One of my very favorite things to do at the Christmas season is to give one special gift to a charity of my choice. For several years now, that has been World Vision.
Not only does World Vision have an excellent record of accountability in use of funds. The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability reports that 87% of the funds collected go for programs. 9% is spent on fundraising, and 5% on administration. World Vision was one of the charter members of the EFCA in 1979, when 150 religious organizations recognized that people wanted to know which non-local groups could be trusted to use donated funds responsibly.
Over the years, I have donated to them from time to time. But a few years ago, World Vision launched a Gift Catalog style of giving. You can select items from this catalog to purchase, and these will be delivered to people in need. This approach really speaks to me. I can have some level of control over how I am helping in a small way to change people's lives.
There are many types of gifts. Various farm animals are popular. Clean water delivery is another great choice (filters, shares in a deep well, etc). You can buy shelters for people; help girls attend school; provide agricultural tools, seeds, or fruit trees; participate in small business loans; or donate to emergency relief funds. These are general categories, but within those topics, there are choices for anyone who has as little as $25, or thousands, to give.
You can pay by credit card, or they recently added a PayPal option. They do send a paper catalog to previous givers, but everything is also online. I enjoy looking through the catalog and choosing what I want to give at a particular time, based on my budget. I know that whatever I choose, it will be just the right gift.
This year, I chose two chickens and a goat. World Vision says "we've paired these most popular animals... so you can provide a steady supply of eggs, milk, and meat to feed children and transform lives. It's the best $100 you'll ever spend."
See World Vision
See EFCA report on World Vision
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