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!

16 June 2012

Progress Report and Team Tips

Progress Report:

The Genealogists for Families team now has over 200 members worldwide (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, England, Netherlands, NZ, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain, USA and Wales). In less than nine months we have loaned a total of $19,000.

Team Tip No.1 - Choosing a Loan:

This week two new members of the 'Genealogists for Families' team asked for advice on selecting loans through Kiva.

1.  On www.kiva.org, at the top of the page, click 'Log in'. (I use an email address and password, not Facebook.)

2.  Click 'Lend'.

3.  On the 'Choose a Borrower' page, in the left column, you can (if you wish) use check boxes to filter the loans by any combination of criteria, including country, gender, groups or individuals, and sector (which usually refers to the borrower's business - agriculture, manufacturing, services etc).

4.  Click 'Advanced Options'. For Risk Rating (Stars), Delinquency and Default, drag the circles left or right to set your preferred ranges. For example, if you are a cautious lender you might set the Risk Rating at 3-5 stars and Delinquency and Default at 0%-2%.

5.  Use the 'Sort by' drop-down menu to display the loans in various ways. 'Repayment Term' sorts them with short-term loans at the top. 'Expiring Soon' will show loans that are most urgently in need of funding.

6.  If you intend to search for similar loans in the future, set your filters and sort order, then create a bookmark in your browser.

Team Tip No.2 - Terminology:

Not sure what terms like 'delinquency' mean? If there is a dotted line under a word, hover the mouse pointer over it to see a pop-up explanation.

Team Tip No.3 - Expiring Loans:

If a loan is not 100% funded within about 30 days, it will expire, and money that was received is refunded to the lender's Kiva account (and you can then choose another borrower).

Often this does no immediate harm to the borrower. Some Field Partners disburse loans before they are fully funded on Kiva - but if a loan expires, the Field Partner is seriously out of pocket. If that happens often, the Field Partner may eventually go out of business, which would have a negative impact on borrowers and their lenders.

If you have not joined our team, now would be a good time. Free loans are currently being offered to new members of Kiva!

Are there any tips you want to share with team members?

09 June 2012

Meet the Team: Mark Taylor

After a lull in the series, I was pleased when Genealogists for Families team member Mark Taylor from Victoria, Australia, volunteered to write a guest post.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Mark Taylor and I'm a Genealogist. Now that I've confessed to being an obsessed, computer bound, eccentric name collector, I feel better already. I run a BMW Dealership at Bundoora in North East Melbourne, and am therefore able to continue my childhood passion of playing with cars. I also love bird watching (there I go confessing again), playing tennis, and my 3 girls.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I read about GFF on the 'Australian Genealogy' Facebook page, and lent my first $25 to a Mongolian seamstress seeking funds for a new sewing machine.

What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?

I have always been concerned that overseas charity donations are consumed by administration. Kiva is a brilliant grassroots way to see your money at work, and gives you the choice of how much you give to admin.

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

In choosing a borrower, I prefer to lend to families with children. I enjoy reading the business plans to find those I think will succeed. Now I also look at social needs, and I'm covering the globe. South and Central America done, Africa next. I'm trying to keep 50:50 on gender too.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

The borrowers are all inspiring in some way. I felt strongly for the Colombian locksmith whose tools were stolen. He had to borrow to replace them. I hope he locks these ones up!

Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?

In today's economic climate, saving is important. I know that most of what I lend I can eventually get back if I need it, so for me Kiva is a form of saving. The social interest rate is far higher than the banks', and with our dollar falling, I may even make a profit. To reinvest of course! I started out thinking that I would make a loan every 2 weeks. That has changed to once per week, and I have been reinvesting repayments on top.

Web address of your Web site or blog?

www.kiva.org/lender/mark7436.

Your main family history research interests?

Albiston, Barrie, Carbines, Fillan, Hayhow, Lilley, McCallum, Sheerman, Waldram. I've found famous artists and actors, murderers, murder victims, preachers, banned authors, AFL stars, champion jockeys - and agricultural labourers. I've seen family feuds dissolved, birth families found, heirlooms rediscovered, tears shed. It started as a tree full of names. Now they are telling their stories.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!