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Heifer Project International, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Agricultural Programs, Animal-Related, Animals, Food, International, International Agricultural Development, International Relief

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

Community Stories

51 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

You gotta love all the whiny people in these reviews. "I'm from a prestigious law firm....how dare they disrespect me for not sending a plaque" STFU Karen... Whaa Whaa, "I wanted to put pins on my map" Whaaaaa

3

Donor

Rating: 1

I'm very angry. We've donated thousands to Heifer over the years. It was my only charity and I was proud to support it. I've been trying to donate $1500 in the name of the law firm that assisted me. I have been calling into Heifer to request a wooden plaque in the law firm's name, knowing that this will encourage them to become sponsors/donors, as well as their high-end clients, who see it hanging on the wall of the lobby. The potential for donations would be immense. But every time we call in, we seem to be getting sent to one of those horrible call centers. They can't seem to understand what we are wanting, and we can't get anywhere with this process. My $1500 donation becomes $3000 matched, yet these people don't seem to recognize it as enough to get a plaque, (that should cost the company no more than $20, at most, if someone's done their job to reduce costs and find wholesale manufacturers). These people seem to think that my donation only deserves a printed drawing on paper. A prestigious law firm isn't going to hang up something that looks like it belongs in a Christian nursery. It needs to be impressive and professional if it's going to be hung in the lobby, and to generate more donors/sponsors. But they will hear none of it. I should be able to discuss this with higher management. What are the company executives there for, except to find ways to get more money for Heifer?

I'm so disgusted at how short sighted Heifer is being in this matter. With all the money that is wasted in advertising for Heifer, (and still I can find no one that has heard of it!) it amazes me that they are being so stingy about a plaque. Even with a $3000 donation behind it. Especially with the large potential for this to bring in new sponsors and donors. You can't get them to budge on the cheap, paper picture, that won't do a damn thing but go into the trash.

I don't even know if I can continue donating to Heifer after this. I'm so disgusted that I've lost my pride in supporting it.

3

Donor

Rating: 3

While my "three-star" rating remains the same for Heifer Project International, I am updating my comments as they relate to the number of appeals Heifer sends donors. Several months ago, I contacted them regarding the too-frequent appeals I was getting (as well as multiple copies in different sizes of their annual "gift" catalog). I asked them to only send me their "World Ark" magazine and a LIMITED number of appeals each year (and to eliminate sending me the "gift" catalogs entirely). They apparently misunderstood me and stopped sending me ALL of their solicitations. I was VERY CLEAR in telling them I wanted to continue to contribute (and HAVE continued to contribute) ONLY I did NOT want the volume of appeals I was receiving. It is disappointing that they could not seem to fulfill a rather simple and clear request (if it was a matter of computer limitations not allowing them to do so, they should have had the courtesy to explain to me that I would either have to receive ALL of their mailings or NONE at all).

Previous Stories
7

Donor

Rating: 3

I have donated to Heifer for years because I like the idea that they do not give a "hand OUT," but instead a "hand UP" by providing people willing to work hard with the resources they need to be self-sustaining. Being a lifetime city dweller (in Saint Louis, Missouri), I cannot imagine how hard it is for small-scale farmers to make a decent living for their families, yet many seek out the extra work that the animals and training Heifer provides requires so that they can do even better! Once a family is helped, they learn to practice charity themselves by "Passing on the Gift" they've received from Heifer by giving another family one of their Heifer animal's offspring and help in training the new family. All that said, I DO feel that Heifer is too frequent with their appeals. I will receive a "thank you" letter for a gift and (besides asking for another gift at the bottom of that letter) often within a week will get ANOTHER solicitation. I enjoy getting their quarterly World Ark magazine, but they should fine tune their mailing list to only send the gift catalog to people who actually "order" animals from it.

7 James S.5

Donor

Rating: 5

I know they send out expensive adds, but this is what got my attention in the first place. I like that they give a gift that will keep on giving. As someone who raises livestock myself I try to give animals that are grazers. I stray from chickens that if not given the right calcium feed will not lay and all they can do is eat the bird. I know the most expensive element in raising livestock is feed so I look for economical longevity.

5 Walt H.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

They are closing Heifer Farm in MA for no good reason.

