Heifer Project International, Inc.

Rating: 3.3 stars   33 reviews

Issues: Animals, Food, International

Location: 1 World Avenue Little Rock AR 72202 USA

Mission: Heifer International''s mission is to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth using gifts of livestock, seeds, trees and training in sustainable agriculture community development projects to help millions of people become self-reliant. Since 1944, Heifer has helped transform the lives of more than 13 million families (70 million people) by giving them gifts of cows, goats and other livestock. Along with the animals, families receive training in animal care and conservation for environmentally sound agricultural development. There is also training in community development, gender equity, sharing and caring, strategic planning and other subjects as needed, including literacy. The process takes several years and is not declared successful until the community shows sustained improvement in nutrition, income and self-reliance. Each family that receives an animal agrees to Pass on the Gift by sharing the first-born female offspring of their animal with another family in need, so each gift of livestock starts a chain of self-reliance that spreads throughout  entire communities.
Programs:  The Farmer Organizations Growing Hope project will support 550 families

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Community Reviews

Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I gave a general donation of about 50 dollars at the start of this year. I have since received disgusting amounts of mail from them. I know charities need to ask, but Heifer International brings it to a level that is beyond ridiculous. I receive something from them at least every two weeks, often once a week. It's not just a piece of paper with a return envelope, it's almost always some grandiose bells and whistles envelope with muti-textured cards and glossy fold outs of things like "FOR ONLY 30 DOLLARS YOU CAN GIVE THEM A HIVE OF BEES, FOR 50 DOLLARS YOU CAN GIVE THEM A GAGGLE OF GEESE". I half expect confetti and music on some of the larger envelopes that will appear on random days nowhere near holidays. I'm quite convinced that I'm right on track to making that 50 dollars back via mailed solicitations. I'm not exaggerating, if every envelope and "catalog" I've gotten cost .25 cents, I've been mailed at least 10 dollars. So I suppose my donation has served to solicit 4-5 people, myself included.

I thought the solicitation would die down in a month or two after I gave, it didn't. I even sought out how to remove myself from the actual mailing list, but couldn't find it on their site. So I tried to ignore it, figuring they would cut ties. They are a large charity, surly they have a system of removing non-giving ex-patrons after a few months. Nope, apparently not. The train never slows down and it ever stops. Their mailings kept coming with reckless abandon. I finally had enough and seriously looked into how to remove myself from their mailing. I had to get the information from a totally unrelated website dedicated to helping people get off mailing lists. I googled the email address for this, and it actually is on Heifer's website. It's under their "Privacy Policy" and under the obfuscate question of "How do you contact us regarding your information?" It's nestled in between how you can remain anonymous (which, if you are hell bent on donating to them I IMPLORE you to do, you'll thank me.) and reviewing "your personal information".

It's, by the way: remove@heifer.org; send them your full name, address, phone number (if you gave it, might be a trick to get your number, who knows), and email address you used.

Good luck, because I sent the request a month ago. While it's slowed down, I've received two mails since (three really, but I requested and received the one of the three about two days later. Please also note that three mailings a month is something I consider "slowed down" from them). One was their extravagant multi-paged color glossy Holiday catalog with bees, geese, ewes, chicken, yak, and every other thing bursting at the seams. The other is something simple yet probably a bit more sinister. Every other envelope you can clearly tell is from heifer a mile off, this recent one-the one that got me on here to finally voice my problems with them- is subtle. Only my name and address on the front, with the nonprofit stamp (which tipped me off instantly). On the back, on the top flap is, "Pierre U. Ferrari" in big bold and in smaller normal writing the Heifer International address. Inside is a letter headed only "Pierre U. Ferrari" letter, a "Beat the Tax Deadline" letter, and the only paper to carry the previously omnipresent logo which is the actual contribution paper.

So not only have they seemingly ignored my request and kept sending me stuff, but instead of sending me the over the top overflowing envelopes they are now sending me (and somehow this is more insulting) stealthy, mostly incognito solicitations under the auspices of the CEO.

If you need to give to them (expect your donation to go DIRECTLY into marketing and solicitation), do it anonymously. If you love receiving mail or are very, very lonely (or have an enemy whose mailbox warrants ubiquitous bees, water buffalo, chickens, and water fowl) then giving to them will solve your problems.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not solicit my donors into oblivion.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

