Categories
Social Action

McLane Creative Celebrates its 25th Loan

At McLane Creative I make a simple promise: You invest in us and we invest in someone else. 

For every new client I take on I make a small loan to help a woman with her business around the world. This morning I made our 25th loan, helping a newly married woman in Mozambique buy more products to sell in her shop.

What’s Kiva?

Kiva is a non-profit organization which helps connect you to those in need of a microloan. They work with NGOs around the world, providing oversight and accountability, and help people like me make investments in small businesses all over the developing world.

In other words, they make high risk small business loans to people a traditional bank wouldn’t consider. These loans help participants grow their businesses and gain financial independence. They treat their clients with respect and help them avoid the pitfalls of loan sharks.

It’s a loan, not a donation. The NGO charges a competitive interest rate far below the rates of street loans or loan sharks, handle the day-to-day operations, and for their efforts they keep the interest while I’m repaid the principle of my loan according to a schedule. I’ve been making loans to Kiva since 2007 and have only had 1 loan default. It’s not that risky. And you can even withdraw your money after your loan has been repaid. 

Why Do I Only Invest in Women?

One take away from the book The Blue Sweater was that women in developing nations invest the profits of their business directly into their family at a higher rate than their male counterparts. So that means that when I help a woman with her business, she will in turn invest the profits of her business into her home, her children, their education and health care.

How can you get involved?

I can think of 3 ways you could get involved with Kiva today.

  1.  Make a small, monthly investment personally or as a family. This is how I got started. I picked 1 person to invest $25 in and then waited for updates. Once we saw that Kiva was for real I made more investments.
  2. Give Kiva as a gift. We’ve given Kiva loans to our kids as Christmas presents. It’s fun for them to pick out someone to invest in, print out their picture, and wait for repayment.
  3. Create a team for your business. When you create a team you can set team goals and stuff like that. Even though Team McLane Creative is really just one member of the team, I like keeping track of it separately from my other loans. (They are funded from my business accounts, too.)

Your Invitation

As I was writing this post I discovered that Kiva is doing a special deal right now. If you create an account, Kiva will credit your account $25 for your first loan. And if you use my invite link I’ll get $25, too. 

So for the low, low price of $0 we can invest $50 in a small business. Simple, right? 

Here’s the link to take advantage of that right now.

Categories
McLane Creative

3 Ways to Help McLane Creative Get Off the Ground

A few days ago I relaunched the website for McLane Creative to highlight a new thing I’m doing.

It’s called the Concierge Service. It’s a flat fee deal which helps bloggers take their blog/personal brand to the next level.

What’s cool about it is that it’s helping people all the way around. I’m helping bloggers. And since I’m hiring a couple other youth workers to help with the work, its helping them feed their families. On top of that, for every blogger I help with this service I’m investing $25 in another entrepreneur through Kiva.org. That’s 3 kinds of help! Crazy.

I’m wondering if you could help me out? Could you help me spread the word about this new service to as many people as possible?

Here’s 3 ways you can help:
1. Download my 1-page description of the Concierge Service and email it to a couple people you know who blog. http://mclanecreative.com/Concierge-Service-for-Bloggers.pdf
2. Go to http://www.mclanecreative.com/, scroll to the bottom and “like” the home page of my new site. That will make McLane Creative show up in your timeline.
3. Go to http://facebook.com/mclanecreative and like my business page.

Categories
Social Action

10 Simple Ways to Change the World in 2011

You don’t have to be the President of the United States, Bill Gates, or Bono to change the world. Here are 10 simple things you can do to help make the planet a better place to live in 2011 and beyond.

  1. Become a mentor or tutor to an at-risk youth. Every community has students who need help. For just a couple hours per week you can make a huge difference.
  2. Shop local. Skip the big box retail stores/restaurants for local establishments. While you might not get the best prices or the widest selection, you are investing in the future of your community.
  3. Start a garden. Even if it is just a square foot garden on your apartments balcony. Everything you grow and eat makes a big difference.
  4. Loan some cash to a small business owner using Kiva. Starting at just $25, supporting small business owners in developing countries is literally giving freedom from oppression.
  5. Buy a share in a Community Supporter Agriculture farm. (CSA) Redirect some of your grocery bill directly to the farmer by buying a share. You’ll get farm fresh fruits and vegetables and you’ll help ensure that local farmers stay in business. Shocker: Our grocery bill actually went DOWN in 2010. CSA’s are in every state, find one here.
  6. Get to know your neighbors. This is the single most important thing you can do to ensure your neighborhood is a safe, friendly place to live and raise your family. Start with the basics– name, how long have the lived here, where did they grow up, what do they do for a living. Then sit back and be amazed.
  7. Pick a local board and attend their monthly meeting. Most people only go to city council, zoning board, or school board meetings when they are mad. Choose a board of locally elected officials and go to their monthly meeting, just to learn the issues facing your community. It’s amazing the voice you will gain just by showing up.
  8. Convert one week of vacation to a week of service. Naysayers call this a twisted form of tourism. That’s all they are– naysayers. If your heart is to serve, you can give a week of service in nearly any place around the world. I’ve learned from experience that this is the most rewarding/relaxing type of vacation available.
  9. Step down to allow someone else to step up. If you hold a position of leadership, maybe this is a good year to intentionally raise a new leader while you still stay involved. I think you’ll find that this is what it really means to be a leader.
  10. Support local middle school and high school sports. You don’t have to give money! Just show up and cheer for your local team.