Photo credit: Ryoji Iwata
Between your community and the Kiva community, the success of your loan is determined by the wisdom of the crowds- so show the crowd you’re worth it!
For a higher success rate, follow these 7 steps for your loan:
Start With a High-Quality Profile
Your narrative section is your pitch to your potential lenders. Between your photo, optional video, and write-up, you have to convince your community and the Kiva community to believe in you and your business. Look over loans that are actively funding in the U.S. right now here and check out the this link for a Profile guide for tips on how to craft an effective narrative section.
Prep Your Local Community Before Your Loan is Posted
Your community is more likely to lend to you if they already know what Kiva is. Before your loan is posted (while you’re working on your application and when it’s in review) tell your family and friends about Kiva. Have them check out the website and news articles, so when the time comes they already have the information they need to feel comfortable lending to you.
Create an Artificial Deadline
While you have 15 days during Private Funding, the faster you get your community on, the faster and more successfully the loan funds in Public. This also helps to avoid trouble with last-minute tech problems and forgetful family members. Try saying “I need my community to lend by X date, but my personal goal is to get everyone on by Y date. Will you help support my loan?”
List Your Private Lenders
Write down the names of people you can count on to lend you $25 on Kiva. Ask them to lend to you and check them off as they do. You can download this form and use it to keep track of your lenders and who you've contacted.
Being Personal is Better
It’s good to have a wide range of outreach on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Yet you can’t rely only on blanket status updates to draw people into action. Post on Facebook, send personal messages and emails, make phone calls, Skype, and talk to people in person. Make sure to stress that you need their help to show support for your business, that it is a loan, not a donation.
Ask For Support, Then Follow Up
Your language is important. Stress that it is a character reference in the form for a small loan, and as a loan (not a donation), they will get their money back as you repay your loan. Make sure you ask your community members if they will support your loan and share your loan link. Once they say yes, ask when they will support your loan, and then follow up with them on that day. The more specific you can get to pledge, the more likely they will follow through (for example, someone who says “I will lend to your Kiva loan on Wednesday when I get home from work” is more likely to lend than someone who just says “Sure, I’ll lend”).
Frequently Thank and Update Your Community
Every time someone lends to you, they are showing their support for you and your business. Each time you reach a milestone, thank those who have helped you so far. Update your community about your progress, and send out a call to action.
To make sure you’re reaching your goal, make sure you:
Promote your loan on all of your social media (and ask your community to promote it on their social media too)
Call and email each person on your list personally
Not sure what to say to lenders?
Click here for templates that you can use throughout the fundraising process.
Feel self-conscious about asking for help?
Click here for advice from a twice-funded Kiva entrepreneur.