Help me help others
Hot Potatoes Tutorials has been run free and add-free since 2006. And I intend to keep it that way.
However, I've launched a donations campaign because a couple of people who are grateful for my commitment to the Hot Potatoes support group suggested I should start accepting donations. I do not need the money to keep the site running, so I intend to use the donations for a good cause.
How are the donations used
For micro-crediting through Zidisha.org to give micro-loans to disadvantaged individuals in low-income countries who really need money.
Why lend? Why not simply donate?
I believe that people are better off with a loan rather than a handout! Lending means that the borrower assumes certain responsibility to repay the loan. And thus we allow these people dignity. Handouts destroy dignity.
Why I lend
Because it's good to give. Because $10 can make a difference in somebody's life.
Do I also participate with my own funds
Because they cut off the middlemen, unlike Kiva.org. The middleman on Kiva charge around 30%-40% interest rates on loans which is kept by the middleman for operational and administrative costs. The interest rate (if at all) on Zidisha is agreed between the lender and the borrower and is significantly lower. Zidisha does not lend through intermediary institutions.
This page links to my profile on Zidisha with details about how much and who the money is lent to. Check it any time.
Lending policy: Who and What for?
Solely at my discretion, priority will be given to borrowers who are women, big families, single parents with many children and/or need money for education, keeping a small business running, etc. Other things that I will look at are 'on-time repayments' and shorter-term loans. Short-term loans means repayments will be made sooner thus allowing me to lend quickly again to another borrower.
I will insist on a 3.5%-4% interest rate from borrowers (in most cases) to cover the 3.5% transaction fees from PayPal and to cover currency conversion losses. The loans to the borrowers are given in the local currency and when they repay there are losses from the currency conversion for which the lender is not covered in any way.
Update March 7, 2015: Zidisha have introduced interest-free loans ...
Lots of! Here's a paragraph from Zidisha Terms:
The loans offered through Zidisha are unsecured and bear high risk of non-repayment. In addition, Zidisha is not an investment broker and cannot enter into any obligation to return all or a portion of the funds provided by any lender. Accordingly, participating in loans through Zidisha is intended to be a philanthropic rather than an investment activity. Users should lend only amounts that they can afford to lose. In those cases where a borrower defaults, the loan may be written off or forgiven.
If you want to donate to Hot Potatoes Tutorials, but you don't want your donation to go to such a philanthropic cause, say so on the PayPal transaction page.