The Place To Be Today

WHAT: LIVE Micro-Fundraising Call with host & EzineArticles Expert Author Alex Mandossian of

Alex Mandossian of SmartStartGiving.comWHERE:

WHEN: TODAY at 8am PST, 9am MST, 10am CST, 11am EST

WHO: Alex will be interviewing Chris Knight, CEO of

WHY: Help us raise $5,000 USD for Kiva, an organization whose mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

Participate by donating $20-$40 and you’ll receive:

  1. Giving Option #1: Give the maximum donation of $40 to help entrepreneurs get a smart start; and do it before the end of today Friday Feb. 27th. In a special email newsletter issue to 100,000 of our members that will go out within a week or less, you’ll get your name mentioned along with (1) link to your website or blog, plus (1) link to your social media profile of choice (ex: FaceBook, Twitter, etc) and (1) optional link to your EzineArticles expert author URL.
  2. Giving Option #2: Give a donation of $20 before the end of today Friday Feb. 27th, and you’ll get a name mention plus (1) link to your website/blog or EzineArticles expert author profile (your choice).
  3. Send us an email with your receipt along with your full name and URL/website address for yourself or your business, one optional URL for your favorite social media profile, and lastly, your author name as listed on (optional), depending on whether you’re doing giving option #1 or #2.

What will we be covering? My answers to questions like these:

  • What specific incident inspired me to start this business?
  • What’s my/our crowning achievement?
  • What’s the single biggest mistake I’ve/we’ve made along the way?
  • Who’s our ideal target audience?
  • What *big* idea accelerated business growth more than any other?
  • What are my typical business rituals that drive business growth?
  • How has Giving impacted my personal and professional life?
  • Knowing what I know today, what would I have done differently 10 yrs ago to have grown faster?

Please join Alex and I for this FREE call, give $40 to help entrepreneurs get a smart start, and join us in about an hour:

[Yes, there will be a replay available for this free call]

[UPDATE 11:20am CST] I will be matching 100% of all donations that come in by Midnight tonight, Feb 27th, 2009.

YOUR TURN QUESTION: Please add a blog comment here during or after the call to share what insight you learned or can apply to your business?


Glenn Grundberg writes:

Hey, this is a GREAT idea!

Kiva does a LOT of good for a LOT of people by helping them Help Themselves, and as Entrepreneurs we should ALL get heavily involved in this!

Kudos to Alex and Chris for this kind of forward thinking…and ACTION.

You got MY $40 bucks dudes…Who’s NEXT.


Glenn Grundberg

Comment provided February 27, 2009 at 10:01 AM



We’ve raised $855 so far! Nice work everyone. Each donation helps. Thanks! -Chris

Comment provided February 27, 2009 at 10:04 AM


buggerman writes:

Isn’t this like another version of Prosper, the online lending company? They were so rife with fraud and defaults (upwards of 50% or more that the SEC got involved and they can’t make any more loans currently. Yes, you may be helping people, but what steps are in place to rule out fraud and abuse? And, most importantly, what is the flow through percentage?

A charity is best measured by what percentage of the monies donated actually go those it is designed to help. For instance, the Salvation Army is #1 with a flow through of around 87%. The Red Cross places much lower at around 40% due to excessive executive salaries and perks. Where does this Kiva place? 20%, 30%?

If there are no numbers because it is new, then what are the executives salaries and projected numbers so we can best determine if it really is a good charity that does everything it says or is it just a waste of doner funds? Don’t get the wrong idea, I am all for helping out those less fortunate, but I like my money to go to those in need, not to bloated executive salaries, limosines, expensive parties, trips, etc… like at some other charities.

Some charities are so bad that they only serve as a tax shelter or haven for the rich to hide their monies from the IRS and state tax authorities – this is just one of the ways that the average millionaire and above pays less than 1% of their actual earnings in taxes per year, wheras the middle class and under pay an average of 35%.

I think there is room for a little due diligence here. Maybe the due diligence will show Kiva to be a great charity with a flow through near that of the Salvation Army, and then again maybe it won’t. I will personally look into this and maybe some others of you will to. I love to help people in need, but I do not love helping corporate greed. Time will tell if this is a great opportunity or not.

Comment provided February 27, 2009 at 10:50 AM



I have done some due diligence on Kiva and think it’s doing great.

I donated this morning but have had problems emailing you with my links and receipt. The link in Paragraph 3 of the blog post only takes me to a blank email with no address.

I tried to send the info via the “Contact This Blogger” link at the top of this page but was unable to send it. I got a message saying that the email couldn’t go through because it had more than 2 links.

Any advice?



Comment provided February 27, 2009 at 11:09 AM


Glenn Grundberg writes:


All that when you could have just Googled “Kiva”?

What makes you think Alex should do YOUR due diligence for you??

LOL, “BUGGER”man, indeed!

Comment provided February 27, 2009 at 11:11 AM



Some resources on how the microfinance system works with

But, more importantly, Alex’s SmartStartGiving site keeps a journal of the whole process so it’s as transparent as possible:

What millionaires pay in terms of taxes? “The richest 1% — about 1.65 million filers making above $388,806 — paid some $408 billion, or 39.9% of all income tax revenues” [source]

Comment provided February 27, 2009 at 11:20 AM




Send it here:

Comment provided February 27, 2009 at 11:27 AM


buggerman writes:

Chris, that may be true, but if the rich (which pay less than 1% of their individual earnings in taxes) were to pay 35% or so like everyone else that total would be 35 times higher (35 times 400 billion is a really big number – over $14 trillion) and that would be enough to wipe out the federal deficit, cover and provide FREE healthcare for everyone in the U.S., revamp all schools, hire more teachers, bail out all indebted industries, fund several more trillion dollar bailouts, improve all roads, make college free so anyone could attend – no more expensive student loans, etc… But, being that congress is 100% occupied and supported by the rich that will NEVER happen.

