Loan sizes vary significantly by country. HOPE typically provides loans ranging from $100 to $2,000, a catalyst that can help clients develop a small business that can provide their families with food, schooling, and housing. Some HOPE programs also provide larger small-and-medium-enterprise (SME) loans to clients with a strong repayment history who are ready to scale their businesses. These loans range from $5,000 to $40,000 and help men and women create jobs and provide quality goods and services to their communities.
HOPE’s commitment to discipleship begins with our staff. Believing we cannot give what we do not have, HOPE is committed to hiring women and men with a demonstrated personal relationship with Christ. Opportunities for continued discipleship—such as regular times of prayer, devotions, and spiritual retreats—help our staff grow as disciples. Because most HOPE-network staff members are local to the areas they serve, they are aware of appropriate, culturally effective ways to share the Gospel. Each program or partner develops intentional strategies for deepening relationships with clients and looking for opportunities to meet their needs. As they deepen relationships with clients, HOPE-network staff share the Gospel as the Holy Spirit allows. Programs also develop intentional strategies to encourage clients who are already believers to grow in faith and obedience and to equip them for greater impact in their communities. Throughout this process, HOPE is committed to working in partnership with the local church, believing that ongoing spiritual formation and discipleship is best done in relationship with the local body of Christ.
Because HOPE invests in the dreams of clients, their business ideas are based on their own creativity, passions, and local know-how. Typical business activities include running small restaurants or grocery stores; growing crops and raising animals; selling produce, clothing, small electronics, or baked goods; and providing services like sewing, haircuts, and car repair.
One of HOPE’s organizational values is to operate in places underserved by other organizations or institutions. This value comes with inherent complications, whether it be ongoing conflict, a high cost of living, currency devaluation, corruption, or underdeveloped infrastructure. Operations don’t always function as smoothly in these conditions, but we believe these are the places God has called us to serve.
Before we consider expanding, we first want to ensure that HOPE-network programs are centered on Christ and operating with quality. Within countries where we already serve, HOPE seeks to grow in a responsible manner that capitalizes on our knowledge of the working environment and the culture of a given area. When we do consider entering new countries, we prioritize areas underserved by Christ-centered financial services, and we look for like-minded church partners or local ministries, which are essential to HOPE’s model. Because of the number of inquiries we receive, we are unfortunately unable to respond to individual requests for partnership.
The process varies across programs and partners. In group lending programs, HOPE relies on social collateral, in which groups of people cross-guarantee each other’s loans. As a result, clients form groups with those they believe are capable and trustworthy. Loan officers provide training so clients are prepared to manage their loan, and they work with the group to review a variety of factors in the approval process. For those receiving individual loans, loan officers work with that individual to review business plans, amount requested, the current economic market, repayment history for repeat clients, etc. In savings groups, where members save their own money together, the group decides if and when to loan to one another from their pooled savings.
HOPE provides loans to people in poverty regardless of race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or marital status. There is no financial benefit or preferential treatment associated with conversion to faith in Christ.
Once HOPE-managed microfinance institutions (MFIs) become operationally self-sufficient, with local income covering local operating costs, they tithe 10 percent of proceeds to support local programs for children and youth. As much as possible, the MFI selects children’s programs carried out in collaboration with the local church. This commitment began with the Tomorrow Clubs, a ministry that now reaches over 17,000 children throughout Eastern Europe.
HOPE-network microfinance institutions have a loan repayment rate of 98 percent over the past five years.
HOPE serves people living in poverty regardless of their race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or marital status. There are no financial benefits or preferential treatment associated with conversion to faith in Christ.
Yes, HOPE-network clients pay interest at a rate that will eventually enable each microfinance institution (MFI) to become self-sufficient—ensuring that we’ll be able to serve clients for the long-term. Interest rates reflect their local context and are competitive and appropriate for HOPE-network areas of operation. When a HOPE program reaches self-sufficiency, it first contributes 10 percent of profits to local children’s ministries, then invests in reaching more clients or innovating with products to serve clients better, including lowering interest rates whenever possible.
Economic development is a broad term for providing financial services to people living in poverty. These services can include loans, financial management training, insurance, and a place to deposit savings. Though often overlooked by those with easy access to banks and other financial services, these services can make the difference between economic opportunity and poverty.
