This is why we do what we do

Today is the last day of our 2017 fundraiser, and it’s always a bittersweet day for us: we’re so amazed and touched by the incredible goodness we see throughout the fundraiser. It’s a much-needed reminder that people are still good, that together we can accomplish so much, and that when it comes to doing good, no contribution is ever too small.

But it’s the last day of the fundraiser. Even though the past few weeks have been crazy and busy and an emotional roller-coaster, we’re not really ready to see it end. We love this fundraiser and everything it stands for, and we love that all of you seem to love it just as much as we do. None of this would ever be possible without our supporters–we can spend as much time as we want shouting about how much we love Heifer, but without your support, shouting into the void is all we’d be doing. Without you, this fundraiser wouldn’t be something that every day restores our faith in humanity.

So today, the last day of the fundraiser, is about you. The stories you’ve shared with us throughout the fundraiser that make us laugh, or make us tear up, or remind us why we love our jobs so dang much. Every year, many of you share your stories with us via email, in our donation comments, on our Facebook page, on Pat’s blog, and even on Twitter. It’s always wonderful to meet you all and hear how you found us, who in your family has worked with impoverished families and how they helped, or what inspired you to donate. We feel a little selfish that we’re the only one who gets to meet you all, so we’d like to help you meet each other. So say hello to your friends in fundraising, the other folks out there who teamed up with you to help do good in the world.

Some of you have been following along for a few years, but this is the first time you’ve been able to donate.

I have been reading about Worldbuilders since the start (big Pat fan!) and have wanted to donate every year. First I was too poor, then I couldn’t figure out how to since I am from the Netherlands and we generally don’t have creditcards. This year is different though. I have found the love of my life who just happens to be an American. I travelled there this summer to meet him and we are planning to start a life together very soon. But, back to business. To travel I needed a creditcard. So now that I have one I will use it. And not just for myself. I am going to donate and enter my name into the raffle 6 times. Once for me, once for my boyfriend, and once for all four of his children (who are total geeks themselves, good daddy!)
-Kim S

For the first time in my life I feel like I have a lot of money. Money that I earned myself. Finally I can donate to this wonderful cause! And bees, we need more bees!
-Sander T

For the past five years, I’ve tried to donate but was not in a place to be able to do so. This year, I am, and it makes me ridiculously happy to know I’m buying some ducks for people who need them.
-Erika M

And then there are those of you who have been with us for years and years. (Hi again! *waves*)

I’ve donated for the last couple of years, but this year I finally finished my PhD and have a job as a neuroscientist! I’m used to pretty simple living so I’m happy to donate some of the extra money to my favourite charity: Worldbuilders! Thanks so much to the team for all of your wonderful work every year.
-Laura F

Have donated to WB every year since Year 2, a bit more as I get older and have more to give.
-Rebecca N

Every year, a cow. No matter how grinchy I can be otherwise. I love this charity, the community it has created, and the people we help. Thank you, Pat, for starting this beautiful end-of-year tradition that helps so many people and makes others who can give so excited.
-Orvis E

Some of you have donated in honor of friends or family.

My beautiful grandma passed this year. She was 102. She went to college and changed the world – so I hope this money can be used to educate people who will change the world in the gorgeous way my grandma did. I love you, grandma!
My son was born this past year. I want him to grow up knowing that holidays are for giving and that he can learn to change the world in loving ways. I love you, J!
-Amy J

Donating enough for a clean water installation, because my parents have for years been raising money for the Pure Water, Pure Love campaign, which provides clean water in underdeveloped areas throughout the world. They’re my inspiration, and I couldn’t be who I am without their love and support.
-Carrlet S

My Grandfather was a farmer. He raised sheep and cattle in New Zealand for most of his life. It Was his life. When he passed away two years ago, I wasn’t sure what to do. I’m still not, this isn’t the sort of thing that gets easier over time. But, I remember seeing him smile, looking down at his herd. Maybe I can give someone else, somewhere else, a chance to do the same.
-Francis A

My grandma inspired me to give out donations to organisations that help other people. She was handicapped (lost a leg during the second world war) but always kept on fighting… She raised my mom by herself during the difficult times that followed after the war. Nevertheless she always had a great attitude and i never heard her once complain even though she was in great pain (especially in the last couple of years). Even though she had little money, she somehow found ways to support organisations that deal with handicapped people. She passed away last year at the age of 87 and that is when my mom found out about how many organisation she supported that she hadn’t even talked about with her own daughter. May she rest in peace. Greetings from Germany
-Lukas D

A couple of days ago was the 2-year anniversary of Peter’s suicide. He was an avid tabletop gamer, an evangelist of the hobby, a kind-hearted soul, and a shining light in the world, who on that day 2 years ago finally succumbed to the battle that had raged within him for so long. He was constantly sharing his love for games with anyone who would listen, and convinced many of our friends to try tabletop gaming for the first time. We miss him dearly, and I think he would have loved that Worldbuilders is doing.
-Michael L

I have an infant daughter this year, and this whole parenting thing is plenty difficult even in my privileged bubble. Hopefully this will go at least a little way toward helping a parent or child in much less fortunate circumstances.
-Alex R

Some of you wanted to pay it forward.

