Cover Story: Teach a Man to Fish ...
Heifer closed FY 2003 with $1.44 million coming from major gifts; at the end of FY 2004, that number had increased some 50 percent to $2.16 million.
Still, most of Heifer’s donations come in from individuals who use the organization’s offline and online catalogs to “purchase” animals in the names of friends and family members. The animals then are given to families in needy communities around the world, along with education on how to care for them and use them to enhance the family’s quality of life. In turn, the receiving family agrees to give the first female offspring to another family in the community — “passing on the gift,” as Heifer calls it.
But the beloved and highly successful catalog campaign might have given some potential donors the wrong impression, according to Christi Woodworth, national director of development at Heifer.
“We have wonderful, dedicated donors who came to Heifer from the catalog or online or direct mail,” Woodworth says. “But for folks coming in through direct mail, there isn’t as much propensity to give [major gifts of $25,000 or more]. Heifer traditionally isn’t seen as wanting that kind of gift.
“The Hope for the Future Campaign is a balance to the wide net that direct mail set out. We have projects all over the world that could fit [major gift donors’] interests,” adds Woodworth, whose job it is to coordinate Heifer’s national major gifts program.
Major gifts as a dedicated effort began in the fall of 2001, nearly 60 years into the organization’s history. After Sept. 11, 2001, Woodworth says, it became clear that it was time to encourage people to give what Heifer calls “transformational” gifts. It was then that Americans seemed primed to look at “the big picture” and were ready to make a difference in the world.