Friday, December 08, 2006

Speaking of Catalogues...

Made my World Vision purchase the other night. Out of the available items for purchase, I selected the Harvest Packs:
What could be more perfect for the gardener on your list than crops to feed hungry families? Thanks to generous Canadian corporations, your gift today will provide 4 Harvest Packs for the price of one. A single Harvest Pack includes hearty seeds and sturdy tools for planting. And with each Harvest Pack, a World Vision staff person will provide training to help bring bountiful harvests of vitamin-rich vegetables, legumes, and grains for years to come. Now's your chance to help four families for the price of one.

I liked that it seemed to be a long-term solution, and cost-efficient. I know that I'm putting a lot of faith in people when I donate to a charity, and I'm willing to take that chance, but I want good bang for my buck. Anyway, ultimately, if my coin just went to pad someone's salary, at the very least I'll end up with a tax credit from the whole thing.

I found a few parts of the FAQ encouraging:

Q: How are prices determined for items in the Gift Catalogue?

A: World Vision Canada's prices for animals include training in husbandry and pen construction, pen material, vaccinations, and occasionally food for the family so the animal can survive long enough to reproduce. In addition, families are given nutrition training so they can get the most benefit from these animals.

Nutrition training and education are included in the cost of livestock, trees, seeds, and tools because World Vision seeks to bring about sustainable change. With training, families can use the animals and plants they are given to improve their children's health for years to come.

Q: Where does my money go when I purchase a gift?

A: While the majority of the purchase price goes toward buying and delivering the actual gift item, fundraising and administration costs are also built into the price of each gift in the catalogue. World Vision is an organization you can trust. 84.3% of gifts to World Vision go directly into programs that help children. 10.6% goes to fundraising services, 5.0% is allocated to administration and 0.1% is retained for future use.

Q: How are Gift Catalogue items selected?

A: Gift items are selected to help families meet pressing needs and earn household income. For example, sheep can provide milk and meat for family nutrition, manure to be used to fertilize crops, and wool which can be sold or used to make clothes. Additionally, ewes often have twins or triplets that can be sold for family income.

Q: Who receives the gifts I purchase?

A: World Vision works with community leaders to develop a fair system for distributing gifts. Families are chosen on the basis of need. Your gift will usually be part of a larger program where a number of families receive similar gifts.

Q: How are the gifts I purchase delivered?

A: Items that you choose are purchased locally. This ensures the products (for example, fruit trees) are well-suited to the local environment. Buying locally also supports the local economy and keeps transportation costs to a minimum.

Q: What if World Vision raises more funds than expected for a particular item?

A: Should the total amount of gifts exceed funding needs for a particular item, your gift will either provide similar assistance to people in different communities or it will be used to meet additional needs in that project.

Now, it would be nice to see the results of having made the purchase, but I understand that's unrealistic.

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