I've been participating in Kiva.org's microloan program as a lender for about a year and half with great results. I've had my share of 62 microloans (my share, $25 on each loan) fully repaid so far, helping out people in countries all over the world, from Mexico to Afghanistan. Its amazing that in this day and age it is possible to loan $25 to a woman in Afghanistan AND have it fully repaid (I've had the privilege of doing exactly that). Very, very cool.
Usually when I get my share of a loan back, I roll it into a new loan. I recently received my money back from a loan to a couple in Cambodia for crop seeds and home repair. This time I decided to pay-it-forward and buy a $25 gift certificate to give to another "new thing" blogger whose blog doesn't show any references to Kiva.
Best case, I demonstrate that $25 can go from the U.S. to Cambodia, help out a person, come back to the U.S., and be given to another person to fund yet another Kiva loan of their choice, I get a "new thing" (#28), they get a "new thing", and someone gets another loan. Worst case, the recipient decides they would rather not use the Kiva gift certificate (no strings attached whatsoever) and after one year it automatically becomes a donation to help fund Kiva.org expenses. Either way its win-win.
If you would like to find out more about Kiva.org, check out a few of the many positive articles in the national press about the organization at the press section on Kiva's web site.