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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Alternative Gift Markets, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, International, International Development, Philanthropy, Women, Womens Rights

Mission: The global mission of Alternative Gifts International is to send authentic, life-giving gifts to a needy world, gifts that build a partnership with oppressed people in crisis and that protect and preserve the earth's endangered environment, to nourish and sustain a more equitable and peaceful global community.AGI is a non-profit, interfaith agency. It raises funds each year for global gifts in its Alternative Gift Markets held nationwide and from individual donors. Designated grants then are sent to the established international projects of several reputable non-profit agencies for relief and development.

Programs: The organization collects donations from the general public through alternative gift markets and provides support to other charitable organizations which provide specific services for world relief and development. The donors designate the recipient organizations.

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Shane18

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

What a fantastic organization! Committed to bettering the world for all people.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Alternative Gifts International is an exceptional non-profit dedicated to bringing to our communities the face, passion and lives of those who struggle to live, grow and raise families far from the media. Their outreach is incredible. The good they provide...to connect compassionate folks here in the US with a means to help children and their families world wide. Wonderful.

1

Advisor

Rating: 4

We used the Alternative Gift Market as a Service Learning project in a Freshman Year Experience course at a community college in Maryland. Students completed in-depth research on four main issues that the students selected based on their curriculum and learning objectives. Students proceeded to act as 'sales people' during the event, each group had their own issue they were an 'expert' on and students became very passionate about their subject. All student feedback was wonderful and the college community showed a great deal of support. We completed our Market during Professionals Appreciation Week, which was also right around Mother's Day and Teacher's Appreciation Day. These holidays improved our sales significantly and with student 'experts' on the subjects and countries it was a great learning experience for anyone who attended. The check-out process was a little cumbersome and we lost a few sales due to people unwilling to wait through such a long process, but we still ended up selling more than anticipated at the event.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When we formed Cache Valley Unitarian Universalists in Logan, UT, our church of 55 members participated in an interfaith effort for AGI every holiday season at the local Presbyterian church. As UUs, my husband and I made donations and received cards for many of our family members, in order to change Christmas to giving to ourselves to giving to those in greater need than we. Following retirement to Tucson and membership in Mountain Vista UU (UUCNWT), we have volunteered to run an Alternative Gift Market for both AGI and also for a local charity of choice. We are changing the meaning of the holidays for our 150 members and friends, and for their families and friends, through the mission and vision of AGI. Glory be! So much good work to do!!

laprofesora

Client Served

Rating: 5

Alternative Gifts International, based in Wichita, promotes and supports the gift markets that support over 30 non-profit organizations which share the yearly catalog. In this age of materialism, the work that AGI does to encourage "alternative gift-giving" is laudable. As the board chair of a non-profit that has had the honor of being in the AGI catalog for 4 years, I am aware and appreciative of the commitment that the AGI staff shows. Working with such caring individuals is a pleasure. Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation has benefited greatly from our association with AGI.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the Board Chair of Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation. We provide access to education to girls and women in a cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico Three years ago we applied to Alternative Gifts International to be in their catalog and were accepted. We were amazed that AGI would accept a small, grassroots organization because some of the names in the catalog are very well known and established. But AGI saw how much we had grown and developed since our inception. They saw that we had a dedicated working board, that the women with whom we partner assess their own needs, and that service learning is an important component of the work we do. AGI works with its client organizations. I attended their conference in April 2010. As a result, we 1) shortly thereafter produced a video showcasing our work for a minimal investment. (see the video at www.MujeresDeMaizOF.org); 2) followed AGI's suggestion and posted a page on Facebook and Facebook Causes; and 3) were able to network with The Nature Conservancy and their representative in Chiapas gave a workshop to the women in the cooperative about climate change. The staff at AGI is supportive and personable. Our experience with AGI has been nothing but positive.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Working with AGI is both a joy and an example of a strategic, collaborative partnership in the shared goal of helping to make a difference in the world. We (PEER Servants) have been an agency featured in the AGI catalog for a number of years. Because of this partnership, we’ve been able to bring much needed funds to microfinance programs around the world, in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. We’ve been able to reach donors who otherwise wouldn’t have known of these valuable programs, and given them a chance to contribute and participate in supporting efforts of the poor around the world as they do their part to break the cycle of poverty.

