I was very relieved to find these reviews because so many of them confirm my negative experience with W4W. Like everyone else I was pleased to be a part of their organization. I contributed $50 a month for 9 years because I truly care about making a difference in the world.
Like many others I had endless problems with their accounting people. I put up with all of that, despite multiple phone calls and e-mails all of which were ignored, because I remained a true believer in the cause.
Recently, however, I read the finance reports on Charity Navigator and found out that the top two women in the organization took home almost half a million dollars in wages in 2012. By syphoning off these massive sums they are - IMO - robbing the women for whom the donation was intended. So yesterday I canceled my subscription.
I have been a member/sponsor for many years. This is a really useful and needed organization. With so much poverty/unrest and despair in the world, this organization gives hope for a better future for many women who struggle with poverty/abuse or both. It gives hope and empowers women to take their life into their own hands and help to sustain their families in desperate times. Your help is needed more now than ever. Please look into their good work and make up your own mind.
helping the most vulnerable women in the world is not only the right thing to do, it is also a really good investment in our future. women for women is great and very necessary work. I am proud to play a very small part.
Women for Women International is a fantastic organization. I really appreciate the opportunity of supporting vulnerable women suffering from poverty and violence. What I receive back, being informed about the progress of my sisters or receiving their letters, is so amazing. My small contribution is just a drop in an ocean however it is fantastic to realize that many drops actually form an ocean.
I am glad to be of help to women who have so little. When thy write to me, I am amazed they they have such passionate devotion to their children and lives, and I am also ashamed that have so much and am often disgruntled.
My donation is so little out of my purse, yet it makes a big difference to them.
This is one of the truly great programs. I have been with the program for many years.
The letters from the women who it has helped are WONDERFUL!
I appreciate the help they are getting for the betterment of their lives - and their families lives!
Mary 159 and Maria de Magdala have pretty well said exactly how I feel. I am also a professional woman but I live in Canada. My travels have taken me to some very poor countries such as Columbia and Bolivia where I was humbled by the people who still smile even though they live in such poverty. For a long time I looked for a charity that I would like to donate to....One that would really make a difference to the lives of people who need help. I was confused because I didn't know if I should dontate to an organization that helped children, families, countries...there are so many choices. What I have learned is that orphans are often the result of widow's being forced into new marriages to escape poverty. I definitely want to help the children but I thought that if I helped the mothers first the children and the community as a whole would benefit and thus the reason I chose Women for Women International. I donate money monthly and every time I see a commercial about a charity that needs money...I feel good inside tknowing hat I am doing something that I feel every person who can afford it should be doing. So far I have sponsored two women and I plan to continue sponsoring as long as I can afford it. Thank you Women to Women and please continue the fight against poverty.
I am a professional woman in a caree of counseling, living in the United States of America. I realize how much of the bounty of life I enjoy is an accident of my birth. I have a deep desire to be of help to women around the globe, whose birth has given them more life challenges than I can ever imagine. It is with deep humility and profound admiration that I donate to Woman For Women International. This organization has a program and structure which allows women to learn the shills they need and the support they deserve to create a life of advancement and hope for the people in their lives reliant on them. I am beyond humbled to receive a letter from a woman who has been helped by my donation. She often expresses deep gratitude and I am brought o tears with gratitude that I have been able to use the benefits of my position to help another woman and to be edified by her courage.
Review from CharityNavigator
I was very excited to begin sponsoring woman in need, but from the beginning the communication and website were woeful. I was sometimes notified a payment had been received ($27 per month) and sometimes not. I received no communication from the first woman I sponsored until after her program ended. When I tried to talk to learn more about their organization, I found many of their click-ons take you nowhere - their site hardly works. Eventually I was assigned to another woman without being notified, and only then realized they give themselves permission to do so in their fine print, (on another page from the sign-up form). Finally, as directed by their site, I called in and cancelled, in May '11. In Mar '12, they dipped into another credit card I'd used to make a one time donation of $100, and simply took $603. I went back over their correspondence, and found no notification of this $603 payment. On my account, where they say 'click here for a full summary of your donations' it brings up the figure of $81 where they should have listed over $1200. Though I cancelled my association with them long ago, they just assigned me to another woman and I had to call in again and demand that they stop. They had me scheduled to make another payment in Mar '13. I don't agree with one reviewer that they only care about big donators. I say they have set this up to prey upon the poorer donators mercilessly. They actually steal from their supporters' credit/debit cards. They should be investigated in the most serious way.