Review from Guidestar

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a donor for over ten years. Unlike the comments from many, I an not inundated with donation requests. I think this happens more with new donors. Also, their expenses are less than many international groups, currently running at less than 25 percent. They also fund capital expenses, such as buildings, in separate and specific fund drives. They are neither religious or political, and their programs do what they say they will. Most importantly, they work with the people they help to make lasting changes. Their recipients must earn the help and put in their own efforts and sweat equity to make the programs run. Also, great care is taken to make sure the animals provided are proper for their environment. For example, the have helped areas becoming more desert like to switch to camel meat and milk from beef. They also teach best practices regarding feeding and care of the animals and environmental protection. We do not have a lot to donate, but this is almost the only charity I support because it's mission is to develop long term results in communities across the globe.

Review from Guidestar

14

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Do not waste your money and your hope on this group. All you are doing is contributing to a group that sucks up money, sends animals into an unsustainable situation, and pays its CEO about twice as much (last report I saw was $258,000( than the average for nonprofit CEOs. Don't be caught up in the pretty photos of animals that won't survive and prosper inthe situations they are being sent into. What a crock.

27

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

24

Donor

Rating: 4

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!

24

Donor

Rating: 3

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.

20

Donor

Rating: 5

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

27 Yenelli A.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

The pretty pictures in brochures omit the flaws: farmed animals do not live off the land; there isn't enough water for the PEOPLE, let alone the animals. Increased need for food--and lactose intolerance that affects 90% of the equatorial countries create more problems than they solve. See additional facts here http://awfw.org/no-animal-gifts/

23

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

I was about to donate to this organization but after all the reviews of how much soliciting and money is spent on mailers to people that are already donating...seems like organization need to rethink where and how they spend their dollars

20

Donor

Rating: 3

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.

19

Donor

Rating: 2

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

14

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

FIRST OF ALL I AM A VEGAN! SECOND OF ALL, I WOULD NEVER "DONATE" AN ANIMAL TO TO BE SLAUGHTERED! I GUESS THEY "THINK" ALL OF US ARE STUPID SINCE>.YOU KNOW>.AFTER ALL, LOOK AT OUR COUNTRY THESE PAST 7+++ YEARS & WHAT'S IN IT! SO NO! WE ARE "ALL NOT! STUPID! OR BARBARIANS!"..I AM TOTALLY OFFENDED THAT I EVEN RECEIVED THIS SHOPPING FOR AN ANIMAL TO SLAUGHTER! BUT OF COURSE! THEY ARE A 501 3C SURE & THE WORLD IS GOING TO END TOMORROW! WHAT A SHAM! I TRIED TO FIND A WAY TO EMAIL THESE DISGUSTING PEOPLE< & I COULD NOT..OH I COULD "SUBSCRIBE!"..BY EMAIL..BUT NOT! GOING TO DO THAT! TAKE ME OFF YOUR "LIST!"..I AM NOT WITHOUT COMMON SENSE SO I KNOW WHAT YOU ALL ARE "REALLY DOING!"..& IT'S NOT ABOUT SAVING ANYONE OR FEEDING ANYONE! IT'S ABOUT MAKING MONEY OFF OF SLAUGHTERING ANIMALS! SHIP A COW, FLYING COWS? THINK THIS IS FUNNY? I DO NOT! ALSO, WITH THE "CLINTONS & A FEW OTHERS ON YOUR SO-CALLED "LIST!" I KNOW I WOULD NEVER "TRUST!" ANYTHING "YOUR SO-CALLED NON-PROFIT WOULD OR COULD "EVER! DO!"..DISGUSTING!

16

Donor

Rating: 1

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

29

Donor

Rating: 1

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: [email protected]; 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

31

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories
30

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

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10 gala62

Donor

Rating: 4

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.

26

Donor

Rating: 1

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

16

Donor

Rating: 3

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.

9

Donor

Rating: 5

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.)

17

Donor

Rating: 1

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.

Review from Guidestar

29

Donor

Rating: 1

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.

12

Donor

Rating: 5

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

Review from Guidestar

32

Donor

Rating: 2

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.

