When I am Rich, charity won’t be a problem. I won’t have to think twice about giving to every good cause that tugs on my heartstrings. ‘You need some money? Of course!’ I’ll say. ‘How much? Would you prefer cash or a cheque?’
But until then charity is a big problem, especially at this time of year when there are so many fundraising campaigns all asking for my money. I really wish I could give something to every Syrian refugee, every person affected by typhoon Haiyan, all the sick and hungry children of the world, the homeless and deprived in my own relatively rich country … and, no, I haven’t forgotten the endangered animals, mistreated pets, and our threatened natural environments.
Unfortunately my limited resources won’t s - t - r - e - t - c - h that far.
When I do make a donation I want it to be put to good use, and that’s the other big problem with charity. Call me an old cynic, but I can’t help wondering how much – indeed, if any – of my small contribution will actually trickle down to those who need it most. How much will be used for admin and publicity? How much will be ‘diverted’ by corrupt officials? Or simply get lost in a long supply chain?
And that’s why I found myself nodding and smiling when I discovered Lend With Care. It’s a simple way of helping people who are working hard to help themselves and their communities. Instead of giving handouts to anonymous charities you lend a named individual the small amounts (minimum £15.00) that they need to fund business enterprises.
The transaction is managed by a microfinance institution that assesses the borrower’s business idea and, if a loan is approved, agrees a monthly repayment schedule with them. As the borrower repays their loan it is passed back to you, the lender. You can then withdraw your money from the scheme, or reinvest it by loaning it to someone else.
If you’re not rich enough to give your money away this is a brilliant way to make sure it goes round – and round – and round!