I was originally so pleased to find this non-profit. As a donor for a few years, I looked forward to exchanging letters with my overseas "sisters," and I was confident that my donations would support the endeavors of women trying to improve their own lives and the lives of their families in the midst of harsh and, possibly, oppressive circumstances. There was never time for a relationship to develop, however. Either there were no letters (understandable if the sister was illiterate) or as I waited for an answer, I'd get a notice that my sisterh ad changed. Other times I'd be notified of a change but would never get the profile of the new sister. Although I kept getting e-mail alerts that Women for Women had received my donation, e-mail requests of their administrators fell on deaf ears. Finally, I changed to another non-profit with similar goals as Women for Women, but I had to call twice and e-mail a few times before the administration heeded my request. My American Expres card continued to be tapped. I had to call Am Ex and put a block on that payment. About two months after stopping payment, I received a letter from a sister accompanied by a letter from W. for W., ackinowledging that I had "left," but still enclosing the letter of appreciation from this sister. What was that about if not to impart shame or guilt? In all, the cause is great; the need is enormous, but the administration needs tightening, despite the myriad obstacles in running such an organization. Oh, and I also called the sponsorship director, thinking my feedback regarding my experience might help them to respond to donor frustrations was met by indifference. I left a message but never received a reply.
Review from Guidestar
does the CEO really have to pay herself $220,000 a year. I have to question this. Wouldn't most contributors like to set up an organization that pays themselves $220,000 annually? That allows for a more than adequate lifestyle.
Review from CharityNavigator
hello, all - I have read the reviews here - i have no special allegiance to W$WInternational - I am sponsor at $30./month of a woman in Nigeria. When my original recipient left the program, or was chronically absent for whatever personal reasons, a new woman was assigned to me & I rec'd a thorough letter advising me of that. I do not remember receiving an original letter re. the 1st woman I sponsored (mentioned above), but I may have overlooked it. I would like to respond to a few of the remarks made here when donors & a volunteer reviewed the org for this website. If you will look at this site, you can see that W4WI gets a good review at Charity Navigator: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=7623. I see no mention here of this org's poor accounting, so the person who wrote that may want to explain bit. I would also like to say that while I am sure it is disheartening to work as an intern in an (allegedly) disorganized org. & not to receive appropriate raises, people have to know that to keep the admin costs low, the good work of interns is necessary -- & appreciated by me! This is a large org w/ a far-reaching mission, so I'm sure it is difficult to run it w/ low overhead while relying a lot on interns. Finally, the donors who were not satisfied w/ the customer service at this org may want to balance that against the work the org accomplishes. Myself, I support an org that is grassroots & empowers women. Your $30/month undoubtedly saves MANY lives in the family.
I have been sponsoring various "sisters" over the past few years for $27 per month. I am about to cancel my monthly sponsorships for the following 2 reasons. First, I used to be able to access their website and have had recent problems with accessing their website with no solution. I've called their D.C. offices and spoken to staff over the phone who vow to help but then never solve the problem. Second, all of a sudden my credit card charges boost to $30 per month without my knowledge. The staff member politely stated that when I agreed to the Terms and Conditions clause on signing up as a sponsor, I agreed to gradual increases as necessary, and they will make reasonable effort to notify me of those intended increases. This is shady. I donate to other causes and have a limit to what I want to contribute to this organization. Their reasonable attempt to notify me is QUESTIONABLE. They are highly disorganized in their offices, unable to solve basic access problems to their website, and give you the run around when on the phone while not helping to solve your problems. I've never been critical of a non-profit before...this is so unnecessary. Once you lose a donor I am sure that they will never return.
Review from CharityNavigator
I love the idea of sponsoring a woman, but, with Women for Women, there isn't much difference between sponsoring a woman and giving a donation to the organization. The customer service is surprisingly horrible. They seem to disregard small donors like those who would sponsor a woman. I have had absolutely no communication except that they received payment in the first 5 months of signing up. I sponsored a woman years ago and stopped because of slow responses. I decided to try again and the customer service has gotten even worse. When I tried to cancel my account, I called, spoke to someone who was very nice and then received a confirmation email that my payment has been received. Calling again, I've been put on hold for over a half hour. It seems they rely on large funders, which is great for them. If the work that they claim to do is real, they are amazing. However, it feels that they disregard/disrespect people who make small donations. I was happy to hear that the woman I sponsor should not be affected if I pull out. It seems they don't need my donation at all. Has the sponsorship just become a marketing tool? It should be eliminated from their website.
