Team Deets Hits $1,000 Loaned on Kiva!

I have an awesome milestone to report for Team Deets: We’ve hit $1,000 in loans issued in just over 6 weeks! Nice work!

Here is a breakdown of the stats:

Team Deets on Kiva

Of the loans issued to date, some have already been repaid as much as 24%. That’s fast work. My guess is that Team Deets members will issue new loans with the money paid back to them. I know that I tend to round up my Kiva balance from time to time in order to issue my next Kiva loan faster. Give that a try.

Also, Kiva is beta testing a new team Goals feature. We may need to give that a try at some point. Anyone have an idea for a goal for Team Deets?

Team Deets Hits 15 Lenders and $350 in Loans in 5 Days

Team Deets and Swirlspice

Team Deets is now 5 days old on Kiva. In that time, 15 people have joined the team, and issued $350 in loans to entrepreneurs in:

  • Peru
  • Cambodia
  • Kenya
  • Uganda
  • Mongolia
  • Tanzania
  • Azerbaijan

I’d love to see a few more of you motivate your mouses to take you to to join Team Deets and make your first Kiva loan. Let’s hit $500 in loans issued in the first week.

Team Deets Kiva Update

Team Deets is off to an excellent start on Kiva.

Eleven early adopters are on board, and $200 in new loans were issued in the first 24 hours of Team Deets’ existence with the most recent loans going to entrepreneurs in Kenya, Tanzania, Peru, and Uganda.

The beauty of that is the money, once in the system, tends to be topped off as it accrues in lenders’ accounts. For example, you may receive a notice that you’ve had $19 of $25 repaid on a loan. In cases like that, why not chip in another $6 to get another loan issued?

Join the party. Sign up at Kiva, make your first loan, then let me know. I’ll send you a $25 Kiva gift card for your second loan.

Join Team Deets on Kiva

When Kirk, comes up with a suggestion, it’s often worth paying attention to.

For example, he inspired the creation of Now, he’s suggested creating Team Deets on Kiva where people like you can work together with me to finance loans to entrepreneurs around the world.

Here is a reminder of what Kiva is all about.

Kiva does a great job reporting your lending performance, including the impact of inviting new lenders. Here is a look at what I’ve done to date:

My Stats

Above average by all measures. Very Lake Wobegon of me.

Let’s work together to turn this up a notch.

First, if you’re already a Kiva user, join Team Deets!

If you’re not already using Kiva, here’s a deal for you: If you click here to join, and make your first loan, I’ll send you a $25 Kiva gift card that you can use toward your second loan. I’ll match the first loan of the first 10 new people to join Kiva.

It takes around 4 minutes to get started. I think you’ll find the service interesting and rewarding, so go for it.

Email me or comment here once you’re on board. Enough talk. Get on it.

$5 All You Can Eat Spaghetti?

This coming Friday, you can help the youth of America while dining on pasta. As I understand it, many of our inner city kids are raising money for a trip to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, which should be one heck of a great learning and relationship building experience for these kids.

You can help them meet their financial goals by eating pasta! Here are the deets on the Spaghetti Dinner:

Longfellow United for Youth and Families (LUYF) and Sanford Middle School’s Job Corps invite you to attend the 3rd Annual Spaghetti Dinner on January 30, 2009. Join us from 6-7:30pm at this come and go event to learn about two great programs that changing young lives across the greater Longfellow Community. Held at St Albert’s Church (2836 33rd Ave S Minneapolis) we appreciate your $5 donation for all you can eat Spaghetti from Chef Greg Peterson.

LUYF offers after-school tutoring for residents of Longfellow and provides encouragement and support to school staff.

The Sanford Job Corps offers youth entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and job skills training for students at Sanford Middle School. Students also help local residents by shoveling snow, raking leaves, mowing yards, and much more while earning money to pay for school-related fees (including field trips, athletic fees, and much more).

Come find out how Longfellow United for Youth and Families and Sanford Job Corps are helping connect Longfellow neighbors help Longfellow students.

To find more information contact LUYF at or 612-721-7811.

