Have you wondered about giving microloans through Kiva.org? Several large companies are getting in on the act, donating large sums of money that Kiva can hand out for people opening new trial accounts. They give you $25, you lend it as part of a microloan to someone in a developing nation. You as the lender assume the risk and collect no interest, which keeps the loan costs low. The borrowers benefit from very low-interest loans to build up their own small businesses. Many are proud people who would rather pay back a loan than accept a handout.
If you follow this link to start a new account, both you and I get $25 in our accounts to lend out: Free Kiva accounts