The Kiva Foundation

•September 16, 2010 • 1 Comment

One thing I kept coming back to when researching charities this summer is that while it’s great to give money to people in need, it’s only part of the solution when it comes to combating global poverty.

People generally need food, medicine and shelter immediately. That has to happen, but it is a short-term solution. In the long term, people need to find ways to get out of poverty for good. Nobody wants to live on charity for their entire lives.

That’s why I was delighted to discover the Kiva Foundation, which works hard to help people generate wealth and set an example of hope for their community.

Kiva is an interesting organization. They provide microloans to people in third-world countries who want to start their own businesses. Once people are able to become entrepreneurs, they are often able to work their way into the middle class.

What’s fascinating is that in developing nations it costs very little to get a start up business off the ground. Nearly all of them can be started for less than $1,000; most can be launched for $200 or $300.  But, no bank will provide loans of any size to people in the third world without experience and collateral.

Kiva finds these budding entrepreneurs and then allows people like you and me to fund their loans. They have an excellent track record. More than 98 percent of their loans are paid back, and the vast majority of their microloans go to women.

I decided to start out by financing loans to 10 entrepreneurs around the world. When their loans are paid back, I’ll use the money to fund 10 more – and I’ll keep doing so into the foreseeable future.

This is exciting for me on many levels. I can remember when I was just starting out in business, and what a thrill it was for me to make my first sale. Now, I know that these people will get to experience that as well. It also feels good to know that I am helping to make a difference not only today, but into the future as well.

These people not only will live better lives because they own their own businesses; the people in their communities will be able to see what they have accomplished. That may inspire them to try to start their own businesses, too. The Kiva Foundation hopes this will help break the cycle of poverty in so many ravaged communities.

I’m proud to support Kiva in their efforts, and I encourage other people like you to do the same.

They are good people who deserve our help. And, they demonstrate that it costs very little to turn a life around.


Why I Work With World Vision

•September 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

In my last blog post I described how I took action on my decision to give money to charities this summer after being inspired by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Today, I want to start talking about the charities I’ve been partnering with. I guess there’s no better place than at the beginning, with the first organization I decided to work with – World Vision.

To put it simply, World Vision is an international, faith-based charity dedicated to helping children around the world who have become victims of poverty due to war, famine or their refugee status.

They provide food, medicine, shelter and hope for a better future for these children. World Vision also lets you sponsor individual children, which means you can directly track the results of your donations and see how the funding is affecting their lives.

Reading their literature, I was astounded by how many children are suffering through poverty in all four corners of the world. I was also impressed with the research, which showed that World Vision has enjoyed a solid reputation all these years. That’s when I decided to sponsor 100 children through World Vision right off the bat. Since then, I’ve sponsored an additional child each day. It reminds me of how lucky I’ve been in my life, and it keeps me motivated to keep on giving.

As part of my commitment to World Vision, I also agreed to help spread the word of how they have been able to help hundreds of thousands of children over the years. Which is why I wrote this blog post – not to brag about what I’ve done, but to encourage anyone who will listen to support their efforts as well. And, if you are not in a position to help them, at least tell your family and friends about their good work and remind people who are looking to give back, to give to World Vision.

The more people who know about World Vision, the more resources the organization will have at its disposal and the more children they will be able to help.

There is no shortage of poverty in the world, but if all of us come together there will also be no shortage of help.

Let’s get to work and help build a better future for children suffering from poverty.

Giving to Charity

•August 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’ve had a very busy year and an even busier summer! But, I did want to catch up on things here. In my first blog post I talked about business ethics. Today, I want to start talking about something that has become increasingly important to me this year – supporting deserving charities.

Earlier this year I watched an interview with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. They challenged successful businesspeople like myself to find ways they can give back to the community. It inspired me and made me ask myself what I could do to help. So, I started doing some research – and some deep soul searching.

I decided that I wanted to focus my efforts on organizations that primarily help children, women and single parents. I think helping children is a great investment in the future. But, I also wanted to leave some money aside to help organizations that deal with disaster relief, as this spring and summer have seen some of the worst disasters in history destroy many parts of the world. I’m aware that when catastrophe strikes, help is needed immediately.

So, that’s how I set my parameters for the charities I would partner with on a long-term basis. My research efforts were concentrated on finding charities that really work. That ended up being much harder than I expected.

I quickly discovered that many organizations spend a lot of donations on corporate expenditures and don’t use enough of their resources for their real goals. I did not want to work with those types of organizations. I want to make sure that most of my donations go to help the people who really need it.

It took a fair amount of time and effort, both on my part and the part of my staff working with me on charitable initiatives. But, at the end of the day it was worth it, because I was able to identify charities that needed help and have rock solid reputations in the charitable community.

Once I’d identified my initial charities, I contacted the organizations and asked them how I could do the most good. I don’t want to make a one-time symbolic gesture; I want to spark initiatives that will allow me to work with organizations for the long term.

Their response was not only to donate money to them, but also to encourage others to do the same. That’s what I plan to do.

In my next few blog posts I’ll start talking about the charities I support. For now, I’ve taken up enough of your time and am just happy to get back in touch with you again!

Jesse Willms – How To Be An Internet Marketing Good Guy

•July 31, 2009 • 2 Comments

Hi. I am Jesse Willms. Since I was 16 years old I’ve been making my living over the Internet. I’ve worked hard and been lucky and over time I’ve managed to set up and run two different successful Internet companies.

These companies strive to sell high quality products to the public, employ people at high wages and give back to the community.

I’ve built my business by trying to always be honest with myself, my employees and my customers.

What I’ve learned is that in the online sales community there are a lot of bad guys. In fact, for every single good product or legitimate company on the Internet I’ve seen 10 that are just trying to rip people off.

What’s a shame about this is that you don’t have to be dishonest to make money on the Internet. In fact, in the long term you will end up making more money by being honest and having a great reputation.

That’s why I want to create this blog to give people an idea of what you can do to be a good Internet marketing guy, like me, Jesse Willms.

1. Sell high quality products. People will pay more for the good stuff.

2. Make honest claims. If your product is good you don’t need to exagerate.

3. Make sure people understand your offer. If you confuse people they won’t come back for more.

4. Price your products so people can afford them.

5. Include all disclaimers you need in a prominent place.

6. Never lie to yourself, your employees or your customers.

To learn more about me and my company you can read my story.


Jesse Willms