July 31, 2012

Kiva's Succinct Mission Statement: Does It Work on the Home Page?

Kiva is very well known in some circles, but others don't know about its approach of seeking donors to give small loans to entrepreneurs.

Its old site had a diagram that explained the process very clearly, but its new home page relies on just one sentence "Empower people around the world with a $25 loan."

As someone who is very familiar with Kiva, I think that's a well-written sentence. However, those who are unfamiliar with the organization or the concept of micro-loans may struggle to understand what it’s all about. That's a problem, as I noted in my overview of what makes a great home page.

Upon arriving to the site, a pop-up automatically appears, showcasing one person who you can help with a loan. The pop-up gives you a very specific action to take—"Lend Now"—and a secondary one—"Browse all loans."

If you are inclined to do either of those things, it’s great, but it can be a bit confusing if you realize "lend now” only refers to the person in the pop-up. There’s no back button or a way to close the pop-up, which are small points, but could be frustrating for some less patient people who are accustomed to these standards.

What do you think of Kiva's home page? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

More: The Secrets Behind Successful Nonprofit Home Pages

Matthew Scharpnick is the co-founder of Elefint Designs, a strategic design studio that works with good causes.