anon-user down-chevron-sm facebook-mdi instagram-mdi twitter-mdi

Why donate to Kiva?

Kiva is a simple way to make a world of difference: just lend to a borrower or cause you care about, then watch your dollars do good, get repaid, and lend again to a new borrower with a dream to fund.

So if Kiva is all about lending, why do we need your donations?

When you donate to Kiva, not only are you supporting the work that makes it possible to lend to individuals around the world, you’re also advancing our mission to expand financial access and help underserved communities thrive.

How do we do this?

We match you with borrowers across the globe and create ways for more communities to access the capital they need to grow their impact, your donations are doing big things. Here are some differences in the kind of impact you have when lending through Kiva versus when donating to Kiva:

When you give to Kiva, you are helping us:

  • Build and maintain the complex technical infrastructure required to fund loans to underbanked people across the globe.
  • Partner with impact-first organizations operating directly in the communities we serve.
  • Expand our reach to support even more borrowers and further global financial inclusion. 

1. Help make lending to individuals possible

First off, let’s talk about how donations cover the cost of lending.

Every loan made through Kiva has operational expenses that come along with it. Kiva doesn’t take any cut—100% of your loan goes to the borrower you chose to fund. This means that we rely on your gracious donations to continue our mission of financial inclusivity. 

Everything we do at Kiva is focused on increasing the number of lives that we touch through our work. Donations support the efforts of our 150+ employees, who are each working to achieve our mission in various ways. Our investment team sources, manages, and improves vital relationships with our Lending Partners around the world, as well as performing due diligence to ensure that Lending Partner’s lending models are aligned with our mission and avoid over-indebting borrowers. Our Kiva U.S. team makes sure we are creating impact at home by facilitating loans to more U.S. borrowers.

Our Impact team sources data and conducts research to determine how loans are impacting individuals. Kiva’s Review and Translation program mobilizes a team of 400+ volunteers to help get loans live on our site. Our Marketing team runs campaigns that fund millions of dollars in loans throughout the year and on key days like International Women’s Day and World Refugee Day. Our Communications team sources updates from our amazing borrower and lender communities and shares their stories through social channels and our website.

Each of these teams, and more, make meaningful contributions that expand our abilities to reach even more individuals around the world. Without the entire Kiva team and the processes that keep things running, we wouldn’t have been able to touch more than 4 million borrower’s lives to date.


2. Kiva Labs

Millions of social enterprises and small businesses are creating positive change in communities around the world. The problem is, many of these social enterprises and small businesses don’t have access to the capital they need to grow. Why? Because banks say they’re “too risky” or “too expensive”. We disagree.

We started Kiva Labs to address this very problem.

Kiva Labs mobilizes partner organizations to scale their own innovations around the world. Labs helps to safeguard and grow these innovations by pairing funding from lenders on Kiva with some technical assistance and capacity-building support.

Non-traditional lending partners 

Kiva Labs incubates and scales non-traditional lending partner organizations. These partners are making real change in their communities—they elevate unique financing opportunities within the critical sectors of agriculture, health, education, access to clean energy, artisan livelihoods, and water and sanitation.

One example is iDE Cambodia, an innovative international non-profit. Kiva’s partnership has enabled them to offer loans to rural households so that they can purchase Hydrologic ceramic water filters. These will improve the health of rural households by providing sustained access to safe drinking water.

Working capital for growth

Kiva Labs also invests directly in mission-driven small businesses to help them scale their impact. Providing working capital for social enterprises enables them to enhance productivity, remove bottlenecks to growth, accelerate expansion, and helps them seek out larger, institutional follow-on funding. 

One example is Sanergy, a social enterprise that builds low cost, high quality sanitation facilities branded as ‘Fresh Life’, which are franchised out to community members who run them as viable businesses.

In Kenya, 8 million residents living in urban disadvantaged, low-income areas  lack access to safe and affordable sanitation. Four million tons of untreated wastewater from the most underprivileged communities in Kenya is discharged into waterways and fields every year, posing serious risk to public health and the environment. Sanergy collects the waste on a regular basis and converts it into by-products such as organic fertilizer. To date, Sanergy has built a network of 580 entrepreneurs running over 1,200 Fresh Life toilets, which serve over 50,000 people daily. They have safely collected and removed over 13,000 metric tons of waste from the community.

The Kiva Labs initiative deepens our ability to serve vulnerable populations that are otherwise financially excluded.

“The Kiva Labs loan was the first loan we had taken; it was particularly critical at that time because we were transitioning to a leasing model that required much greater working capital. We were able to broaden our network through Kiva’s amazing network, and Kiva’s loan created credibility for us to get additional loans – to be able to say we have taken on a loan and successfully paid on time. Having that track record was really helpful.”


3. Kiva Capital

After 17 years of crowdfunding $1.73 billion in loans on, it’s safe to say we have learned that investments are reliable, impactful, and scalable. And we don’t want to keep this knowledge all to ourselves!

Similar to Kiva Labs, Kiva Capital is focused on systemic change by making more capital available in the impact space as a whole; it’s how we scale our lending platform to include institutional investors as well. By pooling together millions of dollars from institutional investors and deploying that capital across a diversified portfolio of partners, we are able to help fund the expansion of their services and programs to more communities.

Your charitable giving allows Kiva to create greater impact and build a bridge between those that want to invest in impact, and the organizations doing impactful work.

Our global mission isn't achievable without these high impact projects, and these projects wouldn't be possible without your charitable giving. More than two-thirds of our donations come from individual lenders like you.

To learn more about how we use donations, check out our most recent Annual Report.

Your support is essential in helping us bring financial services to those who need it most. Together, we can continue to help those most impacted by a flawed global financial system so that every person has access to the capital and resources they need to flourish.


About the author

Tara Patwardhan

Tara is the content & storytelling intern at Kiva. Here, she supports Kiva’s storytelling initiatives by sourcing inspiring stories to share with the world. Born and raised in the Bay Area in California, Tara has interests in cross-cultural communication, language, and content design. In her free time, you can find her exploring new hiking trails and national parks, going to concerts, and attempting to try out new recipes.