Four Lessons from the Kiva Debate

My post on the Case Foundation blog this week sums up the debate over Kiva and person-to-person fundraising. Plus audio, for your pod-listening pleasure.

  • Empathy increases generosity. The pictures and stories on the Kiva site increase understanding between various parties that would otherwise operate in completely different universes.” That’s Matt Flannery, Kiva’s CEO and co-founder replying in his guest post on David Roodman’s blog.
  • “If you’re going to advertise yourself as giving choice to the donor, you’d better do it.” That’s Mike Everett-Lane, formerly of Donor’s Choose, commenting on tacticalphilanthropy.com.
  • Openness buys an organization benefit of the doubt. Even in his initial post, David Roodman acknowledged that statistics in plain view on Kiva’s own website caused him to question Kiva’s message. There was clearly no skulduggery involved.
  • Listening pays. Kiva responded to the criticism with action. It altered those marketing materials, and Matt Flannery responded quite graciously in a guest blog post. But before any of that, Kiva’s staff listened.
  • That listening, and that response, ultimately drew praise from the critics. David Roodman summed it up:

    I think Flannery’s response to my criticism blended grace, humility, and quiet confidence. The world would be a much better place if all charities, all organizations for that matter, were as open and responsive to criticism as Kiva has been. I trust the Kiva folks will keep refining. I will visit them today.

For more Kiva conversations – a post on my blog, Code, Camera, Action, outlines the story. The comments in particular, summarize how Kiva resolved the issue. For more detail, see this list of excerpts from the Kiva debate or Tim Ogden’s post linking to the major blog debate.

– via casefoundation.org