2.1 billion people around the world live on less than $3.20 a day (World Bank), often lacking access to adequate food, shelter, and employment opportunities. About 1.7 billion people remain unbanked (Global Findex), without a safe place to build an emergency savings fund or take out a small loan. For these men and women, life has little to no margin, leaving them without a safety net when faced with sudden illness, accident, or natural disaster.
Through discipleship, training, a safe place to save, and loans, individuals in poverty recognize and use the gifts God has placed in their hands—their time, talents, and dreams. They also build sums of money that serve as safety nets for emergencies or take out loans to invest in businesses. In the process, men and women are empowered to tackle poverty, run thriving businesses, grow in their relationships with God, and become providers in their families and communities.
Throughout much of the world, bank accounts are scarce—a privilege reserved for the rich. Though it may seem hard to imagine that those in poverty would have enough money to save, they value the ability to save so much that they will sometimes pay for the privilege. Saving money in a safe place protects it from being lost, from physical deterioration, or from being depleted as personal or community needs arise. Savings allow families in poverty to hedge against extraordinary events, such as weddings, funerals, or natural disasters. HOPE provides savings services that are safe and liquid to many clients who might otherwise lack access to traditional banks.
Studies have demonstrated that women are worthy of investment. When a microenterprise development organization empowers a woman to improve her income, she typically pours the resulting profits back into her family, providing better nutrition, housing, or education for her children. The percentage of female clients served by a microfinance institution is often considered a measure of the depth of poverty it reaches, since women more often lack the means to make a living or the collateral needed to access a loan. While a majority of HOPE-network clients are women, HOPE also provides financial services to men without bias.
The heart of traditional microfinance programs, group loans rely on social collateral, in which group members cross-guarantee one another’s loans. This allows those living in poverty who would otherwise be denied access to traditional banks to borrow small sums of money to invest in their businesses. Microfinance institutions typically offer group loans within a community bank, a group of approximately 15 to 45 people from a community who take out a loan together, or a solidarity group, a group of about five to 15 people. Solidarity groups can stand on their own, or clients can graduate into a solidarity group after several successful loan cycles with a larger group. Group loans typically reach those living in poverty in urban and peri-urban areas.
Savings groups are a holistic tool that combines savings and lending with discipleship and a supportive community. These groups have proven extremely valuable to individuals who lack safe places to save, often due to their remote location. Groups make their own policies, elect leaders, receive ongoing training, and meet on a regular basis; group members agree on an amount to save per month or per week. After a few months, members can apply for loans from the group’s pooled savings, a valuable service for many members, who would otherwise be unable to access small loans. HOPE partners with the local church to implement savings groups, seeking to equip the Church to carry out its calling to serve its community holistically.
Small-and-medium enterprises vary in size based on different definitions, but HOPE defines its SME initiatives as benefiting clients who receive loans in the range of $5,000-$40,000. SME loans support larger businesses to further accelerate their growth and allow them to expand employment opportunities in their communities. While these businesses have grown from the micro-level, they still face significant challenges in accessing the capital they need to continue growing their businesses. Experts estimate that SMEs around the world face a credit gap of up to $2 trillion as they grow out of the range of traditional microfinance but are still unable to access traditional bank loans (World Economic Forum).
Operational self-sufficiency is a ratio of local operating revenue to local operating expenses. Reaching 100 percent OSS signifies that a microfinance institution’s local operating revenue can cover local operating expenses, allowing external donations to fuel additional expansion.
Net portfolio outstanding is the sum of loan funds in the hands of HOPE clients that has not yet been repaid, less any loan loss reserve.
These are often larger loans made to individuals who typically have more established business activities and can provide their own guarantors or collateral without relying upon social collateral, but who are still unable to access traditional banks. Clients who receive these loans typically have an established history of repayment and have graduated to larger loan sizes, or they live in places where community banking is not feasible.
In the countries where the HOPE network operates, entrepreneurs can use these small amounts to purchase items such as a sewing machine, a cart to transport produce to market, nutritious feed for animals, or a market stall for selling goods. They can also purchase supplies in bulk or hire an employee to increase efficiency. Small efficiency gains can make a big difference for families living in poverty. And for entrepreneurs who cannot access dignifying loans otherwise, HOPE’s reliable products and services provide options and agency for families making financial decisions.
HOPE was founded in Lancaster in 1997 by Jeff Rutt, a local home builder. A vibrant city of approximately 60,000 people, Lancaster has something for everyone. Here are the top 10 reasons we love Lancaster:
We like to say that we take our work seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Our culture is something we’re really excited about. So excited that we have a whole section on this page dedicated to talking about it. Learn more about our culture through our PASSION statement, manifesto, and statement of faith.
