first suggestion is certainly that.

Choose your own Charitable Adventure

According to their mission statement,’s mission is to “connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” Kiva connects people with small business owners around the globe, but particularly in developing nations. You lend small amounts of money ($25) to those entrepreneurs, and they expand their business and make their lives and communities better. Then, surprisingly often at almost 99%, that entrepreneur pays you back.

kiva - crowdsourcing charity

I like to think of a Kiva loan as a donation that you’ll probably get to donate over and over.

So what’s great about giving a Kiva gift card? It’s great because the recipient then gets to pick exactly where and with whom they would like to invest/donate the money. They get to pick what they care about. And because they’ll probably get to invest that money over and over, it’s the warm fuzzy feeling gift that keeps on giving.

My nephew turned 10 this year and I gave him the first of his Kiva gift cards. I plan to continue to give him a $25 gift card each year for his birthday, so that by the time he goes off to college, he’ll have good bank of Kiva dollars to continue to invest over and over. And while he does it, he gets a little view of what life is like in developing countries, what it’s like to be a small business owner, and what it’s like to be an investor, all while building good habits about charitable giving.

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