Instead of simply donating money to a cause you can finance small loans to poor entrepreneurs all over the world on Kiva.

Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can “sponsor a business” and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you’ve sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

Kiva lets you keep in touch with those you microfinance, keeping track of their progress and getting updates along the way. Those of you short on extra bling can use your mouse to sponsor mammograms or donate your frequent flier miles to various causes.