Over several years, World Vision U.S. has developed relationships with both Major League Baseball and the National Football League. From those relationships, World Vision programs have benefited from their donations of time, as well as funding and products. Those resources are allocated based on program needs in both the United States and in the developing world.
More than 90 percent of our staff members come from the countries where they work, and, in many cases, reside in the communities where they serve. They are uniquely qualified to understand the needs of the children and families World Vision serves because of long-term relationships. Their understanding of a community’s needs and their ability to communicate those needs enable support offices, such as World Vision U.S., to build appropriate relationships with donors and acquire resources to meet those needs.
World Vision’s operating systems, standards, and processes help ensure that our supply chain allows for effective planning, sourcing, and delivery of all types of resources — time, financial, and product donations. Our commitment to continuous improvement helps ensure our systems are updated as needed to meet changing needs in communities we serve, and to incorporate best-in-industry techniques to improve our effectiveness in development, and our efficiency in the supply chain.
In addition, product donations of all types in support of our education, health, and economic development — along with disaster response programs — are considered revenue and have accurately determined fair values. The value of these products, as well as cash and public grants, comprise data for non-profit organizations, including World Vision, to calculate overhead rates. While overhead rates represent one measure of a non-profit’s performance, they are, by no means, the primary measure of effectiveness and efficiency.
Rather, program needs — both short-term and long-term — comprise the primary reason World Vision accepts product donations. Our staff determine whether to solicit or accept product donations based on requests from field offices or partner organizations; the feasibility and cost of shipping the products from the United States; and whether we can comply with any requirements of the donor. If all three of these criteria are not met, the donation will not be accepted or solicited.
Some individuals knowledgeable about the effectiveness of community programs in the developing world have contended that product donations, especially shirts and other clothing, is “bad aid,” and should play no role in the work of non-governmental organizations. Based on our more than 60 years of experience, World Vision respectfully disagrees.