Heifer International's goal is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. When I first heard about Heifer International, I read the information, saw the YouTube videos, and participated in a Heifer project at my church. I knew they sponsored projects in the US and abroad. They gave animals to families to improve nutrition and health (such as heifers that provide milk). Part of their program included training for families in animal husbandry before they received the animals. Each family that received animals was expected to "Pass the Gift," or give the first born animal to the next family in need, after training that family in animal husbandry. This all sounds very good and sounds like an organization I could and would willingly support. But I am one of those people who want to know for sure this is what the organization does. So I travelled for 21 day with Heifer International in the Philippines. I met and talked with people in communities with whom Heifer works. I listened to their stories, and I watch the respect they showed to the Heifer workers. I watched the care they gave to their animals and how they taught others to care for the animals, so they would be ready when their animals came to them. And I am here to say that "HEIFER INTERNATIONAL DOES WHAT IT PROFESSES TO DO!" I listened to parents talk about the malnourishment their children suffered before Heifer came into their lives. Parents shared with me how they were able to send their children back to school, because they sold the extra eggs, milk, etc. their family did not use. I guess one farmer truly put it in perspective for me. He said, "If I die, my children will weep. If my water buffalo dies, my children will starve." For me that was the turning point in my relationship with Heifer International. I am now a regular donor and have added Heifer International as a beneficiary in my will. I volunteer for them whenever they need me, working with schools, civic organization, and churches to introduce them to Heifer and / or assist them with their Heifer projects. In my book, HEIFER INTERNATIONAL IS THE REAL THING!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I think the plan they follow works well and I can't think of anything that I would change.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

14 people found this review helpful

I would like to respond to the review written in October 2011 from the person who thinks Heifer recipients treat animals as a commodity. They don't sell the animals because they can't feed them. Before they receive an animal from Heifer, they receive training from Heifer about caring for their animals, using the bi-products of the animals (milk, manure, muscle, etc) to bring their families out of hunger and poverty and to educate their children. They have a CAHV worker (Community Animal Health Volunteer) in each community or a nearby community that is trained by help families when their animals become sick, need vaccinations, give birth, etc. They teach families that all members within the family have value and are equal. They sponsor projects for women, who, in many countries, are considered less valuable than men and are not allowed to own land or animals. As far as being a religious based group that inflicts their religious values on the projects' participants, that is not true. They would with community members who are Catholic, Presbyterian, etc., and at no time did I witness Heifer trying to convert the Filipino natives toward any specific religion. That is not the mission of Heifer. Their mission is work with communities to end hunger and poverty and doing it in a manner that cares for the earth. So, before making statements about an organization, especially one that does so much to help millions of people in the US and abroad, you might want to check your information. Having seen Heifer doing their work up close and personal in the Philippines, I know those statements to be untrue. And by the way, their pride in their animals is very apparent. The animals are cleaner than any animals I have seen on farms in NC. I have watched them wash and care for their animals with great compassion. The animals that end up in US supermarkets should be so lucky!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

I became familiar with Heifer International in 2000 when I made a donation to the organization. In 2004 I travelled with several volunteers and staff members to the Philippines to see if Heifer did what it said it did with the funds it received. I visited Heifer projects on the island of Mindanao, Cebu, Bohol, and Luzon. I stayed in project participants' homes and talked to them one on one. I can say, with all confidence, that Heifer International does exactly what it says is its goal: "To end hunger and poverty while taking care of the earth." The project participants were some of the poorest people I have ever met, but they were the first to offer us the best they had to give. One man said some thing to me as he tried to express to me the importance of Heifer in his life and the lives of his family, "If I die, my children will weep. If our water buffalo dies, my children will starve." I will never forget those words and the profound meaning they had for me. I finally understood what Heifer meant to these people and what a change Heifer had made in their lives. I became a volunteer for Heifer in 2004 and have continued my work as a volunteer, speaking at schools and organizations about Heifer international.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I became involved with Heifer Projects International in 2005 when I travelled for 21 days with Heifer in the Philippines. Being my first trip out of the US, I had no idea what to expect. What occurred for me was a life changing experience. I had the opportunity to see Heifer projects in action. I talked to the people participating in the projects and listened to them explain how Heifer had helped them to change their lives and the lives of others in their community. They explained how Heifer had provided them "a hand up, not a hand out" and had equipped them to help other members of their community by "Passing on the Gift" of animals, knowledge, and know-how. One man really put in perspective for me what Heifer meant to his family, "If I die, my children will weep. If my water buffalo dies, my children will starve."

Since that trip I have also been a volunteer for Heifer, going into schools, churches, community events, etc., and speaking about Heifer. Heifer does what it says it does, "Heifer works with communities to end hunger and poverty and protect the Earth." I know this to be true. I have seen it for myself.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Since my trip to the Philippines, I have also been a volunteer for Heifer, going into schools, churches, community events, etc., and speaking about Heifer. Heifer does what it says it does, "Heifer works with communities to end hunger and poverty and protect the Earth." I know this to be true. I have seen it for myself.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I can't think of any changes I would make in this organization.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?

My trip to the Philippines with Heifer Projects International.

What would you tell others about this organization?

Your donations are used as Heifer says it uses them. You can rest assured that your money is having an impact in the US and around the world. The people who work for Heifer within the countries are native to the area and understand the problems faced by the communities and villages.They can identify with the people and the problems and are welcomed into the communities. They take a personal interest in the people and work tirelessly to help them end hunger and poverty, and do so without damaging their pride and self-esteem.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been donating to Heifer for several years now. I generally only donate to local charities, but when I first heard of Heifer, I researched them and found that I really agreed with their approach - help each community to become self-sufficient. It is a practical approach that I believe in.

