Kiva Loans: Team Building and Giving Back

Give Back Through Team Building

Yes, it’s possible – in fact, more and more it’s expected. 

In the 20-ish years that we have been designing and delivering team and leadership development programs we have been pleased to notice the increase in requests we get to incorporate a way to give back to the local or even global community while at the same time offering an experience that unites teams and builds relationships.

Kiva Loans and “Play It Forward”

Our first involvement with a non-profit organization has proven to have staying power. In 2009 we delivered our first in person “Play it Forward” program which partners with a fantastic organization called Kiva

For those who are unfamiliar with Kiva, they are the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website. Through them, lenders can give entrepreneurs all over the world funds to help start or grow their businesses in small, $25 increments. These micro-loans have changed lives all over the planet – how could we be anything but intrigued by becoming involved with this?

The idea was to create a fun, engaging and competitive challenge that would present teams with an experience that would bring co-workers together in a way that was not just fun and engaging, but meaningful. So that is what we did. 

We created a photo-scavenger hunt (on steroids some say) where teams would have to decipher clues to find locations and collect points.  More points equals more money towards a loan for an entrepreneur selected by each team. See what I mean? 

Winning the challenge doesn’t just mean bragging rights amongst their colleagues, it also equates to more funds directed to the person or group they selected based on criteria that was important to the team. 


RELATED: Summit Team Building Giving Back Program


The Pandemic Pivot!

During the pandemic, we were no longer able to offer the in person version of Play it Forward, so we pivoted to a virtual one. Teams still select an entrepreneur to play for but now they have a series of virtual challenges that will earn them points for the win and of course, funds for their selected Kiva profile person or group. It no longer matters where you are, anyone anywhere can participate.  I’m telling you, the response has been unbelievable. 

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting some of the Kiva team, other lenders as well as one individual supported through Kiva loans via a virtual meeting.  The team was lovely, and the entrepreneur featured had a laugh and optimism that was truly contagious. The positive energy from everyone was palpable. I felt honoured and humbled to be a part of this movement as I have for the last 10+ years. 


FREE EVENT: Take away some ideas on how to keep your teams motivated, connected and engaged. Register for our Showcase Virtual Preview Event


How We, and You, Can Help Kiva

The great thing about Kiva is that it’s not a handout – it’s a loan. It helps people get a leg up in life when other resources are either exhausted or non-existent. They pay it back. And then we re-lend. The cycle goes on and on. In fact, in the 11 years we’ve been doing this, Summit has lent or re-lent over  $275,00.00 as a result of teams participating in our in-person and virtual versions of Play it Forward

2020 means that we can’t celebrate the season in the same way we always have. Why not start a new tradition. Check out Kiva.org. and give a gift that will have a truly lasting effect.