How Kiva helped fund 37,000 female entrepreneurs

The crowdfunding platform handed out more than $4.2 million in loans in March.

D.J. Mari Malek's Instagram post about Kiva's campaign.
D.J. Mari Malek's Instagram post about Kiva's campaign.

Campaign: Invest in Women
Company: Kiva Microfunds
Agency partners: Hotwire (PR, media relations, influencer engagement)
Duration: March 4-8, 2020

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the crowdsourced loan platform Kiva Microfunds ran an Instagram campaign featuring female entrepreneurs.

Last year, more than 80% of the micro-loans on Kiva’s platform went to women. The company has provided more than $1 billion in loans to female entrepreneurs. Kiva wanted to celebrate and amplify these milestones on International Women’s Day without the message getting lost in the myriad of other content flooding the internet. 

The strategy: Focus on how the company elevates all different kinds of female entrepreneurs, not just those who fit into a specific model of success.

“You don’t have to be a certain age or in a certain industry - no matter who you are you can be supported by Kiva,” said Leah Eser, a director at Hotwire. 

The driving mission was to illustrate the dizzying number of ways there are to be a powerful woman.

“We wanted to give power back to the women, to tell us what it meant to be powerful and successful, rather than us trying to tell them,” Eser said. 

Hotwire was hired as Kiva’s AOR in February, and immediately got to work on the International Women’s Day campaign, which featured 10 influencers who defined, in their own words, what it means to be a powerful woman. 

“I use [the word influencer] broadly,” Eser said.

The selection was based not just on follower counts, but for the breadth and reach of each woman’s experience. The group included poet and illustrator Rupi Kaur, lifestyle influencer Hannah Beth and D.J. Mari Malek. 

Their responses were used in an Instagram campaign that launched March 4, a few days before International Women’s Day. 

Kiva also threw an event in Oakland, California, with the city’s mayor Libby Schaaf and a local entrepreneur who had received a loan through the platform. The company handed out fliers with unique URLs that allowed recipients to redeem $25 to give in loans when they visited the platform. 

The Oakland event generated 12 earned media stories, including coverage by KPIX 5 News, KTVU, SF Fox, and SF Gate. 

The week of the campaign going live, $4.2 million was loaned to more than 37,000 female entrepreneurs on the platform, a volume twice the amount raised in a typical week. 

Kiva handed out 1,000 fliers with codes to start the loan process. The week of the campaign, it saw more than 1,400 first-time users make a loan on the platform. 

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