Monday, April 25, 2011

Giving FAQ's

I have tried to make the giving process as easy as possible for all of you but if you still are unsure exactly how to give, I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to try to help you out.

1. What are the different ways to support Eric financially?

  • One time gift
  • Monthly Gift
2. I want to give a one-time gift, What do I do?

  • Credit Card: Just call the SI office (559-627-8923). Be sure to say it's for "Eric Miller".
  • Check: You can mail a check to the SI office (Students International, P.O. Box 2733, Visalia, CA 93279-2733). Please make it out to Students International.  Please make sure to note that the money is designated for "Eric Miller".  Otherwise, your donation will simply be covering SI's general expenses.
3. I want to give monthly, what do I do?
Step 1: Fill out the Response Card. You should have a response card I gave you that I'd like you to fill out and mail to the SI office. This tells me how much you are able to give and how I can reach you in the future. If you do not have a response card please email me at and I can send you one.
Step 2: Decide how you'd like to give. You can give by sending a check to the SI office (see address above) each month, or you can fill out a form to have the money taken out of your account automatically.  Automatic withdrawal is generally the easiest and simplest way to give. You should have been sent a copy of this form but if you do not have it, e-mail me and I will send it to you. Please fill this out and return it with your response card to the SI office.  If you are not able to begin giving immediately, please note which month you would like to begin giving on the response card.
Step 3: Begin sending your gift/Return completed Auto Bank Draft Form.

4. What is the easiest way for you to receive a monthly gift?

  • Giving each month through the Auto Draft program. Sometimes people sending checks will simply forget to send their support. Using Auto Bank Draft makes it easier for you and for me.
5. What month can I start giving?

  • I would strongly encourage you to begin giving as soon as you're ready. I put all the monthly support I receive before I go to the DR towards my Pre-Field budget.  However, I am asking that you begin giving by at least January of 2012 when I will officially enter the field.
6. How long am I expected to commit?

  • I am asking that you would commit to supporting me through December of 2013.  That is a two year commitment from the time I will begin serving in the DR.  
7. Why am I not giving to Eric directly?

  • Students International is a non-profit organization and all gifts are tax-deductible. Any financial gifts for them or any of their staff members must be given to the organization and not a specific member. However, 100% of all your gifts will support my ministry directly.
8. Can I give quarterly or annually?

  • Yes! For simplicities sake I did not list this option on my response card, but if this is the easiest way for you to support me that is not a problem. If you have a response card simply write somewhere on the card you're committing to send a check totaling $x every quarter or year?
9. I still have a question?
  • Call or email me. All of my contact info is listed on the right side of this blog.

What is Microfinance?

As I have started telling people about my upcoming adventures to work in microfinance in the Dominican Republic, I've noticed that my exciting news is repeatedly met with a blank stare that is usually slowly followed with "What exactly is microfinance?"

Microfinance is a relatively new method of fighting poverty.  Briefly and broadly defined, it is the provision of banking services for low-income individuals who normally would not have access to these types of resources.  Stated even more simply, it is a bank for poor people.  While most Americans have access to traditional banking services, in most third world countries, traditional banks only offer their services to low risk clients who can back up their loan with some type of physical collateral. (aka "the wealthy") Thus, people living in poverty either do not have an opportunity to obtain a loan or the interest rate on the loan is extremely high.  Microfinance banks, however, have challenged the "traditional bank" thinking and have discovered ways to provide small loans and financial services to impoverished people.  Clients, which are generally women, use this money to start or improve small businesses.  In addition, organizations teach basic principles such as basic accounting principles, budgeting, and the power of supply and demand.  The hope is that these services can empower the clients to create a better  life for themselves.  Instead of simply giving them a handout, clients are given a hand up.  It is an incredible way to help the poor while allowing them to keep the self dignity and respect they deserve.  For a more in depth look at Microfinance, try checking out