Should I send a cow this Christmas? --The Guardian
This might sound like yesterday's post about adopt-an-animal programs, but here we're talking about organizations that send farm animals to African families, and provide other types of support to those in need around the world. Instead of giving friends or family members some more stuff, you give them the gift cards showing what donations have been made in their names.
Most organizations running this type of program don't really send the specific item you've selected. For example, at Heifer International, you might select a heifer (suprise!), a goat, a water buffalo, etc. But the small-print disclaimer says:
Gifts made through this catalog represent a gift to the entire mission. To help the most number of families move toward self-reliance, Heifer does not use its limited resources to track gift animals from donation to distribution. We use your gifts where they can do the most good by pooling them with the gifts of others to help transform entire communities.Now, that may be just fine with you. Groups like Heifer International fund a lot of good work - and certainly, tracking the individual gifts does take time and money.
But if you really do want to know you're getting just what you signed up for, take a look at the Good Gifts Catalog. Here's what this group says:
Here at Good Gifts, we do precisely what it says on the tin: your money buys the gift described. It doesn’t get spent on anything other than the specified Good Gift. And because we know the importance of knowing where your money goes, we guarantee it. And the delivering charities guarantee it too.So go ahead and buy the gift of an African farmyard, as pictured above: one cow, two goats, five chickens. Or buy any one of the other items from the wonderfully-illustrated catalog: solar lamps, clean water for a Bangladeshi family, etc.
[Thanks to Coastsider for pointing me to the Guardian's green Christmas site.]
Christmas and Other Holidays: Donations as Gifts