There’s No Wrong Way To Lend

If you don’t know about Kiva already, we here at watchLAB highly recommend that you learn a little more about this amazing non-profit organization that connects millions of people through lending to alleviate poverty. Below we feature a blog from Abe Wallin explaining the different types of lending experiences on Kiva. Enjoy!


[ReBlog from Abe Wallin, Designer at Kiva]

One of the best parts of my job is talking with lenders – it’s a chance to understand what works well and where improvements are needed. We recently conducted a series of interviews and tested a couple of prototypes in connection with an initiative aimed at improving the way lenders find loans on Kiva. While no two lenders are the same, we wanted to share a few common patterns we’ve observed when it comes to how and why people use Kiva.

First a caveat: there is no right or wrong way to lend. Everybody has different values, feelings about risk and preferences. All borrowers listed on the Kiva website are deserving and making a choice based on an eye catching detail in a photo is as valid as selecting a loan because it’ll be repaid in just six months. It’s all a matter of what resonates with you.

That being said, we often hear from lenders who don’t know where to start when choosing a borrower to support. Because the process can be overwhelming we thought it’d be helpful to share a few ways we’ve seen lenders find borrowers they’re excited to support.

Kiva, Abe Wallin


As a whole, Kiva lenders are well traveled (nearly 70% have visited 5 foreign countries, including at least one developing country), so it makes sense that many have developed an affinity to a specific country or region. We often hear that international travel has affected the way lenders see the world and browsing loans on Kiva offers a window to different cultures or places. Typically, “travelers” start the process by filtering for one or two countries and then looking through photos and reading stories to find one that resonates with them. In addition, many travelers have come to love the new Collections page which makes it easy for them to find loans in each of the countries where Kiva works.

Enlightened Investors

Many lenders see the true power of Kiva as the ability to continually recycle their funds to help more and more people. For “enlightened investors,” preservation of capital (the money they deposited in Kiva) is important. This leads them to support loans with short repayment periods (4 months to 1 year) as well as microfinance partners they consider a “safe investment” – low delinquency and defaults rates (typically under 1%), and a 4-5 star rating.

[Read the full Post via Kiva]

Heather McEneany

Heather McEneany

Vice President at watchLAB
Want to compare notes about the best camp sites in California or how to build an Adirondack chair with just a mitre saw and 2x4s? Give Heather a call. She loves meeting new people and learning about their experiences and ideas (even better if it’s with a craft beer in hand).
Heather McEneany

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