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TripAdvisor Combines Philanthropy And Marketing By Letting Reviewers Give A Free $25 Kiva Microloan

TripAdvisor is putting up $250,000 of its own money to allow 10,000 people who leave a review on its site to allocate a $25 Kiva microloan to a fledgling entrepreneur in the country they visited. It could encourage people to use TripAdvisor while getting them hooked on philanthropy so they loan their own money in the future. That’s what happened when Reid Hoffman backed $1 million in free Kiva loans.

In a Skype call from Sierra Leone, Africa, Kiva’s president Premal Shah told me there’s “total brand alignment” between his organization and TripAdvisor. Kiva has distributed $379 million in microloans that let people jumpstart a small business for an entrepreneur somewhere in the world. You give $25 to help someone buy a goat, who can then sell its milk and offspring to repay the loan and become self-sustaining. TripAdvisor lets people write reviews and recommendations of places and businesses they visit abroad. Oftentimes these visits are to developing nations with citizens who need assistance to escape poverty.

Shah tells me “People come back from a place they feel strongly about and have this feeling like ‘Oh, I wish I could do something that could help make a lasting change’. This is the perfect time to let them choose a recipient for a Kiva microloan and follow up to see their impact.”...