The 5-Step Playbook to Growing Your Lending Team

...with tools, tips & sample goals

Need visuals to help share Kiva with your community?
Media Toolbox

Playbook Details

1. Link to Your Lending Team

Grow your Lending Team while you spread the word about Kiva by inserting a link to your lending team page...

In Your Kiva Invites

Make use of Kiva Invites to share your Kiva community with family and friends! This feature is found in My Portfolio and even includes a sample message. Be sure to add the web address of your Lending Team to the bottom.

email signature featuring lending team URL

In Your Email Signature

Sign off with a message you care about every time you send an email. Copy and paste your Lending Team URL (which can be found on your lending team page) into your email signature. (Remember, you can always insert the URL of the general Lending Teams Page to encourage your friends to explore Kiva communities:

In Your Online Social Networks

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn! There are tons of great social media tools that you can use to grow your Lending Team. Post its web address on your profile page, as a comment to your friend, as an update, and wherever else you think to include it! Check out some other suggestions for social networks you can use to connect with potential new team members.

2. Create Friendly Competition

With Kiva as the playing field, there's no need for uniforms. Channel that competitive spirit toward a great cause when you organize a public challenge...

Between Lending Teams

Are you a region-based team? A university-affiliated team? Search for similarly organized teams in the Community tab -- just click on a category. Ask your Lending Team captain to approach potential challenge participants using the Kiva Team Captains Lending Team (If you're a team captain and not familiar with this Lending Team, see step 5 of the playbook). Need some help with challenge goals that can really strengthen your lending team? Why not see which team...

  • can be the fastest growing of the month?
  • can add the most members (or a determined amount) by a specific date?
  • can double the current amount of members by next year?

Be sure to encourage your team members with frequent progress updates and positive reinforcements.

Between Members within Lending Teams

All the participants you need are so accessible! Post to your Lending Team message board to get the attention of other team members. Invite the takers to help set a goal, such as "Who within your team can recruit the most members that month". Then see who can be the first to surpass it! You might want to encourage this sort of activity around the 15th, when all lenders receive their monthly reimbursements.

Be sure to remember that challenges don't always need to take the form of competitions- You can set a collective team goal or one for yourself that may look more like these examples:

  • Collective goal:  "Every entrepreneur in our team will loan $25 dollars to a particular entrepreneur this week."
  • Individual goal:   "For every 10 loans this team makes, I will make one $25 loan, until I reach $200 worth of loans."

Regardless of what you choose to do, make your terms and limits clear so that you have a challenging, but attainable goal.

3. Join the Speakers Bureau

Engage in Kiva's global community.

Become a Speaker

The Kiva Speakers Program is a community of people who spread the word about Kiva by speaking at local events. There are two ways to be involved in the Kiva Speakers Program:

  • As a registered Kiva Speaker
  • As a non-registered speaker

To learn more about becoming either one, please visit The Speakers Bureau. You'll find everything you need to reach out to your church, rotary club, or sporting team.

Access the Event Calendar

One more thing! Be sure to use the Speaking Events Calendar to:

  • Keep an eye on upcoming events in your area to share with your lending team
  • Tell the Kiva community about an event that you're hosting. Email with thedetails.

4. Host an Event

Everyone likes a party! Or an auction? Or a bakesale?

There are so many ways to organize your own Kiva event, narrowing it down can often be the hardest part. Be sure to tap into all the resources you will find in your Lending Team. Here you can gain fresh perspectives, second opinions, and helping hands.

Get Focused

Will your event be to encourage the addition of new Lending Team members, to increase the loaning frequency of your current members, to fundraise? Having a clear picture of what your ideal outcome is will be the best way tofocus your event. If you choose to fundraise, think of the way you'd like to use the proceeds. You can put the loans toward a common Lending Team goal. You can donate to Kiva's operational expenses. You can raise money to host a bigger event that attracts even more new members! Will your event be public or private? You can create a smaller guest list, or choose a larger venue for friends to bring friends (who bring friends who bring friends...).

Event Ideas

Sometimes we all just need a little inspiration. So here are some specific ways that you can create a Kiva event:

Hold an auction.  Use items that you already own, or be bold and ask for in-kind donations from local businesses or entrepreneurs. Don't forget to utilize your existing Lending Team. Is someone a dance teacher? Auction off a Salsa lesson.

Hold a garage sale.  You've been meaning to clear out that garage for ages -- what a great reason to finally get to it! Ask your friends to do that same, and pool the funds towards a common loan.

Throw a party.  Work with local bars, restaurants, clubs, or other venues to host a benefit day. Charge an entrance fee, or ask the venue to donate a percentage of the proceeds. You can even offer a night of Lending Team bartending -- the tips will be all yours.

Gather for a recreational activity.  From hiking to bowling to a music concert, recreational activities encourage large groups and lots of mingling. Join Kiva's own Go Game!