In addition, the team at AGI is a pleasure to work with. They take great care in selecting agencies and projects to be included in the gift catalog, and are professional, knowledgeable, efficient and effective. All this, along with being passionate about the mission of providing opportunities for donors to participate in supporting important aid and development projects in a very personalized way.

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am writing to share what a wonderful experience our church and community has had working with AGI to host Alternative Gift Markets in South Dayton, Ohio, for four years. As an organizer, I have found AGI to be responsive, collaborative, and highly supportive of our planning process, as well as professional and always responsible in their handling of both monetary and other types of resources.

We are planning our 5th event this November and look forward to raising money to support charities selected and vetted by AGI.

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor each year starting in 1992. The service I have received from AGI has been consistently outstanding! Some of the things I like are:

• I feel empowered to give gifts to people who would not normally be on my gift list. Recipients do not expect me to do it again nor do they feel required to respond in kind. This is wonderful!!!!
• Gifts can be tailored to a person’s interests or attributes. Purposeful gifts that uniquely fit the recipient have extra value. Perhaps their ancestry is from a country where a project exists. A bike rider might like to help medical care workers receive a cargo bike. Maybe they are evangelical and would like to have Bibles distributed.
• A gift from an unexpected source is a great surprise. You can "make someone's day" at small expense! Recipients are pleased that you thought of them. They recognize it as a sincere, not obligatory, gift.
• It is really convenient. You can make many gifts with a single check and company-matching is easy. You write one check, so there is only one submission for a matching grant. Gifts that individually are below the employer's minimum size can qualify for a matching grant when combined.

Review from CharityNavigator

Amelia F W

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am sending kudos to Alternative Gifts Markets, Inc. for their caring and sharing with the poor/ sick and vulnerable of the world. Our organization, AHEAD, Inc have been beneficiaries of the gifts solicited from donors worldwide. AHEAD works with under-served communities in developing countries to `reduce mortality and morbidity among women, infants and children living in remote rural areas, and to improve the quality of life for orphans and other vulnerable children, women and youth by implementing sustainable programs that lead to self-sufficiency and self-reliance.

Alternative Gifts Markets has given a voice to these voiceless individuals and families as well as giving visibility to small organizations, like AHEAD, who work in the boondocks making a difference for the people we serve, which oftentimes translates in saving the lives of mothers and children.

THANKS to AGI and all the donors whose generous contributions area a gift of life for many. We salute you and want you to know our beneficiaries are most appreciative of your gifts.

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Alternative Gifts International makes it easy to support organizations and agencies as they do good things both around the world and in our own backyard. I've been involved with Alternative Gift Markets in Wichita, Kansas, both professionally and personally for several years.

Professionally:
The Alternative Gift Market held at Grace Presbyterian Church (Wichita) selected the Great Plains Nature Center as one of their local projects to support for 3 years. We (at the Nature Center) then began hosting our own Gift Market during the month of April to celebrate Earth Day and honor Mother Nature.

Personally:
The church I attend continues to support local Gift Markets. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, our group of former Peace Corps Volunteers assists with area Gift Markets during the year.


Every year it's encouraging to see the worthwhile projects selected by Alternative Gifts International, knowing people - and the environment - are being supported and nurtured through partnerships with so many great organizations and agencies.

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with AGI through 2 different church mission committees over the past 10 years and have always had a wonderful experience. I was quick to suggest them when moving to my current community as they are always so professional, easy to work with, and provide a large range of opportunities for coordination. We run a small church based event and the materials that they provide make it an amazingly easy event to coordinate. Materials also allow for easy tie-in to Sunday School Classes, other mission efforts, and make the coordinator's job amazingly easy. I would recommend them in a heartbeat.

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Alternative Gifts has been a GODSEND to those of us who work for sending God's Gifts - hope, fairness and change into the World. Our church has been associated with AGI for over 25 years.

