Does Giving Make You Happy?

Would you make a donation to support these children? * 

Some women get turned on by shoes. They see a gorgeous pair of stilettos gleaming and sparkling in the store window and know they have to have them. That’s how I feel when I see a great opportunity for giving. I want to possess it, invest in it, feel ownership over it.

Kiva Giving Series

This post is the second in my Kiva giving series. Read the first one here:

Meet Victoria 

 Meet Victoria Soto Choque, pictured above. Kiva tells us that:

Victoria, 34 years old of Peru, lives with her partner and four children (ages 16, 15, 13, 5). Victoria is requesting a loan to expand her small business. As a grocery store owner, she will use the loan to purchase basic staples, such as rice, sugar, and pasta, as well as items for her home.* 

For a starting price of only $25, you (the donor-lender), can give a hand in helping Victoria expand her business and improve her quality of life. That $25 that you might have spent on coffee and subway tokens goes a long way in helping Victoria and in giving you a feel-good donor experience. For a total loan of $550 (to be repaid by December 2011) you get a significant bang for your buck.

Are you in? 

Micro Giving

When I created The New Jew in 2007, my intent was not to start a blog on Jewish philanthropy. No, my goal was to start a revolution in Jewish micro-giving (that is, giving in small amounts).

I grew up in an affluent community and my youth was immensely enriched by the experiences I had traveling and volunteering both in the US and abroad. I come to philanthropy with the conviction that everyone has the capacity to give something, they just need to be inspired enough to do it.

At that time, there was no JGooders,* no IsraelGives, no DonorsChoose, or any other programs to support and promote small giving. What was lacking, I believed, was an organization to help inspire giving and channel donations on a personal level, igniting that critical spark at the moment of giving.

* JGooders is now defunct. 

The Big Goal: Israel Nonprofit Gift Catalog 

What I wanted to do was to enable those with “extra” disposable income, regardless of the amount, to donate on a person-to-person or person-to-project basis with direct results.

Ultimately what I hoped for was to work with every nonprofit in Israel to create a wish list that could be entered into a larger gift catalog for potential donors to access via the web.

The options would be beautifully endless.

— Keep Reading: I Want to Hear From You —

When someone was ready to give tzedakah, instead of writing a check to a program they supported in general, ideological terms but didn’t know much about, they could search the gift catalog for a project they really connected with. Thus, the gift catalog would not only inspire giving, but would build impassioned networks of support between Israel and Jews around the world.

(I also envisioned it as a modern day way to do tithing, using a method of micro-giving that would appeal to youth and young adults.)

Getting Started with The New Jew

When I began The New Jew, the web was far less developed and social media was only a glimmer in our eyes. It was clear that anything involving monetary transactions would require significant technological expertise. As I was only one person with a dream, I chose to go in another direction in the short term and start The New Jew blog to promote models of giving, aiming to inspire people  through whatever channels they chose to contribute.

The Distance of a Dollar

Nowadays there are many ways in which your dollar can work for you. In an upcoming post, I’ll explore different micro-giving websites from the user’s point of view, asking:

  • Is it easy to use?
  • When you enter the micro-giving website, do you know how to get started?
  • Does the site’s design make you feel good about giving?
  • Does it make you want to give more?
  • What works and what doesn’t?
  • And most importantly, are you enjoying yourself?
In the meantime, I’d like to hear your personal feedback about websites you’ve visited (likes and dislikes), and those you keep coming back to.
  • What motivates you to give?
  • What attracts you to micro-giving?
  • How long have you been making donations and how did you get started?
  • What preferences do you have about the donations (or loans) that you make?
  • (As well as anything else you’d like to share)
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Notes and Credit (in chronological order)
  • Title photo sourced from the Hand in Hand School, with thanks
  • Victoria’s loan description: paraphrased from Kiva’s website, not a direct quote
  • Children’s photo sourced from Hagar’s photos on Facebook, with permission
Recommended Reading



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3 Responses to Does Giving Make You Happy?

  1. Maya Norton says:

    Permanent shortcut:

    And Shabbat Shalom.

  2. Visit us to find more donation options to send donations to India at

  3. cocoazen says:

    Reblogged this on cocoazen and commented:
    One classic way to be happier is to help others be happier, safer or live a better life. Kiva is one way to help others help themselves. Read more about it here…

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