In 2011 we won an award for Best New Community Project. We enable people without access to traditional banks (including many women) to expand their businesses, educate their children, save for the future and raise themselves out of poverty. Through Kiva, a non-profit organisation working with microfinance institutions, you choose a borrower to support with a loan of just $5 via Kiva Zip or $25 via Kiva. Similar loans by other lenders are combined until the required total is reached. As your money is repaid (often in monthly instalments), you can withdraw it or lend it to someone else. Money that is loaned over and over again does more good than a one-time donation. Join 'Genealogists for Families' - together we are making a difference!

18 January 2014

Kiva Zip and The Big Bad Woof

Image from https://zip.kiva.org/loans/2588
Profile photo for 'Pennye: The Big Bad Woof'
Today I joined Kiva Zip.

For lenders, Kiva Zip works in much the same way as Kiva. We browse loan profiles and choose someone whom we want to support; and we get our money back as our borrowers repay. But with Kiva Zip, there are two key differences:
  1. Loans can be as small as $5 (compared to $25 for a normal Kiva loan).

  2. Lenders can exchange messages directly with borrowers via the 'Conversations' tab on any loan.
As always, be sure to read the fine print on Kiva Zip's Web site before deciding whether it is right for you.

As a dog lover, I chose to lend $5 to 'Pennye: The Big Bad Woof', a store that sells organic, holistic food for companion animals. They work with local farmers to purchase chicken frames, lamb bones etc, thus creating a market for leftovers that would otherwise be discarded.

Have you already used Kiva Zip? If so, what did you think of it?
~ ~ ~
Have you read the updated version of 'Genealogy Social Events - an International Challenge'?

Genealogy Social Events: an International Challenge

Genealogists for Families social events are mainly about family history, but they are also an opportunity to raise funds for extra loans through Kiva. If we pass around the hat and ask everyone to contribute their loose change, we usually have enough to make an extra $25 loan (or several $5 loans via Kiva Zip).

In Australia we do this via a Kiva lender account called 'GFF Aussie Social Events'. Those of you who meet at genealogy conferences overseas might like to do something similar. Consider this a friendly international challenge!

Wondering whether you know any Genealogists for Families team members? Check the pages showing photos and given names.

If you want to plan an event, there are some interesting suggestions in the Kiva Lending Team Playbook.

With small change collected at our Kiva team's social events in Australia (get-togethers for coffee, lunch or dinner), we have already made forty-two loans in eleven countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Georgia, Honduras, Paraguay, Philippines, Tajikistan and Vietnam). Repayments on those loans are now funding one new loan each month.

Could you organise a get-together in your area? Are you going to a family history fair or on a genealogy cruise where you could hand out 'business cards'? Use that link to design and order 250 FREE cards - you just pay postage.

14 September 2013

The How and Why of Auto-Lending (updated)

This is an updated version of a 'tip' that I originally posted in 2012. It reflects recent changes to the Kiva Web site.

Many Kiva loans are repaid in monthly installments, but there may be times when you cannot check your Kiva credit on repayment day (for example, if you are travelling, ill or just very busy). To avoid leaving money sitting idle when it could be used for another loan, or to control what happens to your Kiva credit when you depart this life, you can, as a precaution, set up Auto-Lending.

This means that if you have $25 in credit but don't log in within a certain time (which you specify), Kiva can act for you to allocate that credit to a new loan. You can (if you wish) control this by setting criteria such as countries, sectors, risk rating, repayment term, gender, etc, as shown in the example on the right.

It's easy to do. Just log in to Kiva, select 'Settings', then (in the drop-down list) 'Credit'; scroll down to 'Auto-Lending Settings', set your preferences, and click 'Save'.

Check your account settings now. Do they suit the way you use Kiva?
~ ~ ~
Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

15 July 2013

Inside History's Top 50 Blogs for 2013

It was a thrill and an honour to see that Genealogists for Families was chosen as one of Inside History's Top 50 Genealogy Blogs for 2013.

Many other blogs that made the list are written by members of our team. How many of them can you identify?

(Hint:  some, but not all, are featured in our Meet the Team series.)
~ ~ ~

18 May 2013

Bonus Loans and Inviting Friends

You can only see who joins Kiva because of you if they join by clicking on your personal referral link. You can put this in emails, blogs, Web pages, Facebook posts, tweets, etc.

Log in and look under 'Portfolio / Invite friends' - or to invite people to join Kiva and the 'Genealogists for Families' team, quote the link shown on www.kiva.org/team/genealogists/recruit.

If you earn a free 'bonus loan' because someone joins Kiva via your personal referral link, you only have 7 days to use that $25 credit. Kiva contacts you when you receive a bonus, but in case their emails end up in your spam folder and you overlook them, I suggest that you log in and check your credit once a week.

Do your account settings allow Kiva to email you? Log in and check 'Account / Email preferences'.
~ ~

07 January 2013

Rest in Peace, Joan Miller

Joan Miller
It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that Joan Miller, 'Genealogists for Families' co-captain, has lost her year-long battle with cancer. On behalf of all members of the project's Kiva team, I extend deepest sympathy to Joan's family and friends. I am sorry that I never met Joan in person because we were on opposite sides of the world, but I treasured our on-line friendship.

