World Gifts is CAFOD’s virtual giving scheme. Back when it started in 2003, it was one of the first virtual gift schemes out there. We wanted to find a way for people to engage tangibly with our work and support CAFOD around Christmas, and so World Gifts was born. World Gifts is arguably for everyone – mainly individuals buy them as gifts for their loved ones, but schools and parishes do fundraise to either buy one more expensive gift, or lots of less expensive gifts.
Although World Gifts is a fun way to support CAFOD, it’s also a great way to hear about different areas of our work. Even people who work at CAFOD say they didn’t realise some of the things we do when they read a World Gifts case study.
The most popular World Gifts… and why?
The Keep clean kit, new this year, is also proving very popular. I think these gifts are well-liked because they’re easy to understand. Here in the UK we can take for granted having the opportunity to learn to read, or access to clean running water, but everyone can appreciate how vital these are. With the Happy queen bee gift I think partly it’s because it’s our bargain gift, at just £4, but also because everyone loves bees!
We’ve been particularly busy this year. If you’ve bought World Gifts before, you’ll notice we’ve given ourselves a revamp. We hope you love it as much as we do. The designs are new but World Gifts works in just the same way – a great way to buy someone a gift while also donating to charity.
The pandemic has really emphasised the importance of good hand-hygiene, and we’re generally all getting used to wearing masks to keep us all safe from infection. For some people living in poverty, access to soap and masks is limited, so people can’t keep as clean as they like, or feel like they can’t go outside. This simple gift provides soap, reusable facemasks and detergent for a family. Keeping people safe and giving them the confidence to go outside to buy necessities, work and go to school.
Messages of hope £67
Again, based on the work CAFOD has been doing with local experts to keep remote communities safe during the pandemic. This gift provides a loudspeaker so that people can go into remote areas with factual advice on how to try and keep safe during the pandemic. Local leaders in communities are trusted, so enabling them to reach lot of people at once means more people can stay safe with the correct information.
Perfect for an extra special gift, or something to fundraise for as a group. We’ve all come to realise the importance of PPE to keep our health workers safe, and to give people confidence to seek medical help when they need it.
Emergency food £50
Having access to food after a crisis is always essential. In the wake of the Beirut explosion, our partners were distributing emergency food and water on the same day, to people who’s homes had been destroyed. If a crisis happens now, on top of the pandemic, this need will be greater than ever. We haven’t had this gift for a few years but it seemed particularly important to bring it back this year!
Solar lamp £30
This is another gift that we have brought back. A brilliant way to give an eco-friendly gift. As we’re all spending more time indoors, having light to live by is even more essential. A solar lamp replaces candles and kerosene lamps which produced nasty fumes, allowing children to do their homework, and adults to read, cook and work by without fearing illness from the pollution.
Listening centre £50
This gift can bring comfort to women who have suffered sexual violence and are no longer welcomed by their community. Unfortunately a common occurrence during times of conflict, the listening centre provides women with a safe place to receive medical aid and psychological help to heal from their experiences. They also learn practical skills to help earn an income and their children are supported through education.
We know that this year has been particular hard when it comes to seeing our loved ones. Many of us are facing restrictions that limit our movement and our socialising, and we’re all wondering what Christmas will bring.
To make things a little simpler, we have created a new way for you to send your World Gifts. Rather than ordering cards to personalise and then give your cards in person, or post on, you can now write a personalised message online, and send the card directly to your loved one.
Choose the “Post Direct” option when selecting how you want to send your card. In a year where there is so much uncertainty around who we will be able to see, we really hope that this option helps people to feel a bit more connected.
How has the pandemic affected World Gifts this year?
I think people are turning to World Gifts more than they normally would. Perhaps because most of us can’t go out shopping at the moment. Or because many of us have reassessed what’s important to us this year, so a charity gift seems the best thing to give. The website has certainly seen a lot more orders coming through as people turn more and more to online ways to support CAFOD.
From a group fundraising perspective, I think it has been really challenging. We normally send out batches of World Gifts catalogues to parishes all over England and Wales, but with lockdown restrictions, we’ve had to postpone that in England. But I have heard about schools and parishes still managing to fundraise, sometimes converting their usual activities into virtual ones. People have really used their imagination, which is brilliant. And I know people see World Gifts as quite an uplifting thing to engage with at this difficult time.
How can you get involved?
Buy a World Gift! You can see the full range at cafod.org.uk/worldgifts or you can order via the catalogue (you can order more free catalogues here) if you’ve got your hands on one of those. Already done that? You could see if anyone in your parish or school wants to fundraise for World Gifts.
Or you could just spread the word, whether on social media, in your parish bulletin or just chatting to your friends. We know the more people who hear about World Gifts, the better! I also know that right now is a really hard time financially for a lot of people. World Gifts start from just £4, but they’re also available all year round. So if you can’t buy a World Gift now, you can always do it for another occasion.
Giving a World Gift changes lives and brings happiness!
If you’d like more information on how to send a World Gift this Christmas, click here.
You can read our official World Gifts 2020 press release here.