AGI's simple gifts carry an ongoing and upward message to our church members for their mission. We are getting 'friends' now too - non-members. The WORD goes forth in deed!

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have been working with AGI for many years and it has always been a great experience. There has always been someone to answer questions and give that personal touch that make AGI special. Also, we appreciate how responsive AGI has been to changes we have suggested and to trying new things.
Portia Christensen
University Presbyterian Church
Chapel Hill, NC

Review from CharityNavigator

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I find AGI to be an excellent source for qualified non profits trying to make a positive change in the world. This is particularly helpful to smaller non profits which by design have little to no overhead and thus find it harder to get their message out.

What impresses me most is AGI works with non profits where the overwhelming majority of the funds go directly to the cause. I see AGI as a great resource to help find these great charities making fine impacts in the world around us.

Review from CharityNavigator

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our organization recently celebrated 20 years hosting an Alternative Gift Market through AGI! I began organizing this annual Christmastime event 8 years ago and find that AGI consistently provides our "Market" with worthwhile projects that educate area shoppers about the hard realities of life in developing countries. Best of all, AGI inspires our shoppers to donate to the success of these various projects. AGI's ideas and materials are helpful and easy to apply. It is heartening to watch our market shoppers as they visit the AGI project volunteer representatives, then sit down to figure out which ones they want most to help. AGI has succeeded in providing tangible ways for people in Grand Junction, Colorado to become engaged in helping others around the world.
In addition to sponsoring an AGI Market annually, our organization has received funding from AGI's Food Pantry/Shelter Program. These funds have been instrumental in serving our homeless community with the Emergency Shelter Program, which we initiated 3 years ago.
Finally, AGI staff provides personal instruction and advice when I have asked for help. They are accessible, friendly, knowledgeable and compassionate.

Review from CharityNavigator

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been priviledged to work in the Wichita community with Alternative Gifts International for over 10 years. Their efforts in raising awareness of poverty is commendable along with their tireless efforts in raising necessary funds to be utilized in service and support to the homeless, the hungry and all those in need through community and church-based events throughout the year. The Alternative Gift Markets are most effective in telling the stories of struggle of men, women and children here in the United States and abroad. But along with their stories they feature the hope for a better life and future for themselves, their families and their communities & villages. AGI advocacy and featured needs enables donors to designate their giving in specific areas and therefore have a personal connection to the support they are giving each project.

Review from CharityNavigator

Client Served

Rating: 5

Angel Covers has worked with AGI for more than 5 years. We've been fortunate to be accepted into their catalog on many different occasions and have always had a professional, positive experience. AGI has always had strong guidelines for accountability with the organizations they work with as well as for their own organization. Deadlines are met, communication is valued, and staff is friendly and helpful.

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 5

I've coordinated the AGI Christmas Gift Market at my church in San Francisco for about 3 years. I love the range of donation opportunities offered by AGI, and our shoppers have been very pleased. It's wonderful to hear their reasons for making the selections they do for family and friends. We're all able to find organizations and causes to fit the interests of our donees. The gift cards are always very nice. Keep up the great work!

Review from CharityNavigator

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have been a member of a church in Southern California for the past 20+ years and have been a co-chair for their Alternative Christmas Market for 17 years. We have been associated with AGI for over 20 years. Their organization has served millions of people around the world and have provided the world with an EXCELLENT "alternative" to the typical materialistic Christmas purchases. I would HIGHLY recommend anyone to get involved with AGI and bring Christ back into Christmas!!!

Review from CharityNavigator

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We have partnered with AGI for 12 years to bring alternative gift options to holiday shoppers in the Washington, DC area. AGI gifts, which address the world's most pressing social problems, are the gift that give twice. As a donor, you can feel good making a donation to worthy causes. When you give an AGI gift, your family member or friend will have their heart warmed by the gift given in their honor. AGI staff provide an extremely valuable service by identifying a range of programs around the world that match the interests and passions of just about anyone on your holiday shopping list.

Review from CharityNavigator