There is no typical day at HOPE! Daily responsibilities will depend on your role, but there are some things that you can count on if you are a domestic staff member: staff prayer times on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; staff devotions on Tuesdays; and staff meetings every other Thursday. These are times that domestic staff get together and intentionally study the Word, pray, celebrate, and hold one another accountable. We look forward to these times of building relationships with each other and with the Lord.
If you ask different people this question, you’ll get different responses. Many people cite their passion for HOPE’s mission to alleviate both physical and spiritual poverty. Some love HOPE because they get to make an impact for the Lord while using their gifts and abilities. Others love the culture. Often, people say their favorite thing about HOPE is that they get to pray and worship with colleagues. Many love to see the pride on clients’ faces when they use their gifts and passions to provide for their families and communities. It varies, but everyone has a long list of things that bring them back to work each day!
HOPE’s interview process is extremely collaborative. We begin by screening resumes. The next step is an initial phone interview with human resources. Candidates who move beyond the initial phone screen will interview over the phone again, this time with the hiring manager. There is sometimes a third phone screen with an executive team member, and finalists are brought to Lancaster to interview in person with the search committee. Our goal is to complete each hiring process within 120 days.
This process may vary for international roles.
After you enter your resume and cover letter into our applicant tracking system, you will receive an email indicating that we have received your materials. You will be emailed again with any relevant information regarding your application. Due to the volume of applications received, we are unable to answer individual phone calls or email requests for status updates.
First, check out HOPE’s open positions. If there are any roles that could be a fit, please click on the open position and click on the “apply now” button. You will be directed to enter your resume and cover letter into our applicant tracking system. Due to the volume of applications received, we are unable to answer individual phone calls or email requests for status updates.
We cannot accept hard-copy materials. Thank you!
Individuals of all ages are welcome to attend an Experience HOPE Trip, although younger children might find trip conditions uncomfortable. Visits to the field will be spent standing and walking over rough terrain. It can also be very hot and humid.
You will not need to cover any expenses during your Experience HOPE Trip. However, if you would like to bring money for souvenirs or purchasing something small from clients, we suggest $25-$50. HOPE staff will help you exchange your money at the best rate.
We suggest that you bring bug repellent, sunscreen, a lightweight rain jacket, a camera, a Bible, and a journal. If possible, we also suggest packing only a carry-on for ease of travel.
Yes, you are welcome to extend your trip either on the front or back end for personal travel. The Experience HOPE Trips coordinator will work with you to arrange your flights.
For all Experience HOPE Trips, we suggest modest, business casual dress. When meeting with clients, shirts with sleeves, capris, or skirts and dresses reaching below the knee are best for women, while nicer slacks and polo or dress shirts are preferred for men. However, during downtime or on days not spent with clients or staff, you are welcome to wear jeans and shorts as well. Comfortable, closed-toe shoes are ideal for walking and standing during the trip.
All countries of travel require a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date you will return to the United States. To apply for or renew your passport, please visit travel.state.gov, or for urgent requests with additional fees, www.traveldocs.com.
Visas required to enter a country will vary depending on the trip destination. Please consult Travel Document Systems at www.traveldocs.com for more information. The Experience HOPE Trips coordinator will also communicate specific details to you once you have registered for your trip.
Required vaccinations vary depending on the Experience HOPE Trip destination. Please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) for more information about required and suggested vaccinations. The Experience HOPE Trips coordinator will also communicate specific details to you once you have registered for your trip.
HOPE will arrange all of your in-country logistics, including picking you up and dropping you off at the airport. We will communicate specific details for your trip during the pre-trip conference call scheduled the week prior to your trip.
Shortly after you register, you will receive information about what dates and times you should arrive and depart in the country you are visiting. With this information, you can book your own flights or work with a travel agent.
If you would like assistance booking your flights, HOPE recommends SafeHarbors Travel Solutions, a ministry travel agency that HOPE uses to book staff travel. If you would like to work with an agent, please call 410.779.0304 or email email@example.com.
Once your flights have been booked, please send your itinerary to HOPE in order to arrange your pickup and drop-off at the airport.
Please consult your tax attorney to determine if your flights are tax-deductible.
Your Experience HOPE Trip fee will cover the costs of all in-country accommodations, including transportation, lodging, meals, translation, and a program donation. Your fee does not cover the cost of your airfare or any required travel documents and vaccinations.
