Can You Resist Kiva’s Siren Call? (I Hope Not)

May 12, 2011

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow you will see a new entry on The New Jew, but tonight I have a special present for you. This is my first week as a lender-donor on Kiva and I’ve found it to be such an interesting, fulfilling experience. I want you to join me.

The Offer

So here’s my offer, I will give a Kiva gift card worth $25 to the first three people who comment here and say they want to try micro-lending for the first time. My only conditions- and I won’t hold you to them, it’s only a contract you are making with yourself- are that:

  1.  If you like the experience of lending, you write and tell me why
  2.  You give a gift card to someone whom you think would likewise enjoy it

So who are my top prospects right now? I’m looking at Medhi, Evelyn.

Meet Mehdi (Salam Wa Aleikum, Mehdi)

Mehdi has one day left on his loan- at time of writing, $250 is needed- to help him expand his fruit and vegetable  business. He is interested in expanding his offerings, and hopes the loan will help grow his business, and therefore help him better support his family, whom he cares deeply about.

Here’s how Kiva gets you with the urgency (see graphic). 


Funding Mehdi was my first longer term loan. Up until now, I have strongly preferred loans that are coming due in the short term (i.e. this fall). Something you should know is that all lenders are refunded at the same time, incrementally. You don’t get one final amount back at the end, but you’re refunded small amounts according to the borrower’s payment schedule, which is outlined in detail at the bottom of the screen.

— Keep Reading: Meet Evelyn; Will You Say Yes? —

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Cause-Based Viral Marketing: How Your Nonprofit Can Maximize Social Networking Tools

August 21, 2007


Mastering Viral Marketing to Promote Your Cause

You work for a small to mid-sized nonprofit organization. Your demand is steady, your employees happy, and your finances good. But you know you can do better. What can you do to further promote your cause?

The answer is viral marketing.

Wikipedia describes viral marketing as follows:

“Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological or computer viruses.”

Nonprofit (and profit) organizations can use viral fundraising to promote the reach of their organization, the power of their brand, and the impact of their cause by using existing social network technologies.

For a simple analogy, think of viral marketing along the lines of gossip. Tell one family member about a new boyfriend or girlfriend and you can guarantee a distant cousin you haven’t heard from in months will be calling within days. Your mother tells your aunt, who tells your uncle and cousins, who tell your grandparents, and on. Soon everyone knows.

Viral marketing follows the same exponential principle: direct contact with 10 people will lead eventually lead to a thousand. The key is to use an established networking platform so that your organization can do the basic promotion and the proficiency of the application will do the rest.

Best Practices in Viral Fundraising

Today’s Wall Street Journal article entitled “A New Generation Reinvents Philanthropy” lists five best practice models for viral fundraising:

  1. allows internet lenders to offer interest-free microfinance loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Impact: almost 90,000 lenders have loaned $10 million since the fall of 2005
  2. Project Agape enables Facebook users to create online communities for their favorite causes. Impact: 2.5 million users raised $300,000 since May 2007
  3. MySpace Impact Awards allow users to vote on charities that used MySpace to their greatest advantage. The winning charity is awarded $10,000. Note the beauty of this endeavor in that it promotes nonprofit philanthropy while forwarding its own branding

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