Microstock & Microloans

posted on 5th of november, 2010

A few moths ago, I decided to change my direction in life. Rather than having the singular reason for creating photographs to be that of earning money, I wanted my images to make a difference in the world. You know - multiply my efforts and make what I do worth something other than a price tag. I've always felt uncomfortable with the equation of Creativty = Bucks. To me, creativity always suffers in the end and dollars will never equal your passion in life.

So I came up with an idea - why not channel earnings from my microstock photos into microloans. In that way, I can help others through what I love to do. For those of you who don't know about microfinancing, they are small loans lent at very low interest to fledgling entrepreneurs usually working in underdeveloped countries. These are people who could not get a traditional bank loan to start a business.

The concept of microloans began with Dr. Muhammad Yunnus, found of the Grameen Bank. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for developing the idea that microfinancing would inspire people to work their way out of poverty much more effectively than donations. Microloaning is based on the Chinese proverb: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." And in fact, 98% of microloans are paid back! To find out more about the Grameen Foundation, click here.

With this in mind, I am happy to announce that today I made my first microloans using profits from the sale of my photography at Dreamstime. I chose to focus on woman-owned businesses. When the loans are repaid, the money will be re-invested again, creating a continuous cycle. Don't you just love this idea! I am so excited knowing that every time I take a great stock photo, it will help a woman somewhere else in the world fulfill her dreams and feed her family. Keep this in mind whenever you buy one of my microstock images - the power of your purchase will be magnified in the global economy through microfinancing.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to inspire you to make a difference - create a ripple in life's pond. Yeah I'm pumped up and want you to be too! If you're interested, here are the two organizations I am investing with:

Kiva - "A world-wide community dedicated to combating poverty. Kiva allows you to make small loans to entrepreneurs on five continents, leveraging just $25 to change a life."

Microplace - "Express your generosity and compassion by making an investment that will finance the fight against poverty."

Thanks for reading and I look forward to giving you updates on this concept: Microstock = Microloans!

Comments (8)

Posted by Laroach on November 07, 2010
Gussmann - I am fortunate in that I am recently retired and shoot microstock for the love of it, not the money. So I donate all profits from my sales. I only take out the cost of incidentals such as my website hosting.
Posted by Laroach on November 07, 2010
Davidwatmough - Concerning the question of how much of an effect $25 makes - a lot! Most entrepreneurs requesting loans through microfianancing are asking for several thousand dollars. You determine how much you want to add to their total loan - so many lenders usually make up one loan. I just received a message that the woman's group I lent to in the Philippines has been fully financed for $5000 and it took 179 lenders to make this loan. If you go to Kiva or Microplace and click on lending, you'll see the lenders, how much they are requesting, and how much more they need to fulfill their loan. It's quite an amazing system that allows everyone to participate.
Posted by Davidwatmough on November 06, 2010
What can anybody do with only $25 ? Its really great suggestion but I imagine 2 or 3 hundred dollars might be more realistic. Am I wrong ? David.
Posted by Gussmann on November 06, 2010
nice idea. how many money do you change to Microloans?
Posted by Haslinda on November 06, 2010
Great article and an inspiration. Thanks for the link.
Posted by smartview27 on November 05, 2010
great idea!
Posted by Arim44 on November 05, 2010
Your idea is very impressive and inspiring, good for you.
Posted by Cristalloid on November 05, 2010
That`s a cool idea!

 Rich and Poor 

Comments (8)

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Photo credits: Louise Roach.

About me

I've been a photographer for over 35 years. My background ranges from portraits and weddings to fine art and industrial photography. Now I just photograph for fun and enjoy whatever passes in front of my camera.

Santa Fe, US

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