You will receive a tax receipt for all expenses paid to HOPE, and payments are non-refundable.
*HOPE reserves the right to cancel this trip. In the event that you or HOPE cancels a trip, payments can go toward the cost of a future trip within the next 24 months, but payments cannot be refunded.
You can pay for your trip in a few different ways.
You are welcome to pay for your trip expenses directly at www.hopetrips.org; over the phone by calling 717.464.3220; or by mailing cash or a check to HOPE International at 227 Granite Run Drive, Suite 250, Lancaster, PA 17601.
If you would like to raise funds to cover the cost of your trip, you can send individual checks or cash to the HOPE office (address above). Please include a note or memo identifying your name and which trip you plan to attend.
You will receive a tax receipt for all expenses paid to HOPE, and payments are non-refundable.
*HOPE reserves the right to cancel this trip. In the event that you or HOPE cancels a trip, payments can go toward the cost of a future trip within the next 24 months, but payments cannot be refunded.
Trips to the field are an opportunity for you to see firsthand the impact that Christ-centered economic development is having around the world.
Experience HOPE Trips are typically three days in length. Unlike traditional missions or work trips, Experience HOPE Trips are designed to be observational, allowing you to visit clients, see their businesses, and meet the staff who serves them. We hope that seeing this transformational work in action will compel you to partner with HOPE in a deeper way.
At HOPE, our efforts to love and serve families in poverty are rooted in our allegiance to our Lord and Savior and our desire to see His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Believing that true transformation can only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ, HOPE engages in culturally appropriate discipleship in each of the countries in which we work. HOPE is committed to hiring Christian staff and equipping them to be disciple makers in their communities, and we seek to partner with local churches in each of our areas of operation to provide clients with ongoing discipleship and support.
Staff members in the U.S. share in times of prayer and devotions four days a week. Often, individual departments take that a step further. For example, the marketing team protects the first 20 minutes of each day from other meetings, allowing staff the option to start their day with the Lord. The administration team meets weekly for Bible study and prayer. These are just a few examples of how we encourage one another to grow in our relationships with God.
We offer Experience HOPE Trips throughout the year to several countries of operation, and we’d love for you to join us! Learn more at www.hopetrips.org.
The HOPE network includes HOPE-managed programs and partners in Burundi, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Malawi, Moldova, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, the Republic of Congo, Romania, Rwanda, Ukraine, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. HOPE also serves in two countries in Asia whose names have been withheld for security.
Homes for Hope is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that invites members of the building industry to do what they do best—build a home—to help alleviate global poverty. H4H helps builders recruit their trade partners—subcontractors, suppliers, and consultants—to build a Home for Hope on a largely pro bono basis (donated labor, materials, and consulting services). Builders contribute their net revenue, typically between $40,000 and $300,000, to HOPE once the home is sold.
After researching opportunities in the Dominican Republic, HOPE decided to partner with an existing organization, Esperanza International, in May 2005. Though structurally distinct organizations, HOPE and Esperanza are like-minded in our commitment to holistic development with a special emphasis on church partnerships and spiritual growth. Many HOPE supporters experience Christ-centered economic development firsthand through an Experience HOPE Trip to visit Esperanza clients in the Dominican Republic.
In many countries, we partner with other organizations to effectively minister to physical and spiritual poverty in underserved areas. We believe that like-minded partnerships can maximize resources, avoid unnecessary duplication, and glorify God. All HOPE-network partners benefit from access to funding, strategic planning, technical assistance, leadership development, capacity building, lateral learning opportunities, spiritual integration guidance and accountability, and prayer support.
No. We are a non-denominational, Christ-centered nonprofit organization that works in collaboration with many different churches and church denominations.
You can donate online via credit card through HOPE’s secure donation page, or you can send a check made payable to HOPE International to 227 Granite Run Drive, Suite 250, Lancaster, PA 17601. You may also set up an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) directly from your bank account by calling our donor care team at 717-464-3220, ext. 329. In addition to one-time donations, you can also choose to donate monthly, committing to regularly partner with HOPE and the families we serve worldwide.
HOPE also accepts in-kind donations. Contact the finance department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
HOPE International makes sound stewardship a priority. We have received Charity Navigator’s top four-star rating 11 years in a row—something only 1 percent of U.S. nonprofits achieve—and are a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. To best steward HOPE’s resources, it is our board-approved policy to reserve the right to allocate 10 percent of all designated gifts toward administrative expenses.
