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View Diary: Butterfly Woman: Heifer International and Food Justice---Looking Beyond the Cuddly Animals (89 comments)

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  •  Grover, I am glad for a chance (14+ / 0-)

    to reply to this. Heifer's rating on charity navigator fell when they made large investments in expansion last year, which raised their overhead, but will hopefully increase their long term impact. I highly recommend you read Heifer's response to this at http://www.heifer.org/...

    Even the CEO of charity navigator wrote about the "overhead myth",ie, that the overhead/ program ratio is not the best way to evaluate a charity. Charities must be rated by their impact, and some charities should be spending more on good administration, planning and evaluation, and fundraising. What matters to the recipients of a charity is not low overhead but effective service.

    Heifer's fundraising figures have always run on the high side because they combine public education with fundraising. One example is the school curriculum I mentioned in an earlier comment. Another is their magazine, World Ark. which doesn't just promote Heifer, but covers all the food justice issues with the same purpose as this blogathon, i.e., to raise awareness.

    5 catalogs in the mail is a different matter!! We must do something about THAT! I will find out how and get back to you. You are right to be concerned. The largest portion of the carbon footprint of an organization like Heifer is paper.

    Ceiling Cat rules....srsly.

    by side pocket on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 05:15:16 PM PDT

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    •  I am very familiar with the program cost (0+ / 0-)

      vs overhead expense ratio issues.

      I also know that too many charities shuffle overhead expenses into the program cost columns to make their charities look more attractive to donors. There's a lot more that goes into program costs than what many people think.  For example, charities based in big city locales like NY or SF will have higher program costs because rents and salaries are higher.

      But I was discussing fundraising specifically. It's something that I think a lot of charities spend entirely too much money on when they could come up with better, more effective, and much less costly ways to get the word out with creative planning.

      Your diary, for example, is one such way. There is a member here who is an excellent ambassador for ShelterBox. I had never heard of ShelterBox, but with her informative and passionate advocacy, I have become a consistent donor. I'm not sure how ShelterBox fundraises, because I asked to be put on its do-no-solicit list and they never bother me. I just send money whenever I can.

      But it spends 3.5% in fundraising.

      I certainly understand that to recipients, how much money spent on fundraising is irrelevant, but to donors, the issue MUST be considered, imo.

      Food scarcity -- both domestically and internationally --is my major issue. So money that does NOT go to recipients is a major concern to me. I hope you understand that's why I'm so passionate about it. Twenty-three cents where another charity spends ten cents to feed people, restore lands, or otherwise help them so people can feed themselves is the reason that I choose  OTHER charities, which I have.

      I really want to like Heifer. I want to tell people to donate to them. But it takes current donors and volunteers demanding better answers for organizations to change.   That's why I raise this issue.

      Heifer could be a great organization. I totally believe that. It just needs to be firmly nudged in the right direction.

      Anyhow, that's just my two cents. I'm glad you wrote this diary. It's nice, for once, to be able to chat about which people and organizations are best at improving the world instead of which people are succeeding at tearing it apart. Heifer is doing good work. We need more people doing good works.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 07:38:42 PM PDT

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      •  ugh. (0+ / 0-)

        This

        For example, charities based in big city locales like NY or SF will have higher program costs because rents and salaries are higher.
        should have said THIS:
        For example, charities based in big city locales like NY or SF will have higher OVERHEAD EXPENSES because rents and salaries are higher.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 07:40:01 PM PDT

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      •  I don't think that's a fair comparison. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling
        I just send money whenever I can.

        But it spends 3.5% in fundraising.

        That number is certainly helped by the fact that ShelterBox is a project of Rotary International, which means that SB raises much of its funding for "free" through thousands of weekly Rotary Club meetings.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 07:50:50 PM PDT

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        •  Ok, (0+ / 0-)

          Northwest Harvest.
          http://www.charitynavigator.org/...

          Which is one of my regular (monthly-donation) charities.

          I didn't say that a charity has to fundraise at 3% though, did I? I just said that 23% is high.

          I don't want to argue pro/against Heifer. I just expressed my concerns with what I think is an otherwise pretty good organization. People are free to do with that info what they will.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 08:07:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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