Friday, April 12, 2013

Doing A Good Deed From The Comfort Of My Couch

Years ago I set up an account with e-Rewards, an online survey company. Every few days I get an email from them telling me a survey opportunity is available. After I complete the survey, I get "paid" in e-money that I can redeem for rewards. When I started doing their surveys one reward option was certificates from a Big Box Bookstore. That ended, though, and now the vast majority of rewards are airline or hotel points, along with vouchers for online retailers and subscriptions to magazines I'm not interested in.

If I'm busy I don't bother opening the survey emails, and in half of those I participate in my survey answers don't meet the criteria to qualify.  Despite that, though, I'd built up a nice account balance.  When I got an email from the company telling me the'd set up a partnership with a microloan organization and I could redeem my money towards a loan I was very interested.

Kiva Microfunds (AKA allows people to lend money via the Internet to people in developing countries.  It was founded in 2005, and is the first and largest microlender on the Internet..  The charity evaluator Charity Navigator has given Kiva its highest 4-star rating.

The normal Kiva process (if I was using my own money), is to pick a specific borrower and read the details of their story before I made a loan.  But because I was letting e-Rewards front the money, the only choice I had was the section of the world the money would go to (but they wouldn't guarantee it would go there; if there weren't loans in that area, they reserved the right to send it to another region).

There were several levels of Kiva giving available. For a $40 investment of "currency" I was able to subsidize a $100 loan.  Ten minutes after I clicked to redeem, I received an email thanking me for my donation.  It said, in part, "With help from Members like you, e-Rewards is empowering people and creating opportunity around the world."

Since I've made my donation I've gotten a couple more survey emails.  I've taken them more seriously; I can't wait to make another donation!

Five years ago today: New Thing #92--Organize Me!


  1. interesting!...I've never heard of them!

  2. Oh no... You're getting spammed too. Isn't it the most annoying thing?

    I've heard about that Kiva donation. It sounds like such a wonderful thing. I shall look into it.

  3. Kiva is an excellent charity. They are located here in California, in SF. A few years ago I got to meet the founder and hear him speak at a Microfinance Conference that I blogged for. Here is the link to the picture I took:

    1. Thanks for the information! It's always nice to hear firsthand about a company.

  4. LOVE Kiva! A few years ago I made one $25 loan a month. That $300 total investment has turned to $1,100 in loans as I just keep reinvesting/reloaning as I get paid back. I think I've made something like 44 loans so far.