A great idea is not enough in successful NGO work – you also need to tell others about it. Kiva.org, a website letting private lend (almost) directly to developing world borrowers, is innovative in its support and use of a wide range of viral marketing tools.
The newest is KivaFriends.org, which allows lenders to interact with each other. From the website you can download 10 different banners (like the one to the right), footers to your email, join emailing lists, volunteer with translation, reporting or whatever you feel like, donate your digital camera etc. etc. Of course, they have a MySpace, Friendster and a Squidoo profile :- ). Did I mention the interactive podcast? Actually, it seems that most of this work is done on a by volunteers, which just makes it even more impressive.
One thing along the same lines, which Kiva hasn’t done (yet!) is crowdsourcing, letting a large group of people participate in the production of text, web pages, articles, films (it happens!)or whatever you need. Wikipedia is the prime example. Kiva.org could use it, for example, for their translations – crowdsourcing makes it more fun for people to contribute because they’re doing something in collaboration with others and perhaps a community would evolve around each language, administration costs would diminish, and things would be translated faster.
One last word about their financing. When you give out a loan, you get the opportunity to donate 5 USD directly to Kiva – a method also employed by DonorsChoose.org. 90% of lenders do that, and at the same time, you can’t really call it a fee. The handy thing is that revenue will increase as Kiva grows. Which it certainly does.