My main complaints/concerns are similar to ones already mentioned. When I make a donation, don't acknowledge it with another appeal for money. Also, reduce the number of appeals. Thankfully, I have not been contacted by phone. That would be a huge issue for me.

I fully plan to continue my modest donations. They help out the poorest people live a better life.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Reduce number of appeals sent out.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I made a small donation to this organization at Christmastime. Since then, I have received emails, phone calls and heavy, glossy mailers sent first class postage asking for more, more, more. Now, it does not bother me that a charitable organization would be trying to solicit donations, but I feel at this point (only a month after making my donation) that my money has been swallowed up campaigning for me to give more, rather than going to the poor who I intended my donation to help. I will never donate to them again.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 3 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I gave to this charity because I respect what they are doing globally. They not only donate an animal to a family in need and train them how to take care if it, they also require that the family donate the first female offspring to another family in need. And then that family must do the same. It's what they call "passing on the gift."

Like a lot of other people have said, my donation left a bad taste in my mouth when the card they sent to say "thank you" also included requests for more money. Saying thank you with your hand out for more is not being thankful at all.

I will say, though, that Heifer is not the only charity that does this. I have donated to Christian Children's Fund, Samaritan's Purse, the American Red Cross, and the ASPCA, and they all do that. It's a real turn-off.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Stop with the constant requests for more money and just show gratitude to those who give.

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Likely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have donated to Heifer for several years now. And every year, I'm impressed at the good work they've done, and the improvements they've made in their organization.

I would also like to mention that they've been around for sixty years, and have received hugely prestigious awards for the work they do.

I see a lot of one-star reviews here that contain things that are flat-out wrong about the organization (They don't push Christian ideology, for example.) Others involve well-intentioned people who are simply misinformed as to the facts. (Animals are a vital part of a farm's sustainable ecosystem, for example.)

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Let the donor chose their level of future engagement. I love Heifer and the work they do, and I know they have to solicit from donors to bring in money and make the world a better place.... but right now, new donors sometimes feel harassed or bombarded by the amount of attention they get from the charity.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

A couple of years ago, I donated to Heifer as a part of a donor matching program. Donate $10, it was matched.

The problem is, they have since spent every dime of the money I donated trying to solicit more. Now, I don't mind the nice Christmas labels and address labels they send each year, but the glossy brochures and mailings I regularly receive far outweigh the very small donation I was able to afford. Further research on this charity has unearthed an unsettling amount of negative feedback. I don't regret my donation, but I won't be bothering again.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Spend more on programs, instead of soliciting so heavily from small one-time donors.

Was your donation impactful?

No

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 1 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

I made a small donation to Heifer International last December, writing "one-time donation" on my check. Since then, I have been bombarded with phone calls and mail solicitations for more money. The amount they are spending on the calls and printed materials has long surpassed the amount of money I sent them. I would never give to this organization again, and I have spent time e-mailing and telephoning in order to be removed from their call/mailing lists. Even an assurance that I would be removed from the lists from their customer relations manager has been a farce, since I received yet another solicitation three days ago. Enough is enough! I have reported this company to the BBB with the hopes of getting some action.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...stop spending money on call centers and printed materials in order to send them to people who explicitly have asked not to get them. ...use the money I've been given more wisely and for the purpose for which it was intended.

Was your donation impactful?

No

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I am 81 years old, and Thank God, manage to bear my infirmities and serious physical limitation. My wife and I live on a very modest monthly income which often does not see us all trough the month. We are THANKFUL for what we have and we have long ago decided that that there is NOTHING which approaches the reward of GIVING FROM ONES NEED and not from ones EXCESS. So the 1st $279 we receive each month must go to WORKS such as HEIFER PROJECTS. Our only regret is that we don't have more so we could GIVE MORE. We are BLESSED and we simply CANNOT AFFORD NOT TO GIVE TO SUCH FOR DOING KINDNESSES WHICH WE, PERSONALLY, ARE SIMPLE UNABLE TO DO! THANK THANK YOU, HEIFER, FOR BEING THERE FOR US!
Corpsman---Semper Fi......... Jim

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 2 stars  

21 people found this review helpful

I have donated to Heifer many times in the past.

This year they called & my husband made a pledge over the phone. When the invoice arrived, I paid it within the week. Not surprisingly my check to them cleared the bank within the next two weeks.

Since that time, I have received 3 more invoices reminding me of our pledge & asking me to send in the amount we pledged. I suspect that I'm going to be receiving these letters for the rest of the year if not longer- each one beginning with the line"occasionally a delay may occur in posting new gifts to our system, so please accept my sincerest apology if you have already sent in your gift & our letters crossed in the mail." Right- likely they are just hoping that we've forgotten we sent it in, or that someone else gets the mail & sends in another. It's been months now & I'm officially fed up.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator