Monday 18 November 2019

Smart Consumer: So, how do you feel about finding a camel or a goat in your stocking?

You can make sure your hard-earned cash goes to a good cause, says Aideen Sheehan

Everyone is feeling the squeeze right now, but for many charities it's make or break time for funding lifesaving projects in the new year.

But Irish people still intend spending more than anyone else in Europe this Christmas and charities are doing everything in their power to persuade them to divert some of that cash towards their charity.

Smart Consumer looked at what's available and we find out how much of what you spend will go to benefiting these causes.


Oxfam says Irish people have bought 140,000 Oxfam Unwrapped charity gifts over the last nine years, raising over €4m to benefit 500,000 people in countries such as Tanzania and Malawi.

They worked to keep costs as low as possible, with 90pc of the price of each gift going to purchase the item and support their overseas work, with 10pc reinvested to generate future income.

They also sold packs of eight Christmas cards for €5 and boxes of 20 cards for €7, with 70pc of the price supporting overseas work.

Some of the gifts available include:

• Breakfast for a child in southern Africa – €10

• Goat with training for families on how to keep and vaccinate them – €38

• Clutch of chicks for family in Zimbabwe and box of Fair Trade chocolates for recipient – €20

These can be purchased at, in local Oxfam shops, by post and by phone from 1850 30 40 55 or Northern Ireland 0800 030 4055.

International children's charity UNICEF says their audited accounts show 75pc of the price of each gift or pack of Christmas cards goes to the charity.

For example, from a pack of 10 Christmas cards costing €9.50, €7.12 went to UNICEF.

Some of the gifts they offer include:

• Pencils for a school – €18

• Winter survival kit – €20 for child refugees from Syria, includes three fleece blankets and 300 micronutrient sachets.

• Unicef Christmas candle – €10

These can be bought at or from 01 878 3000 or at their UNICEF Ireland shop, Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1.

Trócaire says their gifts of change are a major fundraising initiative.

The entire cost price of these goes on their charitable work as their administrative and distribution costs come from their overall budget, not from the funds raised by selling the gifts.

Some of the gifts available include:

• Chickens for families in Malawi – €5

• School fees for children in Zimbabwe – €70

They can be bought on or by calling 1850 408 408 (0800 912 1200 from Northern Ireland).


Irish charity Bóthar, which supplies livestock to African families, says that Christmas gift giving is the "make or break" element of their annual budget.

Bóthar says 3pc of the cost price of gifts goes on administration and the rest goes directly to their projects.

Some of the gifts available include:

• Dairy goat for family in Tanzania – €300 or €75 for a share

• Snails for family in Cameroon to farm – €40 or €10 for a share

• Camel for family in Kenya – €200 or €50 for a share

Gifts can be purchased at or by calling 1850 829999.


Gorta says their Lifetime Gifts were their most important fundraising campaign with 100pc of the money going to their overseas work.

Some of the gifts available include:

• Mosquito nets – €12

• Goats, mother & kid – €35

• Self-sufficient Vegetable Garden – €50

These can be bought at, or by phone at 1850 80 80 80


Development agency Concern says that their gift campaign raised €453,000 last year, with gifts priced to suit all budgets. Some 90.8pc of funds received from their gifts went to their programmes. Their gifts include:

• Piglet for family in Uganda – €9

• Family survival pack for families hit by drought or earthquake with jerry cans for water, a blanket, mat and sheeting, cooking utensils and hygiene kit – €70

These can be bought at or by calling 1850 458 400.

World Vision Ireland

Overseas aid organisation World Vision Ireland says 80pc of its gift prices go towards work in the field, with 20pc used for generating funds through marketing and other overheads.

• Life Saving Superfood (Plumpynut) to provide nutrition for malnourished children, €5

• Two fruit trees to supply food and income, €5

• Five chickens to supply income and long-term food, €10

Gifts can be purchased from or by phone at 1850 366283.

Irish Independent

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