I learned about microfinance a couple of years ago when I worked with a woman who had lived in South Africa. Here's the idea: there are entrepreneurs all over the developing world who need just a tiny bit of help to get their businesses off the ground. You're not donating (though you can), you're investing very small sums of money (often $25) in efforts that help people become self-sufficient.
I lend through Kiva, but there are others out there.
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