USER RESEARCH

Increasing Donations at Kiva

PROJECT

overview

ROLE

User Researcher

ROLE & TEAM

Product Manager
Product Designer

TIMELINE

Phase 1
May 2023

Phase 2
July 2023

METHODS

Phase 1
Survey, Interviews

Phase 2
Usability Testing

TOOLS

HotJar
Zoom
Dovetail
FigJam

ROLE

User Researcher

TEAM

Product Manager, Product Designer

TIMELINE

Phase 1: May 2023
Phase 2: July 2023

METHODS

Phase 1: Survey, Interviews
Phase 2: Usability Testing

TOOLS

HotJar, Zoom, Dovetail, FigJam

CONTEXT

Kiva is a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for crowdfunded microloans. Users can lend as little as $25 to borrowers and when borrowers repay, lenders can reinvest those funds to help other borrowers.

In addition to lending, Kiva users have the option to leave a voluntary donation "tip" during the checkout process to help cover Kiva's operating expenses.

donation-tip-ask

RESEARCH

summary

PROBLEM

Currently, 40% of lenders choose not to leave a tip along with their loans. We want to identify what type of content would encourage more donations among these lenders.

TOP INSIGHTS

1

Infrequent donors view lending and donating on Kiva as competing actions for where to give their money

2

There’s an opportunity to bring the valued qualities of lending over to donating: transparency, multiplied impact, emotional connection, and a sense of urgency and need

3

The donation messages that lenders found most effective in inspiring a donation were:

•   A breakdown of Kiva's costs
•   Kiva's 2022 impact statistics
•   A list of Kiva's teams and descriptions of their roles

IMPACT

Informed checkout experiments

This research helped inform and refine the donation messaging for ongoing checkout experiments. One of the experiments (shown right) saw an 2.3% increase in donations when including copy that explained the specific costs donations help cover.

Site-wide donation education system

Insights from this research also helped shape a broader strategy around educating users about the work that Kiva does at various touchpoints throughout the lender experience leading up to the donation ask at checkout.

First user research study on donations

This research was the first user study on donation user behaviors and behaviors at Kiva and laid the groundwork for future donation messaging optimizations and continued research on this topic.

enhanced-donation-tip-modal

IMPACT

Informed checkout experiments

This research helped inform and refine the donation messaging for ongoing checkout experiments. One of the experiments (shown below) saw an 2.3% increase in donations when including copy that explained the specific costs donations help cover.

enhanced-donation-tip-modal

Site-wide donation education system

Insights from this research also helped shape a broader strategy around educating users about the work that Kiva does at various touchpoints throughout the lender experience leading up to the donation ask at checkout.

First user research study on donations

This research was the first user study on donation user behaviors and behaviors at Kiva and laid the groundwork for future donation messaging optimizations and continued research on this topic.

PHASE 1

understanding

user behaviors

PROBLEM

Identify reasons why users choose to or not to donate and identify opportunities that could encourage more donations.

GOALS

1

What motivates and discourages users from donating to Kiva?

2

What are the donating behaviors of users outside of Kiva?

3

What motivates and discourages users from donating outside of Kiva?

SURVEYS

Tension between lending and donating among some lenders

Approach: To capture the rationale behind users' donation/tipping decisions while still top of mind, we launched a brief on-site Hotjar survey on the checkout "thank you" page.

Findings: Only a few non-donating users shared why they chose not to donate and said they preferred lending over donating. We needed interviews to further explore why non-donating users felt this way.

hotjar-in-action

SURVEYS

Tension between lending and donating among some lenders

Approach: To capture the rationale behind users' donation/tipping decisions while still top of mind, we launched a brief on-site Hotjar survey on the checkout "thank you" page.

Findings: Only a few non-donating users shared why they chose not to donate and said they preferred lending over donating. We needed interviews to further explore why non-donating users felt this way.

hotjar-in-action

INTERVIEWS

interview-screenshots-1

Lending is a more compelling use of users' money

Participants: 9 active U.S. lenders from the past 3 months who rarely or never tipped at checkout in the last 3 years

Approach: In the interviews I had lenders walk me through their loan selection process until checkout to create natural flow that enabled more candid responses than just directly asking them about their donating behavior upfront.

Top insights:

  • Users who rarely donate see lending and donating as competing options for their money
  • They don't oppose donating and often support other organizations apart from Kiva
  • Lending is preferred due to its perceived higher impact, transparency, and emotional connection to borrowers

Recommendation: To shift perceptions among these users I proposed messaging and experiences that align with the qualities lenders value in lending.

INTERVIEWS

Lending is a more compelling use of users' money

Participants: 9 active U.S. lenders from the past 3 months who rarely or never tipped at checkout in the last 3 years

Approach: In the interviews I had lenders walk me through their loan selection process until checkout to create natural flow that enabled more candid responses than just directly asking them about their donating behavior upfront.

Top insights:

  • Users who rarely donate see lending and donating as competing options for their funds
  • They don't oppose donating and often support other organizations apart from Kiva
  • Lending is preferred due to its perceived higher impact, transparency, and emotional connection to borrowers

Recommendation: To shift perceptions among these users I proposed messaging and experiences that align with the qualities lenders value in lending.

interview-screenshots-2

APPLYING THE RESEARCH

Cross-functional workshop to ideate new messaging approaches based on research insights

Participants: Members from Kiva's Communications, Marketing, and Impact Investments teams.

Outcome: Identified top five messaging angles for next round of research.

workshop-figjams

APPLYING THE RESEARCH

Cross-functional workshop to ideate new messaging approaches based on research insights

Participants: Members from Kiva's Communications, Marketing, and Impact Investments teams.

Outcome: Identified top five messaging angles for next round of research.

workshop-figjams

PHASE 2

donation

messaging

PROBLEM

Identify what types of messaging angles users find the most effective in inspiring a donation to Kiva.

GOALS

1

Identify top 3 messaging approaches that users find most effective in inspiring a donation

2

Gather user perceptions and interpretations of the different messaging angles

3

Collect actionable feedback to further optimize messaging

USABILITY TESTING

Lenders preferred donation content with more specifics about Kiva's operations and impact

Participants: 9 lenders who never or rarely donate at checkout

Tasks:

  1. Rate importance and engagement of content
  2. Rank the messages from most to least effective in inspiring a donation
  3. Place messages in given categories

Insights: Explanations of Kiva's operational costs, 2022 impact statistics, and descriptions of each of Kiva's teams ranked highest in inspiring donations. 

usability-test-screenshots

USABILITY TESTING

Lenders preferred donation content with more specifics about Kiva's operations and impact

Participants: 9 lenders who never or rarely donate at checkout

Tasks:

  1. Rate importance and engagement of content
  2. Rank the messages from most to least effective in inspiring a donation
  3. Place messages in given categories

Insights: Explanations of Kiva's operational costs, 2022 impact statistics, and descriptions of each of Kiva's teams ranked highest in inspiring donations. 

usability-test-screenshots

FINAL

words

LEARNINGS

Surveys are better suited to close-ended questions

Our open-ended HotJar survey asking about motivations for donating did not provide insightful answers. If I were to redo this study this again, I would first conduct interviews to understand users' reasons, then used those findings to create fixed-choice survey answers to determine how big of a theme those answers were. 

Limitations of ranking messaging

When ranking messages in this test, we pinned different content types against each other, missing the opportunity to capture messages that might have been more effective in combination with others or when supplemented with visuals. I included these limitations in the final research report.

Encouraging more candid responses

One approach that worked very well in this research study was walking participants through their lending process.  This might have made the interviews longer but it helped get more honest responses by naturally easing them into the interview topic.