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Crowdfunding with Kiva

Photo credit: Ben Duchac

Kiva’s Method

At Kiva, we use the power of the crowd to get your business funded with a platform similar to Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe. When you crowdfund with Kiva, your loan is funded by small contributions from people all over the world. Lenders lend in increments of $25 or more, so any given loan is likely supported by hundreds of Kiva lenders!! Crowdfunding also spreads awareness of your business through your community, the 1.7 lends on Kiva, and beyond. The more people you engage, the quicker your loan will fund. And unlike the other sites, Kiva has no fees or rates for our loans! 

Once we approve your loan application, you’ll begin fundraising. There are two steps to this process: private fundraising and public fundraising.


Private fundraising period 

Public fundraising period

Starts as soon as your loan is approved.

Starts as soon as you finish the Private Funding Period.

Lasts up to 15 days.

Lasts up to 30 days.

Your loan is visible only to people in your community.

Your loan is visible to the entire Kiva lender community worldwide.

Each loan acts as a character reference as well as fundraising.

General fundraising

Gathers a specific number of lenders to prove your creditworthiness. (See below)


Raises the full amount of your loan.

You are responsible for getting the word out about your loan.


Being public on the Kiva site will help you gain more lenders, in addition to your own efforts.

Private fundraising period

The private fundraising period is integral to Kiva’s social underwriting process. Your loan is approved partly based on your character, and this is how we ask you to prove your character to us. For more on social underwriting, click here.

After you submit your application, we review your loan and determine a number of lenders needed to vouch for you and your business.  We typically ask for 10-25 lenders. By lending you $25 or more on the platform, your friends, family and customers each vouch for you and your business. They are saying, “I believe in this business, and other lenders should too!”

Here is a breakdown of the average number of lenders required per loan amount in the private fundraising period: 

  • $1000-$2000 requires 14 lenders on average

  • $3000-$4000 requires 15 lender on average

  • $5000-$7000 requires 17 lenders on average

  • $8000-$10,000 requires 19 lenders on average

The actual number of people necessary for your loan will vary based on a variety of aspects, including your social media presence, how long you’ve been in business, you credit score, and the quality of your photo and narrative section. 

You have 15 days to get enough lenders, but if you don’t find enough, your loan will expire.  Over three quarters of loans are successful though, and it takes about 8 days on average. Lenders are welcome to donate $50, $100, or more if they want, but remember, it is not the amount of money you raise in this period that’s important, just the number of people.

You are responsible for getting the necessary amount people, so you need to email, call, and talk to your network to secure their loan.


Public fundraising period

As soon as you reach your required number of supporters in the private fundraising period, your loan automatically transitions to public fundraising. Your loan profile appears publicly on Kiva’s website for all of our 1.7 million lenders to see.  Now your community and the Kiva community will have up to 30 days to fund the rest of your loan, at least $25 at a time.

Though being visible to the Kiva lender network gives you a huge boost, borrowers who also continue to fundraise on their own fund faster and are much more likely to raise the full amount. It is very important for you to constantly create awareness about your business.  Continue to email your network, ask your friends to spread the word about your business and loan link, and use social media as much as you can.  If you put in the effort to rally your friends and family, you have a 93% chance of fully funding!

The success of your loan is determined by the wisdom of the crowd, so make sure the crowd knows who you are and show the crowd you’re worth it!


If you feel self conscious asking for help, click here for advice from a twice-funded Kiva entrepreneur.

Click here for tips, stratagies, and templates that you can use to succeed throughout the fundraising process.

About the author

Emily Fockler

Emily is a recent graduate of Princeton University with a major in English Literature. She is a Bay Area native who is happy to be back from the snow and humidity of the East Coast. She is an experienced writer and graphic designer, specifically focused on marketing and publicity. She has always had an interest in exploring and understanding the world and people around her. In her spare time, she reads, writes fiction, spends time with her family and her cats, and runs long distance. She hopes to be an author and a teacher later in her life.