We suggest consulting a tax accountant to accurately determine the extent to which your donation is deductible. HOPE International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and all gifts to HOPE are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
HOPE spends less than 20 percent of its funds on general and administrative expenses and fundraising. Read HOPE’s most recent annual report for a more detailed breakdown of how HOPE puts your donation to work. HOPE is a member of the prestigious Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and has received Charity Navigator’s top four-star rating 11 years in a row, placing HOPE in the top 1 percent of rated nonprofits in terms of resource management.
The main sources of HOPE’s funding are individuals, churches, private or family foundations, and the Homes for Hope program. HOPE does not solicit government funding. See our Form 990 for details.
Internships are semester-based positions for undergraduate and graduate students of all disciplines. Fellowships are 9-12 month positions for experienced graduate students or business professionals.
We ask interns and fellows to select their top two preferences. Due to the volume of applications, we are typically unable to consider applicants for more than two positions at a time.
In the past, some have chosen to raise support for their internships or fellowships. If you choose to do this, HOPE assists you in this process, offering you resources and support to help raise the support you need.
Yes, quite a few HOPE staff members first came to HOPE through an internship or fellowship. However, a job is not guaranteed as a result of your internship or fellowship.
There’s no typical day! Interns and fellows might travel frequently into the field or work primarily from an office setting. An average day will vary based on the role and where the intern or fellow is located.
Expatriate Internships and Fellowships: Interns and fellows will report to a branch manager or another staff member in the field.
Domestic Internships and Fellowships: Interns and fellows will report to a HOPE staff member.
HOPE looks first for candidates who exhibit an active and vibrant relationship with Christ and demonstrate commitment to serving families who have been marginalized. An ideal candidate has led others, whether on campus, in their church, or in the community. An ideal candidate also has excellent written and verbal communication skills as well as international experience, specifically in the developing world. Finally, an ideal candidate is a lifelong learner—someone who gets excited by continually learning new things and is actively pursuing knowledge.
The GROW Internship and Fellowship Program is a competitive one, and we anticipate a large applicant pool. Interns and fellows who have completed more semesters of college tend to contribute more professionalism, maturity, independence, and confidence in the workplace. Also, they have received more relevant coursework in their major, better preparing them for their specific work here.
HOPE facilitates travel arrangements abroad for expatriate interns and fellows, but the cost of travel falls to the intern or fellow.
Expatriate Interns and Fellows: We will coordinate the purchase of all international tickets because we can do so at a discounted rate through our relationship with our travel agency.
Expatriate Internships and Fellowships: Because we work with our local partners in the field for housing arrangements, housing varies. Interns and fellows are often placed with a host family or provided apartment-style housing near the location where they work. Interns and fellows sometimes live with a roommate, either another HOPE intern or fellow or an expatriate intern or fellow of one of our partners.
Domestic Internships and Fellowships: One option for housing is staying in homes hosted by staff members or supporters of HOPE. Accommodations for interns and fellows will vary according to several factors: time of year, funding, availability of host homes, and transportation needs.
Yes. At HOPE, we believe it’s important to evaluate a candidate as a whole. We want an individual with the heart of a missionary, the mind of a businessperson, and the soul of a development worker. We have had interns and fellows with majors in English, social work, economics, international studies, foreign languages, and many more. That being said, some positions do require more technical background in finance or other fields.
HOPE internships and fellowships are unpaid; however, we do cover the cost of housing for our interns and fellows (in most, but not all, cases). Many interns and fellows raise funds to help cover living costs.
To request a simulation, please fill out the simulation request form at www.hopeinternational.org/simulationrequest. HOPE will respond within one business week. Note: HOPE has a strong preference for midweek simulations.
The HOPE Poverty Simulation is a 2.5-hour experience.
Given the heavy nature of the injustices we explore in the simulation, children younger than 14 years of age are not permitted to attend.
The HOPE Poverty Simulation is a 2.5-hour, immersive learning experience designed to help participants glimpse the realities of a lifetime in extreme poverty. Over the course of the simulation, participants will be confronted with a series of challenges that mimic the complex, everyday obstacles that billions of men and women are forced to grapple with in our broken world. The simulation helps build empathy for families living in extreme poverty and prompts strategic thinking about effective responses.
Our hope is that this simulation wouldn’t be a one-time experience, but that we can work together to make the issues surrounding global poverty an ongoing conversation.