Review from CharityNavigator

16

Donor

Rating: 5

Heifer International is not a "christian based" charity as some have stated. They do NOT try to force any form of religion on the recipients of their gifts. They are concerned with helping people to survive and better themselves by giving them the knowledge and tools to take care of any animal given.

Before a recipient receives an animal Heifer investigates the land and discovers what animal will be able to survive in the prevailing conditions. Also they educate the recipients on how to protect the land from over use by the animal given and how to use the animals by-products (manure, etc) to enrich the earth. Recipients are given all the information and training needed to keep their animal(s) healthy and feed while at the same time not further destroying the land. I believe this is one of the best "direct to the needy" charities around. Knowledge acquired and then shared continues on and on. Heifers' goal is to give the poorest people the chance to change their lives by giving them knowledge along with the gift of an animal.

I tell everyone who wishes to give me something, to give a donation to Heifer International instead. I do not need a card saying they gave in my name...nor do i need a fancy receipt from Heifer when i donate. Charity is charity. Yes, I list them on my taxes but proof comes in the form of credit card statement or sometimes even a canceled check! If the IRS doubts me...no big deal, it is not like i am giving millions.

23

Donor

Rating: 2

I have supported Heifer International for a number of years now, however I was somewhat disturbed and disappointed to get a call this past weekend from a paid solicitor trying to get me to make a donation. I don't know the finanacial details, of course, but telephone solicitation is, I bleieve, an expensive way to get donations. I do hope that Heifer Int'l abandons telephone solicitations, as I won't be giving any money that way.

Review from CharityNavigator

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Instead of giving to Heifer International (a Christian-based org), I give to Plan Canada (no I am not Canadian). The difference is that I'm not forcing Christian beliefs on other faiths (mostly Muslim), but I do not get a tax break, nor should anyone expect one. That's what "charity" is all about, people. And that's OK with me. At least with Plan Canada I know where my gift is going without forcing Christianity on folks who already have their OWN faith. Go to plancanada.ca/greatgifts. Big NO to Heifer.

16

Donor

Rating: 1

My 7 gift cards to be sent to receipients did not include the extra specific message. One was written as if the receipient made the donation to her last name from her first name. There is no email access for answering questions. Telephone personnel was very uninformed. Had to give the complete order twice and was read back the messages and they still did not appear. I will NOT dionate again.

Review from CharityNavigator

9 amyc

Donor

Rating: 5

Heifer Foundation locates needy people in needy countries and teaches them how to raise animals AND share them with their neighbors, allowing them to earn enough to pay school fees for their kids and eat better and even, sometimes, afford medical attention. Did I forget something? And Betty's slide shows about the people who are involved in their homes makes the whole deal very real. Thank you Betty.

16

Donor

Rating: 5

My sisters and i have donated funds to this organization for several years. We use it as Christmas gifts to each other as we do not need more stuff. I had to write, email, and finally call them to get them to stop sending me solicitations for funds. It was redundant in my case for them to try to convince a donor to donate. Finally I yelled at them on the phone and the solicitations stopped. I still donate and plan on sending a little more this year as one of my sisters went to Kosovo on business and got to eat a meal with a woman and her daughter who had received a cow. As most people know a lot of men were killed in Kosovo and so the women were left to farm on their own. The lady told my sister that the cow literally saved their lives. The milk products and the hope the gift inspired.

9

Donor

Rating: 5

I always recommend this charity to others. The objective is to provide a sustainable life, mainly to women and children. I have given since 2003. They produce a magazine that I read from cover to cover about conditions and solutions in various areas of the world. I am a much better educated person about the difficulties in the world due to their information. I then leave the magazine in doctor's offices or my university to pass along the information to others. Since the work is meant to be self sustaining, the impact of my contributions lasts beyond the animal given. I consider it more than a one time gift. That being considered, there is more impact per dollar than a gift of clothing or food. I will continue to donate in the future.

Review from CharityNavigator

20

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

In 1980 I worked as a student in international development in Panama. I met a development worker there who excoriated Heifer International. He said HI's gift of an animal trapped impoverished farmers in a cycle of debt because they could not afford the necessary feed so Heifer gave them a loan for it which they could only pay back by selling the food they produced rather than eating it. A year ago I met someone involved in HI who said they have changed. But I don't have personal experience of that change. It is time to sign up to make monthly contributions to my favorite charities through my employer, the University of Massachusetts, and I want to give to a charity that helps the poorest of the poor help themselves, and HI talks the right talk, but I need to know that it walks the walk, too, and does not draw the poor into a monetary system in which they start out so far behind in the game that it is a harm rather than a help.