Five years ago I was in a pretty bad place, when I met a homeless man who gave me $6 for gas money so I could make it back home. I think about that stranger often, and how he gave me literally everything he had to help me out. I’m in a much better place now, with more than enough money to spare. I wish I could find him again and return the favor… but until that happens, I’ll continue to donate to Worldbuilders and other charities in honor of that stranger. I hope my small gift of a goat will be similarly life-changing for someone else.
-Thorina S

I have received help when homeless with 5 kids, now my children are almost all grown, everyone should pay it forward.
-Theres K

Some of you shared your own way of helping to do good in the world.

During this time of year, a lot of people are looking to pick up other shifts at work. When I get approached, I tell them I will give my shift up if they are willing to donate an hour to charity. The response I get is “how?” Not “no.” Then I proceed to tell them about Heifer International. I like to think most people when given the chance are good people.
-Jordan L

My name is Benjamin and I’m a teacher at Gymnasium Bruchhausen-Vilsen, a small academic high school in Germany, about 40km south of Bremen. Every year we have a Christmas bazaar at our school, where every class organizes a project to sell stuff (food, drink, bird houses made of old milk cartons, etc.) at the bazaar. The income of all classes is collected afterwards and one third goes to Doctors Without Borders, one third into the social fund of our school to help kids from poorer families with their school-related expenses. The last third is split up and given back to the classes. My class (Klasse 8g2) decided that they wanted to donate their share too instead of spending it and I suggested Worldbuilders, which they loved very much(!!!).
There are 26 students (15 girls and 11 boys) in the class and they are about 13-14 years old. For the bazaar we sold burgers and hot dogs (veggie and non-veggie) with different toppings, that people could garnish (Is that the right word?) themselves. We’re a small school with about 800 students, and it looks as though our donation is going to be a bit more than I guessed. We’re at 90€, which changes to roughly 106$, so i wanted to make it an even 110$. But then i thought ‘What the heck, we’ll make it a goat!’, so it’ll be 120$. 🙂
-Benjamin R

And some of you? Some of you just had amazing stories that we feel honored to share.

My adoptive parents taught me to love reading at an early age, and in the years since no other experience has brought me as much joy as cracking into a new book and exploring the pages within. It is my hope that by making this contribution, another child will be given the opportunity to stop worrying about where their next meal or glass of clean water will come from and instead be able to concern themselves with the next book they get to read, the next game of make believe they want to play, or pursuing a higher level of education than they previously thought they could achieve.
-Jason L

Years ago in a tiny part of India, my grandmother obtained school graduation certification and opened a girls’ school in her home to support the family when her husband was out of work. She sold all her wedding jewelry to make this happen. Her school thrived and was eventually acquired by the Govt of India as a public school. This literally helped my family survive and changed our perspective about women’s worth and abilities. I grew up listening to everyone telling stories about how great my grandma was and how smart she was with numbers. Grandma passed away this year at age 96 and I wanted to donate this money to an organization that helps people in rural areas around the world. People just like my grandparents were around World War II. Thanks for running this fundraiser.
-Tania D

I’m donating because my parents raised me well. Last December my mother was diagnosed with a particularly rude form of cancer, and in the past year she has taught me new lessons about strength, perseverance, and the impact of a positive attitude on a person’s life.
I had two separate groups of chickens when I was growing up. While these friendly little birds did teach me lessons of responsibility and the rewards of caring for beings outside of one’s self, I know that impact is but a fraction of what a flock could do for a family truly in need. I’m just sorry I can’t afford more.
-Paul W

We love you all!

So many more of you sent us stories, kind words, and encouragement. Every year we fight over who gets to look through all the comments to the fundraiser page, because it’s just so wonderful to hear from all of you, to hear your stories, to hear what resonates most with you.

You all have your own reasons to donate to charity. Every single one is a great reason, from donating in honor of family, to teaching your children the value of giving back, to just wanting to know that you’ve helped to do good. (Some of you claim you just donate in the hope that you’ll win something from our lottery, and we’d like to call shenanigans on that claim. Because even though you say you’re only in it for the stuff, there’s easier ways to get stuff. You could have kept your money and spent it on something you know you’ll get and love. Instead, you chose to donate it to help other people. That’s right, we’re on to you, and you’re a better person than you claim to be.)

If you haven’t had the chance, every Team Page on our donation page has a comments section where folks can share their stories. Take a look. See what they have to say. Get to know each other.

Over the years, as you all share your stories with us, we’ve gotten to know you just a tiny bit. And we are proud to know you. Thank you all so much.