Wikis

Case Study: Kiva.org

“PBworks has been incredibly helpful at reducing our workload.”

Anushka Ratnayake, Kiva Fellows Program Manager

 

Overwhelmed with Email

At first, Kiva tried using email, but the sheer volume of messages (200-300 per day) began to overwhelm the team, and extensive use of document attachments caused a host of issues, especially for field workers dialing in over slow connections.

 

Effective Knowledge Sharing

That’s when CTO Sam Makiewicz suggested to Kiva Fellows Program Manager Anushka Ratnayake that PBworks could provide a highly effective knowledge sharing and collaboration solution that would solve these problems. Anushka needed a solution that was:

 

•  Easy-to-use - Neither she nor the volunteers are necessarily tech-savvy

•  Flexible - Volunteers in each country have different issues

•  Dynamic - The organization is constantly learning and refining best practices

•  Accessible from anywhere in the world; Kiva makes loans in 37 different countries

 

PBworks is able to meet all these needs and helped dramatically increase the productivity of the Kiva Fellows program.

 

Immediate Adoption

Anushka began by creating several pages of instructions and uploading some of the most widely-used documents. She wasn’t sure if the Fellows would understand what to do with the wiki, but her fears were quickly dispelled. Within a week, numerous Fellows were contributing, including a team in Guatemala who posted complete Spanish translations of Anushka’s original documents!

 

100% participation rate

Today, the Fellows program uses its wiki for everything from sharing confidential financial information to training all incoming Fellows. In fact, Kiv’s wiki has a 100% participation rate - every Fellow uses the wiki - and the ability to use PBworks is now a requirement for anyone who wants to join the program. More importantly, using PBworks has made Anushka’s life much easier. Use of the wiki has cut email volume by 30%, and virtually eliminated troublesome document attachments. What's more, with a flexible, dynamic knowledgebase available, the volume of questions that the home office receives from Fellows in the field has plummeted.

 

In addition to meeting Kiva’s immediate needs, PBworks will help the organization continue to grow. As the Fellows program expands, the value of wiki knowledge sharing and collaboration will only increase. “Before using PBworks, I didn't think I would ever need to create or use a wiki” said Anushka, “It’s been a huge success.”

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