**MODERATOR COMMENT: I don’t intend to comment further on the political issues you’re presenting that are perhaps better in a more appropriate forum.

Now, as to Kiva, the website does not tell the whole story. Kiva gives 100% pass through of loans. But no charity or non for profit can exist for long with no income. So, where is its main source of income? Donations and investments. So to get the true story of flow through you have to add these donations and investments along with the loans and you no longer have 100% pass through. What I find weird is that Kiva has been up and running for 4 years and some how Matt Flannery and the other execs has been able to keep his executive compensation out of the press.

When you Google any legitimate charity or non-profit, you can easily find out the executive compensation. This is what caused such a problem to the United Way and Red Cross in recent years. Now if a charity is legit and truly for the benefit of mankind then where are the stats on executive compensation?

If Flannery and the others are truly out to help people then there should be no need to hide such info – shoot they should be happy to provide it. Yet, in all the press releases and media they have not once that I can find stated what they actually earn (or in the case of deferred compensation what they potentially could earn). This makes me want to look into this a little deeper and question the true flow through here and motives.

Maybe Flannery and the exeutives at Kiva really are generous and are doing everything for free ( I doubt that). Then they should be easily able to provide proof of this so no one can question their business and ethics. They have been given ample time in the hundreds of interviews and such and as far as I can find either have not provided it or avoided the issue entirely.

You all might dislike my views here, but so did everyone when the Red Cross was originally questioned about its executive compensation and perks and same with the United Way. The truth will come out eventually. I just hope it is good and not bad for everyone’s sake.

Comment provided February 27, 2009 at 11:46 AM


Sid Stepp writes:

I tried to submit a donation for $20 but was asked for $25. Not a big deal but is a problem which leads to a bigger question: What should we really expect from the marketers out there and what price are they selling it at? Another question is, Ezine was always shown to me as one of Google’s favorites. If they are starting to market these things, what does that say about Ezine and Google reputations? This is disappointing at best.

Comment provided February 28, 2009 at 1:10 AM




First, this is my fault. Until you just pointed it out, I didn’t realize that my own bonus promotion for this event was off by $5. Don’t blame marketers or Alex for that mistake as it’s all mine and I can assure you it wasn’t intentional. Not sure how I missed that… My apologies to those who felt slighted by my mistake.

Second, I’m always surprised when I hear people in the market who are flabbergasted that we’d recommend or pitch something… as if we are a public institution that would be in a conflict of interest with the market by doing so.

If you have followed us closely over the past decade, you know that the number of people or products we’ve pitched peaked in 2004-2006 and have declined in endorsements in the last 2 years.

I’ve been a Super Affiliate for more than a decade and I and we have used affiliate revenues to help support the costs associated with keeping’s core offerings for free.

In the case of this charity, we’re not fundraising a dime for ourselves… In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I brought any charity to our members attention…so it’s pretty rare. I don’t regret doing this event with Alex and would do it all over again.

Comment provided February 28, 2009 at 11:37 AM


Glenn Grundberg writes:

Never mind the nay-sayers and trolls, Chris…they’ll NEVER “get it”.

Just know that the vast majority of people who were exposed to this approved and supported you guys.

Good On Ya, Mates.

BTW- How’d we do??


Glenn “Gman” Grundberg

Comment provided February 28, 2009 at 12:01 PM


Sid Stepp writes:

I’m far from a ney sayer. That’s why I was out there trying to provide a donation. Chris, this wasn’t meant as a personal attach. I think Ezine is great and provides a good information service for all. Anyone associated is a step ahead of the rest of the industry from everything that I’ve seen. Thanks.

Comment provided February 28, 2009 at 12:10 PM


Sid Stepp writes:

Chris, I’d still be happy to donate. By way of explanation, I guess this came from signing up for a training program that cost an arm and a leg and getting marketed for more money on a daily basis. The training was worth the money–worth it’s weight in gold but I didn’t sign up for the marketing thereafter–not your fault but leaves me with a knee jurk reaction to anything that looks like spam or marketing overkill.

Comment provided February 28, 2009 at 12:32 PM




I’m at a basketball game right now, but this morning we were at $1340! :)

I matched it personally for another $1340 that will show up on their website probably on Monday.

Looks like $2680 is where it’s at. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Comment provided February 28, 2009 at 2:22 PM


Buggerman writes:

I would donate also, I just need a little more info on Kiva first and am wondering why no one anywhere can come up with the earnings statements of Kiva and the salaries and such of the founders and executives. For a company that has made as much press as they have it is amazing as to how they keep that info so suppressed and secret. That just sounds a little fishy to me.

I just want to know if Flannery and his buddy made this for the sole purpose of helping others like they say or if it was to create a huge website and profit off it bigtime.I really do hope they are legitimate in their endeavors, but I will check deeper into it before I do any donations. After having spent many days and much time fundraising for the Red Cross and other charities and then finding out that only 40% at best of the monies I collected and others donated went to those it was supposed to help I am leary of all charities until proven otherwise and Kiva’s decision to keep all earnings and executive salaries secret just sounds like they are hiding something. Hopefully I am wrong, but I will look into this and see.

Comment provided March 1, 2009 at 12:07 AM



Hi Chris,

Just wanted to say we heard you on your call with Alex Mandossian supporting We have listened to all the calls Alex has done supporting this cause.

Thanks for sharing your story on how you got started.

Looking forward to your other calls with Alex in the future.

— Pat & Lorna Shanks

Comment provided March 1, 2009 at 10:46 AM




Wanted you to know that a better audio replay of this event was posted earlier today here:


Comment provided March 19, 2009 at 4:35 PM


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