Let's help Kiva design an elite program

Discussion in 'Kiva | Loans That Change Lives' started by horseguy, Mar 15, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. horseguy

    horseguy Gold Member

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    One of the issues that repeatedly came up at the DO was the idea of Kiva adding elite levels. The Kiva staff all seemed interested in the idea, but did not know how to do this. I talked with several people on the Kiva staff about how Kiva could implement this. I believe if we, as a group, brainstorm this, we can present a group of refined ideas to Kiva that Kiva could pretty much directly implement.

    So, let me start off with my thoughts on the matter. Please feel free to add your input and jump in.

    Unlike most charities, there are two main activities that Kiva can potentially recognize. These are outright donations and loans. These could be recognized separately, in exactly the same way that Kiva is awarding badges to the MFIs. Alternatively, either one of these criteria could be used to reach an elite level, in much the same way that an airline program allows us to gain status by miles or segments. Which way should Kiva go, and why?

    How much spend or loaning is needed to reach each level? I personally believe the lowest level should be very easy to reach (say $50 in donations or $500 in loans) so as to get people started on the hamster wheel that is status. After that, things get trickier. Should top level be $1000 in donations or $25,000 in donations? I really don't know.

    What benefits are there to each level? The highest level is easy, something like a VIP dinner invitation each year. Mid-level could allow people to turn the automatic tip jar off. What benefit could the lowest level bring?

    How many levels should there be? Jbcarioca was quite confident there should be four levels, and I like this idea as well. Something along the lines of silver, gold, platinum, and diamond.
     
  2. kellio
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    kellio Gold Member

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    Personally, I like the fact that there are no status levels in Kiva. I love that my team appreciates what and when I can give. I enjoy there is no contest between my team members.
    I would prefer to keep encouraging each other to do what we can, when we can and not participate in the game of one upmanship. This is about giving, not receiving.

    That said, if this is the path the team chooses to go down, it won't change my lending habits or stop me from making new loans. It just may not be as fun.

    Everyone of us that are active recognize the leaders on this team and are happy for their encouragement and guidance.

    .
     
  3. rehoult
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    rehoult Gold Member

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    I think somebody at Kiva had mentioned that any public status would be optional, and I personally would choose not to show mine. However, I do think rewarding active members with some extra benefits would be appreciated. For me, being able to disable the auto-donation would be appreciated, but I also know that they need to keep it on as it's a huge source of funding. Allow people with $500+in loans to turn it off could be a good compromise.
     
  4. nime01
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    nime01 Gold Member

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    Those are my immediate thoughts also.

    Well written, kellio.
     
  5. horseguy

    horseguy Gold Member

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    OK, in that light, I've turned off our own Kiva lender page.

    As far as what Kiva should do, perhaps a system like the internal AA eagle system. In addition to all the public Aadvantage status, there is an internal system that gives customers between one and four eagles. This is a quick summary of how profitable a customer is to AA. That is used internally, but the public knows nothing about it. So, Kiva could still differentiate between lenders. But, we, the lenders, wouldn't see how. You know what they say, if you knew what happened in the kitchen, you'd never want to eat in any restaurant.

    On the other hand, it seems that almost every charitable group that tries to raise money has elite levels. Are they all mistaken that brings in more money?
     
  6. kiwi
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    kiwi Gold Member

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    I suspect status or badges tied to amounts lent would turn more people off than on (kindly meant, but MPers are not normal!).

    OTOH those that give freely of their time (fellow, volunteer translator, etc), or encourage others to help (invites?) are perhaps worth recognising?
     
  7. bonnerbl
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    bonnerbl Gold Member

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    I agree. I consider the dollar amount of my charitable activities to be a very personal piece of info and would not appreciate any public indication of what it was. On the other hand I -would- use a luggage tag similar to the MP one :). I value everyone's giving and would not like to see status levels. Maybe of it was based on number of loans or length of membership. Definitely not if based on dollars lent.
     
  8. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Kimpton hotels provided their elite members the CEO's phone number. Something like that might be doable.

    Offer that if you personally loan a significant amount or you are a team captan of a team loanig x out y months you automatically get some level of limited contact.

    (like we got at the do, From the initial do psts it seemed like initially the kiva response was tempid but after lots of loans and better awareness of the group they were supportive of the event)
     
  9. nime01
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    nime01 Gold Member

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    Plenty of good ideas here :D
     
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  10. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    For what it is worth, I sit on a non profit fundraising board that just surpassed the 100 $ million mark in fundraising.
    We do public recognition of the generosity of donors.
    My name is inscribed on a glass panel in the foyer of the institution supported by the foundation......evidently not in the top categories....but all the same in the bottom category. It is viewed as public recognition of levels of financial support to that institution.

    Now to apply the principles of public recognition of financial support to Kiva........... here I have very mixed feelings. On one hand, those members of our Kiva Milepoint team certainly deserve some form of recognition for their level of financial support.....and on the other hand, I am hesitating to recommend implementation of such a recognition program in the context of microloaning as it is difficult to reconcile my head and my heart.

    We are a team focused on accumulating status in miles, hotels stays, car rentals and that is the name of the game in those sectors....while Kiva loans are not a game.
    What about the other teams lending on Kiva? What do they think about this idea of Kiva lending status? We are one team among the group albeit a powerful one....but nevertheless we have to consider the impact of such a lending status on the whole group.