I worked for Women for Women International for 9 months. I first work as an (unpaid) intern in the Sponsorship Department and then as Data Entry clerk. The Sponsorship Team consists of 4 paid employees and the brunt of the work falls on unpaid interns and volunteers. These unpaid workers are responsible for keeping track of and sending sponsorship packets (information about with whom sponsors are matched and updates on their "sisters") and forwarding correspondence between sponsors and the women they are sponsoring. There are not nearly enough employees to perform this work and the fact that this organization uses unpaid labor as a crutch to cut administrative costs is truly disappointing. Letters and photos between sponsors and their "sisters" pile up and those working and WFWI are told to SHRED these heartfelt letters and family photos when they have not been forwarded in time. It would be in Women for Women's best interest to invest in their workforce so they are not breaking their word to those who keep their organization running rather than paying their founder and CEO exhorbitant amounts of money and relying on unpaid labor to cover up their shoddy business practices. Following the internship I worked in Data Entry where the Director of our department avoided contact with the Data Entry clerks after we emailed asking for a meeting to discuss the fact that no one had been paid properly for overtime worked. The Director claimed she was "out of town" for a while (though we saw her in the office) and three months later we received flowers as opposed to the requested meeting. While I don't deny that women have been helped by this organization, I was appalled by what goes on behind the scenes and hope that Zainab Salbi will eventually spend more time at her headquarters so she can become aware of the issues faced by her employees.
Review from CharityNavigator
I loved the premise of W4WI. I sponsored a woman in DRC 6 months ago. The website says that I sponsor 0 women, although my credit card is charged the agreed $30 per month. I received one email with a woman's name and no other updates. I have emaiied and left phone messages and cannot make contact with anyone to stop my sponsorship. I was excited about supporting a woman and having a way to communicate with her, but this has not happened unfortunately.
I donated and placed an order at Christmas with the hopes of giving my purchases as gifts and at the same time spreading the word about the organization -A win/win for everyone .
The gifts were ordered at the suggested time so that we could in fact send them in time for Christmas-
As Christmas neared and the package wasn't appearing in the post day after day-several phone calls were made -but no bracelets were EVER received! We have YET to receive the items we ordered in December.
I am so disappointed. I am disappointed in the Organization and even more disappointed on behalf of the many people who were hoping and expecting to be their beneficiaries.
I might add the organization has failed to do its part in even trying to track our purchases in any way.
Is this customary?
Review from CharityNavigator
The founder of W4W is an amazing human being, and I don’t know how/ where she finds energy and inspiration with so much despair, war, and illnesses around her. I’m very happy what her work and that of her organization has achieved. I’ve sponsored 10 sisters with W4W since 2008, and have corresponded with all of them. I’ve also received their information and a summary when each woman completes her yr of training. I’ve written letters and sent photos as well. I never had issues with payments. W4W’s goal is to assist women (education, learn a skill to earn income, and thus impact their communities) and not for them to become pen pals with sponsors. Remember that most cannot write, which require someone else to do for them (who must know English and other “sponsor language”), which in turn is time consuming. I rather see them use the time for their education than to write me. Sometimes sponsors make the assumption that everyone speaks and write English; far from it. Remember that those women live in survival mode every single day.
I was excited about supporting a women in a conflict zone. It's been over 4 months and never received any kind of information about her nor about how my contributions are being used. They promised updates but received nothing so far. Too disorganized. In the meantime. my contributions keep being subtracted each month. I'll cancel my participation in this program. Hope I can find a more serious one soon.
I've sponsored several women through W4W and am very satisfied with the work this charity does. I agree with some of the more critical reviews that the feedback from the women I've sponsored is sometimes sparse, but that's not what attracted me as a sponsor. The good work W4W does for victims of war is what matters most to me and I feel good about supporting them to that end. More correspondence from my "sisters" would be great but as long as W4W is making a difference in the lives of the victims of war, I feel my money is well spent.
Review from CharityNavigator