The Long Lost Blog Post…Kiva and Structural Holes

Some prewriting that I forgot to post last time about my final paper…

According to the work of Ronald Burt, it is evident that Kiva has managed to fill a “structural hole”.  A structural hole is loosely described to be disconnects in the structure of information that is shared between people and in society.  Furthermore, “A structural hole between two groups need not mean that people in the groups are unaware of one another.  It means only that the people are focused on their own activities such that they do not attend to the activities of people in the other group” (Burt, 2005 p. 16).  The structural hole that Kiva has filled directly connects willing lenders with entrepreneurs in need in developing nations through their website.  Continue reading

Kiva and Microfinance-Final Paper Topic

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After struggling to find an appealing and interesting topic to write my final paper about, I’ve finally decided to analyze microfinance institutions in the United States,  specifically Kiva.  The readings this week sparked my interest and curiosity in organizations such as these, and I think this can make for a fascinating paper.  I’ve found past few discussions we’ve had in class revolving around innovation and social entrepreneurship to be incredibly interesting and believe that their impact as well as importance in the world for years to come will be ever increasing and profound.  Even though I don’t have any personal experience with these types of institutions, I want to use this paper to learn more about them while at the same time analyzing their organizational viability and characteristics.  So here are the preliminary ideas I’d like to address within the paper.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!! Continue reading

People outweigh Media?

After reading about Kiva I immediately pulled up several searches about them on the internet.  Since we have been talking about the current economic crisis, I was interested to see how Kiva was operating during the financial downturn.  Fortune Magazine provided me with the answer.  Although the management team at Kiva feared that the economy would cause the number of donors to decrease, the slowdown never came.  This non-profit organization continues to race to keep up with user demand.

“This is pretty much a fault of management,” says Shah. “We assumed things were really going to fall off. We didn¹t sign up enough microfinance institutions. That turned out to not be the right assumption. There are plenty of poor people out there.”

At only four years old, Kiva has nearly 500,000 users and has lent almost $65 million.  While media attention provided Kiva with a major boost, it has started to wane over the past year.  The real publicity comes from friend referrals and loyal users.  It is remarkable to hear that word of mouth is actually outweighing technology and mass media.  Does this have to do with the fact that Kiva is a non-profit organization?  Or are there other underlying causes?  The article provided us with examples of how Kiva spread like rapid-fire due to a blog on the internet, showing that non-profits still thrive off media attention, but what else could this recent reliance on word of mouth be due to? Continue reading

The Power of the Media

Isn’t it always fascinating how powerful the media can make or break anything? From people, business, and products. Reading the article on Kiva it was interesting to see how the media is such a powerful influential organization.

Overnight, our loan volume went from approximately $3K per day to approximately $30K per day…The Frontline piece was fundamental in making this happen.

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