    This proposal needs to be flushed out and flushed out across the whole Kiva body. I just have a gut feeling that it would have a negative impact on the whole lending groups.....but gut feelings have to be scrutinized carefully......

    Instead of concluding the post with that is my two cents.....I have made a loan. :D
     
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  11. tondoleo
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    tondoleo Gold Member

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    This thread is why I enjoy being a member of this group. It is concise, evolved,intelligent, passionate and respectful.
    I hope this post does not ruin things.

    Once again you speak the truth. Thanks.

    Kiva is not a game to me. Nor to those who are getting these loans.

    That is very noble of you and the Mrs. Perhaps the Kiva techs can allow one's name to still appear on a loan however one's lender page can be blocked. Some folks may want to join on a loan with you but will not know who you have funded.

    I do not know what the answer is to this question.

    Kiva should strive to be different. If it changes to my dissatisfaction I will no longer participate in their activities

    Our team is inclusive. I hope nothing occurs to make it exclusive.

    My avatar is because I say No to Kiva elites.
     
  12. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Poor choice of words on my part. Indeed loaning to Kiva is not a game....but frequent flying is a indeed a game.
     
  13. scarecrow

    scarecrow Silver Member

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    I also agree.
     
  14. bonnerbl
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    bonnerbl Gold Member

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    I also sat on some nonprofit Boards. While the organization may wish to acknowledge support that needs to be balanced with the donor's wish for recognition. So some sort of private organization-to-donor recognition probably would be appreciated. For example Iam invited to private events celebrating the org's achievements, I receive personal letters from the head of the organization, when the head of the org is in town he sometimes invites me to dinner.

    There isn't any public recognition of anyone's level of support. Nor any public division of supporters into "status" levels. I personally appreciate that. At Kiva we are a team and each of us is equally valued. The team is recognized for its efforts via the monthly and year-to-date lending and member numbers. It is fun to have that level of public competition.

    So to repeat myself here, Kiva doing some sort of private recognition of support sounds fine to me. Public stratifying into donor levels would be huge negative for me.
     
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  15. RCyyz
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    RCyyz Silver Member

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    My quick comments - I like the idea of donor levels. Don't like the idea of Platinum if another level is Silver since the two colours look the same. Public display of donor levels should be optional and by default should be turned off.
     
  16. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    :D I think some of us already have this level of contact, and Kiva is not exactly a walled fortress. their CEO afterall works at about a 2' diameter bar high table with a bar chair and a laptop cooling pad, out in the open...
     
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  17. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    Is that a foreclosed condo in Japan? :eek:
     
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  18. Dreamworks

    Dreamworks Gold Member

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    These are all great thoughts and good discussion. I think it shows how thoughtful this group is.

    So here's my take. There is a difference between lending and philanthropy. Up until now, Kiva has been focused on lending with their philanthropy coming from the 15% box. I think the best way to recognize lending is the teams , and I pretty much think the less recognition is best as it really is a team effort and we wouldn't want to dissuade anyone or make them feel bad that their $25 isn't as much as others. Power Lenders (over $1000) in loans outstanding could have the option of having the donation check box turned off in the settings maybe.

    However, for people who are really interested in Kiva the organization and helping them by increasing their budget for staff or staff travel, etc, this is where levels could be appropriate. I want to participate in this. I want to be on a quarterly conference call with Matt and Premal to talk about the organization and the upcoming needs, etc. Or if Kiva sponsored a trip to visit their MFIs and charged extra on the top as a donation, this would be a great idea also.
    I personally think a formal gala once a year would be cool. Not because Kiva is that kind of place, but even kids in T-shirts like getting dressed up every once in a while.

    I'm happy to work more on this offline if people are interested.
     
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  19. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Well thought out and well written in my estimation.
     
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  20. lisamcgu
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    lisamcgu Gold Member

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    Great idea!
     
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  21. lisamcgu
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    lisamcgu Gold Member

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    I agree that there is alot of recognition and special privileges that go on behind closed doors. I always considered Kiva's attendance and support at the DO their special recognition of the milepoint team.
     
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  22. RCyyz
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    RCyyz Silver Member

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    This is where I think it's useful to separate Kiva from fundraising. If Kiva had a separate (arm's length) charitable foundation, there are several things that could immediately happen:

    - Kiva can continue to focus on doing what it does best; getting loans out to those who need them.
    - The Kiva Foundation can register globally (like Medcins San Frontieres for example) and secure tax deductible donations around the world.
    - The Foundation can then invest donations and ensure that interest earned goes straight to Kiva thus funding the operates on that side.
    - The Foundation would be free, and encouraged even, to establish donor recognition programs and host special events for donors such as invite-only events, gala dinners etc.
     
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  23. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    For the time being I agree with that. Every major charity I know of, including almost all universities, do have levels and differentiate status between donors, especially perks like executive time. Politicians do it too. I suspect were we to encourage it just for donations that might be the better choice. There is much less difficulty getting people excited to lend than it is getting them to give. I doubt we want to emblazon everything with the status. OTOH AA made money today when they recognized me twice for passing another million miles. They never did that before. I do think some form of recognition would be a big incentive. Question: How to motivate those who have no status. Universities have different levels based on years since graduation. We might experiment with some of that logic here.
     
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  24. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    Airfare included?
     
  25. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    I love that a lender with one loan has the same status as a lender with 50,000+ loans.

    Let's keep the focus on the borrowers, not the lenders.
     
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