22

Donor

Rating: 1

After researching Heifer International, it seemed it was a reliable place to use my money to help people. I proceeded to donate money. I felt excited that rather than using money for my own material goods, I'd be helping people in an impoverished part of our planet. I donate to many charities, but this seemed to really get to needy people more directly to help themselves. I envisioned donating money and marking a map to show where my donations where used. I hoped to cover the map with my donations. I didn't want to know a specific person receiving the donation, but rather what country/region where my funds were used. I thought that was a reasonable expectation: Where was my donation used? I asked Heifer International roughly where my donation was used so that I could start marking my map, and continue to donate. What Heifer Internation stated was they couldn't tell me where my funds were used. Furthermore, they didn't even provide me any message (card/email/letter) to provide me of proof that I even had made the donation. They told me to print my own statement from the website. In fact, they seemed surprised I asked. The whole experience left me wondering if indeed they even used my donation to help people? Why couldn't they tell me where my funds were used if it is a honest organization? Just how honest is Heifer International ? Sure they show a few key places in their brochure where donations were used, but shouldn't they have to account for every dollar?

Review from CharityNavigator

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We have donated to Heifer International for many years primarily due to the work that they conduct and the people they serve around the world. Their focus on educating the recipients of the cow, chickens, beehive and more about how to care for their animals, sustain themselves and their families from what they produce (milk, eggs, honey) and then paying forward through generosity of teaching someone else in their village and giving them an offspring to sustain their family -- and on and on -- is a charity grounded in dignity and respect. I've also had the privilege to spend a week at Heifer Ranch in Arkansas to learn beekeeping from Heifer's master beekeeper, Chuck Crimmins. This gave me an opportunity to see, first-hand, the care, dedication and belief the entire Heifer staff and organization embraces in service of others.

Review from JustGive

21

Donor

Rating: 4

I have been donating to Heifer for a number of years now; it is the main charity that I donate to each year. I believe in its mission and its approach. However, the one thing that always causes me pause every year is the ratio of money donated to money that actually gets spent on the program - it is "only" about 73%. The biggest problem I see is that they spend far too much money on fundraising, mostly in the form of about 5 or 6 glossy catalogs I receive each year. I would like NOT to receive this, and just get emails instead, to save the money for the actual program. Unfortunately, there is no way to opt out of not receiving all the mailings. I consider this a problem for the charity.

35 cheryncp

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an area volunteer for Heifer International and would like to clear up some misconceptions in a previous post. The original animals Heifer donates to needy families are neither sold nor eaten. They are an opportunity for a family to earn a living through the sale of the products the animals produce such as milk, eggs, honey etc. The first offspring of the animal is passed on to another needy family and so on. I have been to Heifer headquarters (green),in Little Rock, Arkansas to the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas, and on a study tour to Armenia and I can assure you every cent that is contributed to Heifer International is well spent. Heifer does not give people an animal and leave them, they are there educating them on the care of the animals, supplying veterianary care and help in producing feed among other services. Heifer is one of the most transparent agencies you will find. I am proud to be a part of this organization that has been around since 1944 and has helped many people become self sufficient and communities come together that once were at odds and they have empowered women and educated girls where otherwise they may not have had that opportunity.

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Every year I send this group an email asking them to stop sending me their catalog, and every year i get their catalog in the mail! I am totally against what they do with live animals, treating them like they're nothing but commodities to be bought and sold, sending them to poor people who then often turn around and sell them to get some money because they can't afford to take care of them. Dealing in the animal trade does not seem to me a worthy or realistic charitable endeavor at all, and I'm sick and tired of their ignoring my repeated requests not to bother me with appeals.

12 Betty F.

Donor

Rating: 5

I give monthly to Heifers, and while they do have some "office" problems whenever there is a money issue, their work makes them worth my time and money.

