Thousands of people on Christmas day will open charity gift cards donating goats, sheep and other vital supplies to poverty-stricken African farmers. However, many will be unaware that their cash is not earmarked for a specific animal, but diverted into general fundraising activities.
Attacked as a “gross dishonesty” by the Charities Advisory Trust, which advises charities on how to raise money more effectively, the practice of “giving a goat” at Christmas has been a lucrative and increasingly popular fundraising tactic for charities.
But recipients of these gift and e-cards will seldom read the small print, which admits the animals are little more than an emotive marketing technique used to solicit general donations.
Oxfam Unwrapped, which has sold £60m of ethical gifts since 2004, does not guarantee that the funds raised will ultimately be used for a defined purpose. Promising to “get your gift where it’s needed most”, the online small print states: “This kind of flexibility means that poor communities worldwide can get exactly what they need if and when their circumstances change.”