Fundraising for a Kiva Fellowship

January 29th, 2014

Bernardita Dayo, an ASHI/Kiva Borrower and me.

Each person that made a donation to my Kiva Fellowship received an acknowledgment letter. For those in the nonprofit world, you know exactly what I mean. For those of you who are not familiar, let me break it down really quickly.

In nonprofits there are usually template thank you letters. A new thank you letter will be written for each campaign and then for all the donors who give to that campaign, they get that letter. To break formality depends on the size of the campaign. So donations come in, they are processed and usually batched into a series of thank you letters to be signed by the Executive Director. That person might make notes on the letter or request special paragraphs to be added. While I am not a nonprofit, I did take that approach to thanking my donors here.

I wrote one template letter (see below) and then I altered and changed it for each person. I had 125 donors in 30 days (see full list of donors HERE) so keeping track of everything was challenging at times and I did make a few mistakes but I believe the extra step of sending a “thank you” in addition to the email receipt from PayPal was important.

I wanted to show you the thank you (acknowledgment) template I drafted so that if you’re working on a fundraiser or campaign of your own, this may be of help to you. _If you need to write a thank you letter, and would like feedback, please don’t hesitate to send me an email to: sloane (at) thecausemopolitan (dot) com.

Kiva Fellowship Acknowledgment Letter

Dear ____,

Thank you so much for your donation of $___ towards my Kiva fellowship. I’m really honored that you believe in me, my mission with Kiva and the organization to help support my trip. I’m headed to the Philippines in June and will be there for 12 weeks working at Ahon sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI). I’ll be splitting my time between their HQ in Quezon City and the Rizal Province on Luzon and Antique Province on Panay. ASHI is the oldest existing replication of Grameen Bank Approach (GBA) to credit delivery to the bottom poor in the Philippines. With its outstanding achievements over the years, it has become one of the role models in credit delivery to the poor in the country.

Last week I was in training at Kiva’s headquarters and learned so much - from microfinance 101, operational cost analysis, interest rates and foreign exchange currency risks to discussions on bringing technology to the developing world, my workplan for deliverables while I’m in the Philippines and meeting the entire Kiva staff and hearing about their roles. The two words I’d use to describe why Kiva “sticks” with people is simplicity and transparency. They work really hard to build relationships from the inside out with every country, microfinance institution and staff at the MFIs. Kiva takes this Fellowship extremely seriously and the 27 people with whom I share the title “Kiva Fellow” for this 8th class and have gotten to know this week - they are just remarkable, accomplished and well educated on how our role with Kiva can really change the lives of the people we serve.

I’m going to share what I’m learning with you as I go along as much as I can. Everything regarding this Kiva Fellowship is in part because of you - both for the donation you’ve made, and also to represent all of the people who would love to do something like this. I look forward to being in the field and seeing microfinance and microlending in action and help educate as many people as I can. To that extent, here are a few extra points:

1) I’ll be writing a newsletter while I’m gone and will include you on my list. I’ll include books, web sites and resources for learning more about microfinance. If you don’t want to receive it, no hard feelings - if you think someone else would enjoy it, please forward it along.

2) I’ll have additional updates on The Causemopolitan as I prepare for this trip and also throughout my time there. You can also sign up to receive my blog postings via your RSS or email - however you prefer to receive your information.

3) The Kiva Fellows blog is another great resource. I’ll be posting there at least once every two weeks, and the other Kiva Fellows will also be writing about their experiences.

4) Join my Lending Team on Kiva! It’s called Team Rafiki (which means “friend” in Swahili). It’s a great way to see Kiva in action. Make a loan and get updates on the repayments while I’m gone. A loan is made on Kiva every 31 seconds and currently 100% of the approximately 6,500 loans on Kiva each month are funded. We’re up to 33 members and $475 lended to borrowers!

5) Spread the word! If what I am doing is inspiring to you or you think someone else would be inspired, please share my journey. If you know bloggers, press, other people who you think would like to know more about my story or Kiva, please direct them my way!

6) Incentives: You should have received a link to the music mix I made with your donation. It’s “Radiohead style” so any donation receives it. Here is the link again for you to visit and download it. Last for cumulative donations of $100 or more, I’ll be sending you a postcard from the Philippines with the address you used for PayPal. I’ll let you know when I’ve mailed it, hopefully the Postal Service won’t take too long!

If you have ANY questions about microfinance, Kiva, my Fellowship or anything else - please ask! If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does. This is a collective experience so get ready to join me on the educational adventure of a lifetime.

I’ll be working tirelessly to do my part and make you proud. On behalf of the millions of people in the world who suffer from poverty and are working hard to support their families and make a better life for themselves, I say thank you.

Sincerely yours, Sloane

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