Happy SMART Day Everyone!
Did you know that one of the best ways to help yourself is to help others? Dozens of studies demonstrate that people who volunteer and aid others are themselves on the receiving end of both obvious and hidden benefits. That’s why this week we think it’s SMART to suggest one of our favorite “giving” websites—that website is Kiva.org. Do yourself a favor this week and help someone else. Kiva makes it easy.
Kiva.org was founded in 2005 and is built around the idea that most people in the world make less than $1 per day. However, if given a chance, most people will create ways to sustain themselves through creating small businesses in their communities to make a living. But to get started, many of these people need a small loan—or a micro-loan—and that’s where Kiva.org comes in to help. By accepting small increments of money from those willing to get involved (like you and me) Kiva puts the money in the hands of those in need looking for a small loan to get started and be sustainable. Each person receiving the micro-loan in turn pays it back from the proceeds of their business, and once KIVA has the money back in hand, it turns it around and allows you to lend it again. The money is not considered a gift—it is a loan. And the good it shares continues to go out and come back on a regular basis.
The ongoing nature of KIVA is very sustainable because it helps others help themselves. While there are lots of websites where you can merely donate money to a good cause, Kiva goes a step farther and goes beyond that by helping others become self-sufficient. Admittedly there are some reports stating that the actual person or group you think you are lending to, may or may not be who gets the money—but either way you can be sure the money goes to help others help themselves—and that feels plenty good to those of us who are called to be a part it. Besides that obvious sense of feeling good, helping others offers verifiable health benefits like lower rates of depression, less incidence of heart disease, and lower rates of mortality.
There is nothing wrong about feeling good when helping others—and if there are as many benefits as we are now aware—we should feel called to actually do more on a regular basis. Check out Kiva.org if you aren’t familiar with it and if it sounds like a good idea, consider investing. If not, start looking for some other way to give to others—believe me, it is a very good way to live SMART 365.