The other day I had an opportunity to chat with the team at Care International in London who have recently completed what I believe is the first ‘Kiva-alike’ microfinance-based fundraising site to be launched (I’ve certainly been surprised not to have heard about others before now).
Like the incredibly successful Kiva, which brought the concept of microfinance donating to the world and now has over 475,000 donors and a total loaned amount of over $155 million, Care International’s lendwithcare.org allows donors to select projects they are interested in and then support them through a returnable loan. It also shares pretty much all of the functionality offered by Kiva, and all within a somewhat nicer overall site design – as dear old Kiva is starting to show its age somewhat.
Another thing the Care International team is hoping to share with Kiva is the use of PR to spread the word of this interesting way of supporting developing world projects – as Kiva was given something of a kick-start publicity-wise when it was promoted by the likes of Bill Clinton and Opra Winfrey and the whole story was picked-up by the international media. As yet, mass media PR support seems something that lendwithcare.org has yet to achieve – but it’s early days with the site only being launched this month.