Head of Design

About Kiva

Kiva (Kiva.org) is an innovative non-profit focused on connecting people through lending to alleviate poverty and create opportunity. We run a global marketplace platform for crowdfunded microloans that serves the financially excluded. Our company combines the culture and technological passion of an internet start-up with the compassion and empathy of a non-profit to address poverty at global scale. We aim to drive social impact and enable opportunity while providing a borrower-to-lender connection: “Loans that change lives.” In just 13 years, we have raised more than $1.1 billion in loan capital for 2.7 million borrowers in 83 countries. Our lenders fund over $10 million in loans every month. Kiva is poised to take its initial success to a whole new level, continuing our expansion into new areas such as local lending in the US, student loans, water, and clean energy. Headquartered in San Francisco, Kiva’s team has 100+ employees and 500+ volunteers worldwide.

About the Role

Creating beautiful, functional designs that contribute seamlessly to user experience is critical to us. As a thought leader and execution powerhouse, you will use your expertise across all facets of user-centered design, spanning UX strategy, experience/interaction design, user research/assessment, prototyping, visual design and user adoption. You’ll manage and prioritize projects among a team of designers and user researchers. You will report to the COO/CPO. This role is a focal point for shaping the future of a high profile organization leveraging technology for the greater good.


  • Drive strategic goals of the organization through design thinking
    • Translate complex problems into compelling solutions with a user-centric and data-driven approach
    • Partner with Product Managers, stakeholders and executives to create a vision and strategy for products and features ensuring the experience is on brand, achieves business goals and delivers value to end users
    • Provide UX scoping and project definition in alignment with the needs of the business
  • Manage the design and user research functions
    • Oversee and participate in the design process, from concept and strategy, to wireframe, UX and UI design, prototyping, testing and final execution
    • Facilitate feedback cycles for potential design solutions from multiple internal and external stakeholders
    • Lead activities across the UX team, ensuring quality of design, timeliness of project deliverables, and directing resourcing and prioritizing work while guiding and mentoring team members
  • Oversee Kiva’s visual identity and product designs
    • Create an inspiring experience for www.kiva.org, the most widely recognized person-to-person microfinance site on the web today
    • Ensure consistency of UX, UI and brand design throughout Kiva’s products, systems and marketing campaigns
    • Collaborate with product, marketing and engineering teams to identify opportunities to improve user experiences throughout the Kiva ecosystem


  • 10+ years of experience designing successful, high traffic consumer web and/or mobile applications with at least 2 years managing a design team
  • In-depth knowledge of information architecture, user centered design best practices, creative and visual design concepts, as they relate to consumer site design and applications
  • Experience with UX, UI, user research and visual design
  • Experience with branding, style guides and pattern libraries
  • Familiarity with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and standards-based layout
  • Strong personal design aesthetic, meticulous attention to detail and familiarity with using data and customer insights to influence design decisions
  • Ability to seamlessly move between big picture (strategy, planning, systems design) and the minute details
  • Experience partnering with product, engineering and marketing teams in an Agile product development environment
  • Ability to present and advocate for ideas and designs, to explain the Design team’s thinking and process
  • Proficient with current design and prototyping tools and techniques

What We Offer

  • An amazing mission: Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty across the globe.
  • An opportunity to improve real lives, solve hard problems, and change the world.
  • Friendly, supportive, and adventurous environment with a team of engaged colleagues.
  • A comprehensive, industry-leading benefits package.
  • Opportunities to connect with and learn from colleagues and partners around the world.

A diverse and inclusive workplace where we learn from each other is an integral part of Kiva’s culture. We actively welcome people of different backgrounds, experiences, abilities and perspectives. We are an equal opportunity employer and a great place to work. Join us and help us achieve our mission!