Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kiva's 5 Year Growth Plan

It's no secret that Kiva's first four years have had unprecedented impact-- over $90 million has been raised from over 550,000 users reaching more than 230,000 entrepreneurs in 49 countries. Countless stories have emerged, new friendships have been forged, and lives have been changed. We're blown away by all the dedicated Field Partners and amazing Kiva Lenders who've made all of this possible.

But we believe this is only the beginning . . .

Kiva is about dreaming big. The entrepreneurs on the website dream about big business; our Field Partners dream about financially including all of the poor; Kiva Lenders dream about ending poverty.

Kiva was a big dream before the idea of lending to someone on the other side of the world became a reality. Now we have big dreams about making Kiva the world's hub for alleviating poverty.

We've set three strategic goals that we believe are both ambitious and achievable within the next 5-years:

1. Raise $1 billion in loans over the internet
2. Reach 2 million entrepreneurs around the world
3. Realize our own self-sufficiency in the process.

While these three goals don't describe how we will get there (which countries? will there be different types of loans?) or what changes we might make to improve the Kiva website to get there, what we are sure about is that we want to do it at a large scale. We think the potential of the partnerships forged through the Kiva community are infinite, and we want to dream as big as we believe you are.

Today, Kiva employs about 40 passionate people who find and monitor the field partners that bring entrepreneurs to the site, build and maintain the Kiva Web site, bring you responsive customer service, and make unique opportunities like the Kiva Fellows program possible. This includes team members in cities as far afield as Nairobi, Dakar, Lima, and Manilla. Thanks to Kiva lenders who also donate to Kiva when making a loan, Kiva has managed to become about 75% self-sufficient, with the remaining funds required to operate Kiva coming through generous grants from corporations and foundations.

In order to make our 5-year goals a reality, Kiva plans to launch a growth capital campaign to raise an additional $10 million to build the Kiva of the future. One that's built to scale and built to last. The campaign funds will be used to hire the engineers who will build an irresistible site at the forefront of Web technology, the microfinance professionals who will help us reach more entrepreneurs while managing risk to protect Kiva lenders, and the dedicated team members who will support the kind of organizational scale and longevity that we believe will make Kiva one of the most vital organizations engaged in one of the most important challenges of the 21st century-- the fight against global poverty.

In the coming months, we'll keep you updated on both our vision and our progress. We'll also show you how you can participate in our campaign through your own charitable contributions, by bringing your friends and family to Kiva, and through some exciting new ideas to come.

With your help, Kiva will demonstrate that no matter how big the scale of today's global challenges, everyday people really can make a difference!