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Kiva on Taking the Leap

Posted on Jul 30, 2012 |

By Chelsea  Tekesky

We have all heard people say, “Just take the leap.” Some times people use it in reference to faith; others will say it to encourage us to try something new. Whatever the context may be, we can all agree that it is easier to encourage someone to “leap” than to be the one “leaping.” To “take the leap” implies that we will be out of our comfort
zone. We will have to proceed without knowing a guaranteed outcome of our actions. For some people, this is not difficult at all because they thrive off of spontaneity and adventure. But why is it so tough for the rest of us? The most obvious answer is we are afraid of failure.

Most of us like to play it safe by making decisions where we can effectively weigh the cost and benefits, and make sure that the outcome tilts generously in our favor. This fear of “taking the leap” and failing can be taken beyond the individual level and applied to the corporate world as well. How often do we see nonprofits falling into the trap of playing it safe? Like many of us, many nonprofits avoid “taking the leap” in order to assure that no harm will be done to their organization. Although this mindset may be true in some cases, one could also argue that no benefits will result either. When nonprofits refuse to “take the leap”, their organizations growth and impact will ultimately decline. It is time for nonprofits to have a new approach, one that will spur them to “take the leap” which will bring about positive opportunities for improvement.

One nonprofit that had a vision, took the leap, and is now changing people’s lives across the globe is Kiva. Kiva’s mission is “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the Internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world”1. In an interview with Innovative Nonprofit, Kiva Co-founder, Matt Flannery, said that the nonprofit world needs to adopt a...

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