This Frequently Asked Questions section will help clarify some of the complexities of our product donation program. If you have concerns that have not been addressed, please call us at 1-800-642-1616. We are happy to answer any additional questions.
Products commonly needed in our relief and development work include: pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, clothing and shoes, basic hygiene items, baby product, blankets and bedding, school supplies and educational materials, sporting goods and toys, seeds and tools for agricultural development, and building materials.
Virtually all GIK from World Vision United States are brand new products from businesses. Even those products, such as SchoolTools backpacks assembled by business, church and school groups, are new products, which are inspected by World Vision staff prior to shipping.
Often, good-hearted people want to send items they have. While their motives are encouraging, these donations from individuals often are not what is needed to best support our work. Individuals sending used clothes or small items would not be as effective as a monetary donation to GIK, which would be the best way for them to make an impact where aid is needed.
While GIK can be one of the best resources in relief situations, the majority of GIK currently goes towards development activities. Examples include using GIK as incentives for community leadership participation, using GIK as resource inputs for micro-enterprise activities (i.e. providing cloth for sewing cooperatives or providing sewing machines as start-up capital), providing clothing to children to keep them in school, and GIK-For-Work programs.
World Vision United States can ship any quantity of GIK around the world. With rare exceptions such as emergency airlifts or donated air freight, most products are shipped in 20- or 40-foot ocean-going containers for the greatest cost effectiveness. We will try to ship to any country, but may be limited by high shipping costs to landlocked countries or more likely, cannot send a container to countries that do not offer duty-free clearance.
World Vision and our partner agencies recognize that although GIK is donated instead of purchased, it is not without costs. GIK is no different than cash resources. World Vision ensures that adequate staff, transportation, warehousing and tracking systems are provided.
The difference between GIK and other cash resources is that because of the high leverage value of GIK (i.e. $1 of cash may provide up to $50 worth of products), GIK allows World Vision programs to accomplish far more than they could with cash resources alone.
We have found this fluctuation to be beneficial because it helps prevent dependency by the recipients. Dependency occurs when community expectations are raised in anticipation of receiving in the future what they have received in the past. Product differentiation actually undermines this negative potential and assists World Vision staff in developing even more creative means of using GIK in their programs.
Donated products are seen as integral to emergency relief and development work, not just “extras.” More importantly, because of the high leverage factor, much more can be achieved with GIK than could be done with cash alone.