Team Metafilter on Kiva October 1, 2019 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Did you know that Metafilter is one of Kiva's biggest-ever lenders? Here's a team update, and a call for you to help the team lend even more.

Metafilter members have been lending money on the microfinance site Kiva for years. Since every member of the team is technically a team captain, I thought I'd take it upon myself to give an update on our team's progress and remind people to lend.

About Kiva

In case you're not familiar with Kiva, it's an international, crowdfunded nonprofit that provides microloans to people who have trouble accessing traditional banking and loans worldwide. So far, it's funded over $1.3 BILLION in loans. You can learn more about Kiva and its mission here.

About Team Metafilter

Kiva lenders can join teams, and Team Metafilter is 352 members strong! Since 2009, we've:
  • Funded 7,878 loans in 87 countries
  • Reached an average of over 22 loans per member
  • Lent a whopping $221,350
However, our team's total lending has dropped over time, from $17,150 in 2017 to $15,950 in 2018 to $14,050 this year to date.

How You Can Help

If you haven't joined Team Metafilter, do! Click here to join the team. You can only lend to Kiva in $25 increments, but even if you only invest $25, repayments mean you can slowly use that money to lend more and more over time.

Maybe you're already on Kiva but haven't hooked up your profile to Team Metafilter yet. Do! It's easy and helps you join our collective effort.

If you want to learn more about Kiva's impact, here's their Charity Navigator profile. They received an 85.22/100 score for financial performance in 2019.

Thanks for lending! It's really rewarding for me to see my small investment benefit people all over the world; so far, I've lent money to 20 people with just a $50 investment.
posted by mynameisluka to MetaFilter-Related at 8:04 AM (16 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

Hey this is great - thank you for the update!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:05 AM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Hey, thanks for the update! Just signed up and made my first loan.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:39 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


This is awesome! Yay us! Will donate on the next payday!
posted by Sparky Buttons at 10:55 AM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Thank you for the reminder! I have to sort my budget out for this month but I'll definitely start doing Kiva again :)
posted by kalimac at 11:09 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the reminder! I just went in and reloaned some funds I had sitting there -- it'll be good to put this back into my normal rounds.
posted by ourobouros at 11:34 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Cool, I will sign up later today.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:35 AM on October 1 [1 favorite]


Joined the team! I've been using it for a while now, and generally do a new loan per month from the money I got back from the old loans (plus, like, five bucks).
posted by dinty_moore at 6:35 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Thanks, this is a great reminder for something I had been planning but never remembered to actually do. Just signed up for the team and my first loan today.
posted by Ms. Next at 4:41 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the update - I've been in the team for a long time but hadn't looked at the overall stats.
posted by crocomancer at 5:31 AM on October 2 [1 favorite]


generally do a new loan per month from the money I got back from the old loans (plus, like, five bucks).

I looked into Kiva in an academic sort of way before we had spare cash to really toss into it and promptly forgot about it. Now that MsEld is now DrMsEld and we're doing ok I could put a bit into this sort of thing. A few questions:

1) Does the Mefi team actually discuss/interact on loans/strategies or is it more of just a data amalgamation for individual lenders who just put themselves under the mefi team umbrella?
2) How does repayment generally work in practical terms? I recall thinking that I should think of it as a charity donation that *maybe* will actually get paid back when I first researched it and I didn't know how to sort that out in my head as different, and potentially just less efficient, than donating to a charity directly. Can any Kiva lenders speak to this directly, first-hand because that would help me parse it in my head as to how it works on the site, GUI, dollar-side of things.
3) The loans are zero or super low interest right, so it's more about just trying to stay at zero while giving these borrowers capital to actually do *thing* rather than make gains or do I have that wrong altogether?

Thanks for humoring the questions that are likely answered in a FAQ somewhere but I'd trust a mefite user more than that to be honest...
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:59 AM on October 2


So Kiva works a little differently than how they advertise - typically, the field partners often give out the loans before you give them their money, and you're essentially paying the microlender back. Which can be a little less feel-good, but also less nerve-wracking for the person getting the loans. I think the microlender might sometimes step in when they don't pay, but I haven't had that happen before, so I don't know. On a $25 loan, I often get back somewhere between .50 and $2 back per month. Looking at my stats, I'm likely to lose 2 cents overall due to currency exchange loss on about $200 worth of loans - essentially break even.

Kiva also requests donations to help cover Kiva's expenses on each loan. You can always set those lower, but I give the default amount of $3.75, because why not.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:20 AM on October 2 [5 favorites]


1) Does the Mefi team actually discuss/interact on loans/strategies or is it more of just a data amalgamation for individual lenders who just put themselves under the mefi team umbrella?

Mostly the MeFi team is just an umbrella. It prompts us to have these threads periodically which gets more people into Kiva.

2) How does repayment generally work in practical terms? I recall thinking that I should think of it as a charity donation that *maybe* will actually get paid back when I first researched it and I didn't know how to sort that out in my head as different, and potentially just less efficient, than donating to a charity directly. Can any Kiva lenders speak to this directly, first-hand because that would help me parse it in my head as to how it works on the site, GUI, dollar-side of things.

For your purposes, it's best to just think of it as a charity donation where you have high visibility to how the charities in question recycle your money over time. But the charities are Kiva and the regional micro-lenders, not the individual borrowers, who almost always actually pay the money back. You'll get credited with repayments as the borrowers pay back the original loans and then you can lend the money out again (or just set it to auto-lend again if you prefer). You can see lots of statistics about this overall, and once you start lending, you can see your own statistics, too -- how much you've lent, how much you've been paid back, which borrowers are delinquent or in default, how much money you've lost to currency conversion or unpaid loans, etc.

I deposited $125 total, mostly in 2011, and after 8 years of lending that same $125 out, but without donating to Kiva, I have about $55 of it left. The rest has gradually gone to two loans that defaulted completely and to currency losses.

3) The loans are zero or super low interest right, so it's more about just trying to stay at zero while giving these borrowers capital to actually do *thing* rather than make gains or do I have that wrong altogether?

Most borrowers do pay at least some interest, which is part of what funds the regional micro-lenders. That interest doesn't come back to Kiva or to you as a lender -- you'll never get back *more* than the original loan that you made. Kiva doesn't disclose the actual interest rates, but they do monitor them and say they don't allow unreasonable interest. It's unclear what's considered unreasonable -- which likely varies by region in any case.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:25 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Thanks for this update! I learned about Kiva through a post here several years ago and asked for donations that Christmas to fund a small account. I've recycled $500 into about $3500 so far, with only $25 (!!!) in losses.

One of my favorite parts is getting the kids in on it when we choose the next loan to fund. We read the stories and then often go to learn more about the country where we are lending.
posted by AgentRocket at 10:03 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Thanks for this. I didn't know about Kiva and will sign up. I did some volunteer work in Kenya with the Caris Foundation, who help out my boss-doctors' medical mission charity and also separately have a program to lift single mothers out of poverty that involves microloans, and I got to talk to some of the women in the program who were justifiably very proud of how hard they had worked to start small businesses (in some cases having to become literate first). It was really inspiring. I'm excited to have a way to become involved.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:52 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


I joined up, joined the team and made a first donation. Thank you for posting this!
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:25 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]


me too! thanks for bringing this to my attention.
posted by LegallyBread at 9:40 AM on October 25 [1 favorite]


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