You should start doing some investing with Kiva.org. I mean why lose in the stock market — down 40% in 2008 — when you could put your money to good use, without such downside risk.
Micro-loans are different than charity because your money comes back. When it does, if you still feel generous, you can lend it again to help another entrepreneur. It’s literally the gift that keeps giving.
I have already seen this multiplier effect from my own meager contributions.
Here’s a video (with cool music) where you can see Kiva.org in action:
As Doug Casey has said, the longest and certainly most important trend in history is the “ascent of man”. But we are fortunate to be at the head of that curve while a greater majority of our fellow humans are back at the tail end. Our seemingly miniscule efforts can have great impact on real people.
Invest a few dollars with an entrepreneur, and see if it doesn’t come back to you.