Joan's daughter Heather has asked that commemorative loans or donations in memory of her mother should be made through Kiva and 'Genealogists for Families'. You can either:

(1) Make an ordinary Kiva loan, with repayments going to you so that you can re-lend the money as it is repaid. If you write about it in your blog, put a link in a comment below so that I can add it to the list of team members' commemorative loans.

or

(2) Make what Kiva calls a 'dedicated loan'. During the checkout process, in 'My Basket', select the option 'Dedicate this loan'. With a Dedicated Loan, repayments will be donated to Kiva instead of being returned to you.

In her 'Meet the Team' profile, Joan said that she chose field partners with at least a 3-star rating and a low delinquency rate. Several of her loans were to women in the Philippines. For my commemorative loan I therefore followed Joan's example by choosing Luna in the Philippines, who supports her family by making crafts with shells.
~ ~ ~

08 December 2012

Kiva Cards, Lost Emails and Short Loans

Kiva Cards and Gifts:  As you plan your Christmas shopping, please consider choosing Kiva Cards and other gifts that support the work of Kiva (I particularly like the piggybank and the calendar).

Lost Emails:  If you are not getting Kiva's emails, they may be in your spam folder. Most repayments go into your Kiva account on the 17th or 18th of the month, but they could arrive later. You might want to put a recurring reminder in your diary. If you are likely to be busy or away, set up Auto-Lending (you can cancel it later if you wish).

Short Term Loans:  I was recently asked how I had managed to make so many loans. My repayment installments cover the cost of several new loans each month, because I choose many short-term loans (as well as some longer ones). Each loan's page shows the Repayment Term (x.months) and Repayment Schedule (Monthly, Irregularly or End of term). If you don't know how to quickly select a short loan, see point 5 in Progress Report and Team Tips.
~ ~ ~
Join Genealogists for Families. Together we are making a difference!

Team Loans in need of Funding

If you don't particularly need to select a loan for a specific area, occupation etc, you may be interested in adding your support to a borrower chosen by another team member.

There are several ways to identify team loans that are not yet fully funded. For example:
  • On the team page (the link opens in a new window), above the Family Tree logo, click 'Loans'.
  • At 'Loan statuses to display', select 'Raising Funds'.

~ ~ ~
Join Genealogists for Families. Together we are making a difference!

27 September 2012

Year 1: Genealogy Benefits and Team Achievements

Genealogists for Families is one year old today. When I started this project (to continue a family tradition of helping others) I did not realise that there would be so many genealogical and personal benefits for our team members!

The Genealogists for Families motto is 'We care about families (past, present and future)'. As family historians we know that our lives have been shaped by previous generations, and we care about the world that our children will inherit. Through Kiva, we can make that world a better place.

To combine genealogy with Kiva, some of us make commemorative loans on dates that have special significance for our family.

When I asked team members what they thought were the benefits of belonging to 'Genealogists for Families', most said that they wanted to make a positive contribution in the world, and that they liked the sense of community; but that could apply to any lending team on Kiva, so what are the specific benefits for members of a genealogy team?

  • From the Meet the Team guest posts in this blog, plus team members' lender pages on Kiva, we get to know new people and learn about new genealogy resources. (For example, Fiona heard about Yvette's Dutch genealogy Web site, followed the advice there, and found an ancestor who had previously eluded her.)

  • We swap tips for genealogy at team social events and on social networking sites. (Kerry said, "I love the networking - getting to know other genealogists so that you can ask their advice.")

  • We increase our chances of contacting 'new' relatives. Contributors to the 'Meet the Team' series mention surnames that they are researching, and at least one team member has subsequently been contacted by a previously unknown relative.

  • An Australian team member was given a personal tour of National Archives overseas by another team member who works there.

  • When two team members made their first visit to State Archives, another member (a professional genealogist) offered to be their guide for the day.

  • Australians helped a team member in Britain by contributing local data to her One Name Study.

  • Links on our Kiva lender pages and in 'Meet the Team' posts provide free publicity for our Web sites and genealogy blogs. This may also attract new clients for team members who are genealogy professionals.

What have we achieved in one year?

In addition to winning an award for Best New Community Project...

  • Our team has grown to 215 members (who live in Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, England, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain, USA and Wales).

  • By re-lending money as it was repaid, we have loaned a total of $28,500. (Jan 2014 update: With continued re-lending, and over sixty new team members, the total sum loaned has now reached an amazing $88,000!)

  • Many of our 1,082 loans (the number increases daily) were to large groups, so I estimate that we have helped over 3,500 families. 

These two colourful charts show the many activities for which our loans have been used, and the countries where the borrowers live.

Activities for which our loans have been used

Countries where our borrowers live

If the only thing stopping you from joining Kiva is the $25  $5 needed to make a loan, you could raise the money by doing online surveys (from which I earn at least $25 each month) or passing around the hat at an informal social event. It will be worth the effort, because a small loan really does make a big difference. Please join us!

26 September 2012

Our Birthday Prize Winners

I was disappointed that only eleven of our 215 members entered the prize draw to celebrate the first birthday (tomorrow) of the 'Genealogists for Families' project.

The main prize (a team T-shirt) was won by Kelli Taylor in Canada.

Two small consolation prizes were won by Roger Moffat (a New Zealander currently living in the USA) and Doug (also in the USA).

Congratulations to the winners, and my sincere thanks to those who took part.
~ ~ ~
Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!