By the way, I’ve tapped into this resource for lawn raking this past fall. They were great kids who did an excellent job. If you can, put them to work around your house.

How Kiva Works: Follow the Money

In December 2007 I said “give Kiva a try.”

In July 2008 I described a defaulted Kiva loan that was partially funded by a fellow Minneapolis resident.

In December 2008 I described the successful completion of a Kiva loan I partially funded.

Now I’d like you to watch this video put together by Kieran Ball in London who traveled around the world to explain exactly how a Kiva loan gets to the borrower and how it’s paid back:

A Fistful Of Dollars: The Story of a Loan from Kieran Ball on Vimeo.

Let’s try this together. The first person who goes to, finds someone they consider a worthy recipient of a donation, and posts a link to that person’s profile in the comments will receive a $25 Kiva gift certificate from me that they can put toward that person’s loan request.

Go for it.

CenterPoint Energy’s HeatShare Donation Fail

All the Ambivalent Muse wants to do is donate a few bucks to CenterPoint Energy’s HeatShare program to help out some people who are having a hard time with their bills. Sounds like a great idea and shouldn’t be too hard since CenterPoint include a donation form with her bill. Well . . .:

A Pox on Center Point Energy

Sadly, I have not had good success with this. All too often, whoever processes the payments applies my donation to my gas bill instead. It’s extremely frustrating. Why on earth would I be paying ahead to on my gas bill, and gee, look, there’s another check in the same envelope made out to Center Point Energy, so why in the world would I send two checks for one gas bill?

Apparently, the website isn’t exactly usable for willing donors either.

Donating Frequent Flier Miles

Don’t let your unused frequent flyer miles expire. Put them to work by donating them to people who could use them.

Here are a few options.

Make-A-Wish Foundation accepts mile donations from most major airlines.

American Red Cross does as well.

Fisher House’s Hero Miles helps injured members of the military visit their families.

Northwest Airlines partners with a couple dozen charities for WorldPerks donations.

WorldPerks Miles Donations is Pretty Darn Cool

Before Christmas, Google sent me a gift card to thank me for making them rich. The gift card was redeemable for $100 in donations at – a site that coordinates donations with teachers who could use some funding for their classrooms.

I threw the $100 toward a math project at Burroughs Community School in Minneapolis. That went toward the $493 the teacher requested for the project.

Here’s a response I received after the project was fully funded: Feedback

The site offers a pretty cool way to connect with teachers in your local community. Even if you don’t have a diem to donate, try looking up some schools near your home to see what motivated are working on.

If you’re a Deets reading teacher with a project listed on Donors Choose, let me know. I’ll pimp it here to help get it funded. Or, feel free to link to it in the comments.

Is Outsourcing Charitiable Giving to Associates Charitable?

Michael Krieger over at the Minnesota Lawyer Blog has a bone to pick with the charitable lunch policy of the law firm, Simpson Thacher, who offers summer associates a $60 per diem for lunches. Any money NOT used goes to charity. But is that really charitable? Michael doesn’t seem to think so:

‘Chow for Charity’ hungers for conscience

The essence of charity—to me at least—requires a conscientious act of selflessness. And Chow for Charity doesn’t pass muster.

The $45 donated to Legal Aid is money that the firm had expected to pay anyway, so there’s little conscience. And eating a $15 meal versus a $60 meal hardly constitutes sacrifice—someone who trades extravagance for abundance shouldn’t sit at the same table as, say, a Red Cross or Children’s Law Center volunteer.

Here’s how I see it: Simpson Thatcher is enabling charitable contributions with real dollars. However, by leaving it up to summer associates to decide how charitable they’d like to be, they’re likely exposing summer associates to real-life charitable decisions that they’ve likely not encountered to date due to their previous lives as students. There is a conscientious act of selflessness here, but it’s outsourced to their associates.

It would be interesting to find out what Simpson Thatcher does with the data they gain from this experiment. Do they make more offers to the more charitably generous associates? Do they reward the networking skills of those who spent a lot, but spent well?

It seems like putting decisions like this in the hands of associates could lead to more considered decisions. Frankly, partners could write checks that dwarf this without much conscience.