In my opinion, it is more beneficial to work on long-term, sustainable means of subsistence so that impoverished people are give a way to earn their living, as opposed to short-term solutions. While it is very important to treat the immediate 'symptoms' of poverty, and I am not impugning those charities in any way, I like that Heifer treats the 'disease' behind the problem.

I know the President makes over $250,000 but this is hardly obscene considering she is running a huge organization at a fraction of what other CEOs would make.

In short, I am a big fan of this charity and would happily recommend it to anyone.

Review from CharityNavigator

19

Donor

Rating: 2

I have long admired the work that Heifer does and was happy to contribute after the Haiti earthquake with funds designated for that effort. I began receiving requests for additional donations immediately. I currently receive solicitations via phone, email and US mail at least once per week. This is far too much time and resources spent on fundraising.

Review from CharityNavigator

11

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a agricultural conservationist by trade and am extremely impressed with the creativity that Heifer uses to tackle hunger, poverty, and the downtrodden plight of women in poverty-stricken regions. They prove that the old adage, "give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime" is still true. Solving complicated hunger issues through locally driven initiatives offers a hand up with dignity and causes permanent change to occur. If I could give this organization more than 5 stars, I would. I am confident that this organization is a good steward of donor monies. As for the comments about the CEO's salary, I believe that the laborer is worth his/her hire. This person is responsible for piloting a large, multinational organization dependent on donor funding which holds the fate of thousands in its hands. Compare the salary with CEO's of for-profit corporations of similar size for a more accurate reading.

26

Donor

Rating: 2

In the past, during the Christmas Season, I have donated animals and agricultural products to my friends and family. Before I donate, I always check the Charity Navigator Website to verify Project Expenses vs. Administration and Fund Raising costs. Your organization meets expectaions in this regard, however the President's salary is too high.

Review from CharityNavigator

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Of all the many organizations working to end extreme poverty that I have studied, Heifer seems to me to have the best combination of pragmatism and idealism. They recognize that the problems they wrestle with are complex and intertwined: how hunger is related to social injustice, war, environmental degradation, gender inequality, ignorance (both here and abroad), and apathy. They manage to fight all of these problems together.



Founded by an extraordinary man--Dan West--after his experience doing relief work in Europe during the Spanish Civil War, this group continues to refine its methods and spread its idea that impoverished people all over the world can solve their own problems--and then go on to help others-- with just a loan of livestock and training, which they then pass on to others.



My own experiences with Heifer have included participating in various fund-raising and public outreach projects, including a joint fundraiser with the African Children's Choir and a recent banquet in California's wine country, projects that are run primarily by grass-roots volunteers--interesting, fun, passionate, wonderful people!



I have also attended two educational weekend seminars, "Heifer University 101" and the more in-depth "Heifer University 201," which were both excellent--very informative and inspiring.



So whether you want to learn more about how to fight poverty and its attendant problems, put your own shoulder to the wheel with active participation, or just send your donation dollars to a group that will spend them well and multiply them, check out heifer.org. This is a great group.

20

Donor

Rating: 1

My contact with Heifer Intl. has been brief, and possibly never again. I ordered a llama online, using my PayPal account. About an hour after placing the order I checked PayPal. There I discovered they had made two identical charges. I don't know if I hit the wrong button, or if they are doing something. Immediately I sent an email message that the second charge was a mistake and to please remove it. When no one replied, I phoned a number I found on their website. A man with whom I talked said he would take care of it. Meanwhile, both charges have been made to my credit card linked to the PayPal, and the PayPall account now shows that both items have been paid. I don't know if there is any way to get this corrected, but I do know that I will NEVER do this again. Also, I will tell my story to anyone in the world who will listen as a cautionary tale.

Review from Guidestar

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For over 25 years Heifer International has been a major influence on my life. For over 60 years Heifer has been sharing resources and knowlege with limited resource farm families across the world and in the US. I have visited projects in Honduras, Maine, New York City, and Appalachia and met impoverished people whose health, dignity and hope have been restored through Heifer's unique work. I have been blessed with the opportunity to share these stories with schools and congregationa as a heifer volunteer, and to meet international "partners" in Heifer's work. Heifer "invests" donors funds with marginalized men and women who, records show, respond overwhelmingly and "pass on the gifts" they receive to others, thus leading to new levels of selp-sufficiency in small rural villages worldwide.