I have been donating to this organization since 1994, ever since I personally visited their projects in East Africa. Owning a livestock animal in Africa immediately lifts an entire family out of poverty and into the middle class. I am impressed by how the projects are run, by local community members who determine their own criteria for chosing which family is most deserving of an animal first. That family then must give back to the project the first offspring of that animal, such that the project is self-sustaining and eventually benefits everyone in the community. Not only is there a rise in income (through selling milk, eggs, etc.), the family has improved nutrition, better access to primary education (which costs money), support and education about farm management from others in the project, and pride in having the resources to support themselves.
I have given to Heifer International for a couple of yrs. I would hope that most of my donation goes towards what the charity was intended for - livestock for families to make an income on and then pay forward with a contribution towards someone else in their village. I realize my expectations are high and they do have expenses. I will continue to contribute but would like their non-profit to work on lowering their expenses so that more families are affected by these donations. Please only send a small card and envelope 2x/yr for donations. The complaint of so much solicitation from Heifer International is well warranted and expensive - there goes my donation. If expenses do remain high, then perhaps a change of management is needed. Take a look at other charities that have low expenses - it can be done. Let's get back to the idea and passion of it's originators - thank you!
I thought that I had found a good way to donate. so the first year a bought a goat. Since then I have been inundated with solicitations even though I already am a member. Apparently they have a high paid CEO who thinks this a good way to run this charity. I started this year with a thought of donating a pig, but with each unnecessary solicitation, I am not down to perhaps a flock of chickens, or maybe nothing. Maybe they have too much money and don't care if they waste it. I was also annoyed that donations are switched by them to whatever they want.
I am both a technical professional as well a a farmer managing nearly 50 head of cattle. I have been a supporter of HI's initiatives for several years and fully support their "teach a man to fish" approach by helping to provide solutions to hunger as well as providing resources to help create sustainable agricultural opportunities that help lead to financial improvement. They are committed to providing agricultural resources that can create sustainable and long term solutions. Some may value a crop over an animal, which is fine, but I find the demonizing of leveraging animals for production (meat, wool, eggs, etc) short sighted and ill informed. HI's goal is admirable and is deserving of support.
Review from Guidestar
I don't have much more experience that some of the people with their negative comments on here. Perhaps they receive donations from companies for some of these ideas, like return address labels. But if they didn't send out their brochures, I imagine they would not last long. I know I wouldn't necessarily remember to donate. Furthermore, they aren't giving all these animals to people to eat. No, I'm not donating any rabbits, but I would imagine the goats are for milk and the bees are for many things. Noone's eating the bees. So if you don't want to contribute for these reasons, well, I'm sorry to hear that. I'm going to! People in these countries need a jump start and are willing to work to improve themselves. Sounds like a great mission to support.
I think their idea is great but it seems to me that all the donation money I have given has just been used for glossy mailers. Why send me a glossy, expensive mailer when I already am a contributor? If they would show more wisdom in how they manage their donations I would be much more ready to give in the future.
Review from Guidestar
I have a monthly donation to Heifer But with l the mailing I receive biweekly, I will not be renewing my donations. I believe they are spending far more money on mailing than on the purposes of the donations such as buying animals etc. a dissapointing venture on my part.
Review from Guidestar
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.
It's, by the way: email@example.com; 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.
Review from Guidestar
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.
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.
Review from Guidestar