Share talents.  Your Lending Team members are unique and multifaceted. Host an event that allows them to share their talents, whether henna designs, caricature drawings, karaoking, or card tricks. Each station might charge a small fee, or you can request a donation upon entrance. This is the sort of event that can be as big or as small as you'd like for it to be.

Give Kiva gifts.  Use birthdays, weddings, or the next holiday to spark some serious Kiva gifting. Or, combine this with another event -- Hand out (or sell) raffle tickets at the door for Kiva Cards.

Host a potluck.  If the weather is nice, it can even become a picnic. Encourage team members to bring friends that could potentially become new Lending Team members!

Schedule a chat.  Lending Teams are a beautiful thing -- not restricted to state or country. You can use the KivaFriends chat room (learn more about KivaFriends in step 5), or any other chat-capable social network, such as Skype or MSN messenger.

Case study: Abundance Sharing Group, Yokosuka, Japan

Two years ago, I started a monthly Abundance Sharing Afternoon at my home by the ocean. At the March 2007 gathering, I asked the participants to bring something for an auction -- just items from around the house that they no longer needed or wanted. There were 9 of us, we auctioned off the items we brought to each other, and we spent the last hour together looking for a borrower to loan the proceeds to. Can you imagine 8 women trying to decide on one loan? We did agree that it should be someone with work related to agriculture, and found a young woman in Azerbaijan who wanted to buy another cow with her loan to expand her dairy business.

The auction was such fun, I decided to have one each month. By recycling stuff hidden away in nooks and crannies, we've been able to help fund 60 loans over the last year and a half!!

Even if it's only one person at a time, Kiva is the perfect tool to bring the world of the working poor into the consciousness of those who can help. Living in Japan and being bilingual gives me the opportunity to assist in this cause, and I love absolutely every minute of it!

— Leslie, Yokosuka, Japan

Choice of Venue

Restaurants/Bars: When you approach potential venues for donations of money or space, be confident that this is a win-win! A big turnout means more business and more publicity for the venue, as well as a greater chance of realizing your Kiva goal (whether that be fund- or member- raising). Though weekdays may be more difficult for gathering attendees, restaurants are often more willing to meet your requests Monday through Thursday.

Parks/Outside Gatherings:  A public gathering is cost effective. Also, being out in the open can draw more attention to the cause and to your Lending Team. Some particularities to be aware of: guests with allergies, special seating accommodations, weather uncertainty. And be sure to create a team of volunteers to help with post-event clean up.

Recreational Activities:  A sporting activity increases energy and enthusiasm, while a cultural activity can really spark conversation. Just be sure to keep a heads up on shared interests (or lack thereof), prohibitive fees, and physical challenges. You may want to make clusters of activities that can take place in the same location, so that while one group hangs at the arcade, the other bowls, and they join for dinner afterward.

For all of these options, T-shirts, hats, and buttons are a great way to maximize the visibility of your Lending Team. You can spread the word to your community and even recruit! Find them at Kiva's online store.

kiva shirt, mug & buttons from kiva store

Keys to Success

Volunteers.  Hosting an event to celebrate and strengthen your Lending Team means including them in the process. Create a network of communication and support. Tap into the community that you've already seen has the power to do amazing things when its members work together.

Publicity.  Even smaller parties need guests!

Engaging Visuals.  Create fliers, team cards, or invitations using visuals from the Media Toolbox. Hand them out or post them up--be sure to include the date, time, and location on any event-related materials. Successful fliers will also have the Kiva logo, a tagline or catchy phrase that describes the purpose of the event, and contact information.

Evite!  Creating online invitations can be an easy, paper-saving way to access your entire address book. Evite and Pingg are some examples of sites that can help you format the invitations to look a little more professional than a regular email might.

Personal Touch.  Still, personalized emails and phone calls are great ways to really get your point across and to secure commitments.

Social Networking.  Use public web networks to post event advertisements, such as the Kiva Facebook Page, or Kiva Friends. See the Connect tab on Kiva's Do More section to see suggestions for other online social networks.

Follow-Up.  Stress the importance of this event to those you've invited, and make sure to check back in with those that answer "maybe". Use your Lending Team page and the other ways that you made initial invites to make reminders.

Checklist.  Use this downloadable PDF checklist to stay on track when planning your event.

5. Share Your Successes and Learn from Others

Get feedback, request help, and share the stories from your Kiva Lending Team experiences with other lenders that are just as enthusiastic as you are!

Become Friends with Kiva Friends

Want to talk to someone about where you see Kiva heading? Looking to promote your Lending Team? Wondering how other lenders' Kiva Events have turned out? Kiva Friends is an incredible resource for lenders, whether new or seasoned. This forum is a space for questions and discussions concerning all aspects of Kiva.

Join the Team Captain Lending Team

If you're a Lending Team Captain, you know that the shared advice and experiences of other captains is invaluable. Either find out or share what makes a Lending Team successful, how a captain maintains team goals, or how to overcome a captain's biggest challenges when you join the Team Captain Lending Team.