Is Erase Poverty a Non-Profit?

  • Erase Poverty is a hybrid model. Erase Poverty Inc. runs the small business marketing program and operates the web site.This allows us to offer valuable services and products to help small businesses grow their businesses.
  • The non-profit (Erase Poverty Foundation) manages the funds donated through the Erase Poverty small business membership fees and the additional funds raised through special offers. Erase Poverty Foundation also manages the microloan portfolio, and funds the microloans through our microfinance partners on a regular basis. Erase Poverty Foundation is under the fiscal sponsorship of Visions Made Viable., a registered 501(c)(3) Donations made to Erase Poverty Foundation are tax deductible in full or in part to the extent allowed by the law.




What is Microfinance?

  • Microfinance is the provision of financial services on a small scale such as loans, savings, insurance, and training to people living in poverty. It is one of the great success stories in the developing world in the last 30 years and is widely recognized as a just and sustainable solution in alleviating global poverty. The industry began by providing small loans to emerging entrepreneurs to start or expand businesses.


Where does Erase Poverty fund loans?

  • Our micrloan portfolio currently seeks to fund microloans in underserved communities in the following countries: Cambodia, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, United States


Which microfinance partners does Erase Poverty work with?

  • We have a growing alliance of microfinance partners that currently includes: Kiva, World Vision, Opportunity International and the Foundation for Women.


How does Erase Poverty select microfinance partners to join the alliance?

  • Erase Poverty’s CEO has extensive industry experience, as do our expert microfinance advisors. Each of the partners has been selected for their quality programming, integrity, laser-focus on marginalized people, pro-poor practices, commitment to education, demonstrated impact, geographical reach, and strong leadership teams.


How are the microloans administered?

  • Our microfinance partners have infrastructure, knowledge and experienced staff on the ground needed in the countries we are seeking to help. Each partner has a similar proven method to select microloan recipients. Typically, it is called a village bank, a community bank or a trust group. For example, Opportunity International Trust Groups make it possible for enterprising individuals to improve their lives and make a difference in their community–no matter how meager their resources. A Trust Group begins when 10 to 30 entrepreneurs, usually women, join together and elect leaders. To be eligible for loans, members undergo four to eight weeks of training. As a group, they pledge to guarantee each other’s loans and support one another’s businesses. Because collateral is not necessary, credit becomes available to those previously locked out from formal financial services.
  • Weekly meetings are the hallmark of the Trust Group model. As members receive training in business practices, interpersonal relationships and health care issues, they develop close alliances along with new skills. With a repayment rate of 95%, Trust Groups have proven to be an effective grassroots approach to tackling poverty. While building up local economies, these close-knit groups also foster personal growth and create community leaders like Sheela.


How does Erase Poverty select microloans to fund?

  • Each month, the Erase Poverty Microloan Portfolio committee selects new microloans to fund with the collected donations, based on the preferences selected by our small business members. The profiles of the microentrepreneurs selected through our microfinance partners are then posted under Our Microloans. Updates are posted to each profile as they are provided by our partners.


Do microloan recipients receive training?

  • Our microfinance partners typically provide business and financial training (including savings and insurance training) prior to distributing loans, as well as ongoing training at each repayment meeting. Depending on the critical issues in an area, microloan groups may also receive training on domestic violence prevention, human rights, HIV and AIDS, Health and Sanitation or other pertinent issues.


What is the microloan repayment rate?

  • Because of the supportive practices, training and the group model used, global microfinance repayment rates are at an astounding 97%. When the microloans are repaid to the in-country microfinance institution, they are recycled to provide a microloan for another microentrepreneur. This is part of the exponential impact of investing in microfinance.


What do people use their microloans for?

  • The global average microloan in the developing world is $381. In comparison, banks in the USA consider a microloan to be $25,000. However, our USA partners are providing small loans of $500-$1000 - enough to get someone started in some businesses. Microloan recipients use their loans for income producing purposes. They may buy:
    • inventory for their small roadside convenience shop
    • fabric to make clothes to sell in the market,
    • flour and baking pans to make bread
    • beads and wire to make jewelery
    • fertilizer to grow healthier crops
    • bowls and sppons to serve soup and rice


How can a microfinance organization join the Erase Poverty alliance?



Why should small businesses join the Erase Poverty program?

  • It’s an easy and affordable way small businesses can participate in cause marketing.
    • Make a difference by providing loans to the enterprising poor who will have the dignity of supporting their families through hard work.
    • Show customers you care by giving a hand-up, not a hand-out to people in poverty.
    • Give your staff a deeper sense of purpose in their work.
    • Increase brand loyalty through social responsibility.
    • Grow your business through increased sales.


What is Cause Marketing?

  • Cause marketing is an opportunity for a business to use their influence to support a cause. For our small businesses that care, the cause is erasing poverty by providing microloans. Consumers are increasingly asking the businesses they shop from to be a force for good, especially during this economic downturn when so many people are struggling. In fact , according to a recent study*, a full 80 % of Americans would be likely to make a cause-related purchase if given the opportunity. This is why Erase Poverty has created a program that allows small businesses to easily use their business for good, AND grow their sales at the same time.

          *2010 Cone Holiday Trend Tracker Study


Is my program membership fee a tax-deductible donation?

  • No, your membership fee is not a donation. The cause marketing program is operated by the for-profit Erase Poverty Inc. However, it is a marketing expense you can apply against business revenue, which is what most small businesses can benefit from. Charitable tax receipts go against retained earnings, which is not a common occurrence in a small business. Talk with your accountant about the benefit of this setup for you.


Is my campaign donation a tax deductible donation?

  • When you run special offer campaigns (for example, x% of sales will be donated to fund microloans through Erase Poverty), you will need to log in to your account to contribute the proceeds of your special offer. This donation goes directly Erase Poverty Foundation, and a charitable tax receipt is issued.


How much of my membership fee goes to fund microloans?

  • Erase Poverty contributes a generous 40% of the program membership fee is contributed to the microloan portfolio. That means that each member is helping 4 people in poverty each month. Extra contributions to the microloan portfolio increase your impact!


Can I cancel my membership?

  • Yes, you can can cancel your monthly or annual subscription prior to your upcoming payment by logging into your PayPal account. Please note that due to the nature of this membership, refunds are not issued. If you cancel your membership, your listing will be removed from the directory, you will no longer be able to use the Erase Poverty logos/badges or any of the marketing materials. If you created a special offer and raised any funds through it, you must make your contribution prior to cancelling your membership.


Can I use the Erase Poverty logo in my company’s promotional campaigns?

  • Only small businesses that have joined the program and are current with their monthly membership are licensed to use the approved Erase Poverty logos/badges in their promotional campaigns. Any use must be in accordance with the limitations outlined in the Terms and Conditions. If you have any questions, simply contact us! We’re happy to help you make the most of your membership.


How should I determine my special offer campaigns?

  • This is flexible, based on your business. Some businesses prefer to designate a percentage of a specific product or service. Others choose to allocate a percentage of total company sales. Visit the membership directory (http://erasepoverty.org/members-directory) to get ideas on campaigns to run.
  • Remember that if you run a campaign, you are required to track the funds raised as a result of the campaign, and donate the funds raised through your “Impact” tab in the myaccount section every 90 days throughout the campaign.


Who can I contact if I need help planning my campaign?


Do I have to commit to a certain giving level in order to use the marketing materials?

  • The giving level requirement has been built into the monthly/annual membership fee. As long as you are current with your membership fees, you are welcome to use the marketing materials. If you would like to increase the impact your company is making, you can run special offers and contribute the additional proceeds to help fund more microloans.