So for the last couple of years, Worldbuidlers has put out a calendar to help raise money for charity.
This year, we decided to up our game and put out TWO calendars:
The first one we put together with help from Heifer International itself to showcase the good work they do all over the world:
The second is filled with joyful geekery, featuring a bunch of cool fantasy authors… and me.
Right now, both of these calendars are up for sale in our online store, The Tinker’s Packs.
If you want, you could hop over right now and buy them. But if you’d like more details first….
- The Heifer Calendar:
One of the things that’s always bothered me about charity fundraisers is that they frequently center around guilt and pity.
We’ve all seen the TV commercials. They show you starving, desperate children and say, “For the price of a cup of coffee, you can feed this child. Not even fancy coffee. We’re talking shitty truck-stop coffee with powdered creamer in it. Not that you would ever drink that. Today you had a half-decaf mocha with blueberry syrup and extra whip that cost you six bucks, you fat, disgusting American bastard.”
I’m paraphrasing, of course. But you know what I’m talking about. You see one of those commercials and if you have any empathy at all… well… it’s just crushing. Whenever I saw one, it always made me feel helpless and hopeless.
The first time I ever saw something different was Sarah Mclachlan’s video, World On Fire. Way back in 2004.
The premise for the video was this: They took the $150,000 a video normally costs, and put that money toward different charitable causes instead.
After all these years, I still remember one moment in the video where they said they’d helped send kids to school. Then they showed a picture of this little girl sitting in a classroom. And she was *so* fucking happy to be going to school and learning things. She was beaming with joy.
A screw it, I’ll just post the video here so you can see it yourself if you want….
The part I’m talking about is right at the 1 minute mark.
I remember watching that video, and thinking “This. Is. Awesome. What Sarah McLachlin has done here is Awesome.”
Then, after a moment, I remember thinking, “I want to be awesome too.”
What’s my point? Here’s my point.
When we decided to put together our own Heifer International themed calendar, that’s the feeling I wanted to replicate. I didn’t want people to feel guilty or sad or depressed at the state of the world.
I wanted you to look at this calendar and think: This is Awesome. What Heifer is doing is Awesome.
So our calendar is full of stories of people that Heifer has helped over the years. People who got a little help, then used those resources to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
Stuff like this:
After working on their own for 21 years, the women in Azacualpa village saw things begin to change in 2005 when 22 families received heifers from Heifer International.
Four years later, in 2009, they received chickens and completed two rounds of Passing on the Gift, sharing chickens with other families in their community. Seeing the positive results from these first two projects, the women wanted to try something a bit more ambitious.
“We wanted something more to do to generate more income,” said Maria Elsa (bottom left, with her husband and grandchildren). From this, the Southern Cashew Enterprise Association was born, with Maria serving as president.
Heifer provided the materials and hired builders to construct the storage rooms and ovens for this cashew enterprise. They also provided 200 cashew tree seedlings.
In 2012, a drought destroyed most of the area’s corn harvest. The cashew business, however, along with the ability to sell eggs and milk from their livestock, still provided income for the families in Maria’s village.
Maria gets almost four gallons of milk a day; she uses one gallon for her family and sells the rest.
Victoriano Gonzalez, Maria’s husband, said, “I never expected to see a cow in my yard and now we have four.” While the women work, their husbands have taken over more of the household chores.
“Now our husbands bring us food while we are working,” Maria said.
This! This is what it’s all about. Heifer helps people, then those people help themselves. Then they help *other* people help themselves.
And you *don’t* have to shell out 60 cents a day, every day, forever, just to keep some poor kid from starving. When I did that, I felt like I was throwing stones into a well. I felt like it would never *really* make things better.
But here’s the thing: you send some money to Heifer, and they use it to help people make significant, long-term changes in their lives. Now when I donate money, it feels like I’m throwing a stone and Heifer is making sure that stone lands in *just* the right place so that it triggers an avalanche of awesome that will go on for decades, improving the lives of thousands of people.
If you buy this calendar, you are throwing a stone too. I hope that every day you look at it and think: That is awesome. And I am awesome too because I helped.
- The Beyond Words Fantasy Calendar:
The second calendar we’re doing this year is fantasy-themed. But unlike last year’s calendar that focused on fantasy characters. This calendar focuses on the authors themselves.
For example, Brandon Sanderson:
As you can see, the point wasn’t to dress up the authors as something out of their own books. (Gregory isn’t dressed up as someone from Wicked, for example.) This was a chance to… well… to do something fun and cool.
There are a lot of cool authors involved in this project, including:
If you’d like to see more of the pictures, you can peek at some more over in The Tinker’s Packs.
- A special offer:
Now I can hear many of you out there howling, “How can I possibly choose between these two awesome calendars? I love Heifer, but I’m also a big geeky fan of [insert author name here]!!”
First off, rest assured that if you buy *either* of these calendars, money will go toward supporting Heifer International.
But really, why buy only one calendar? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a calendar in your office AND in your kitchen? A calendar at home *and* a calendar at work?
And what about Christmas presents? Think of those older relatives that are hard to shop for. Do you really want to give them another kitten calendar? A scented candle? No. You really don’t.
But if you give them a Heifer Calendar, you can explain to them how the money went to a *really* good cause. Then they get to feel awesome, too.
- If you buy two calendars, you get $5 off.
- If you buy three calendars, you get $10 off.
You can mix and match to your heart’s content. Here’s the link the the calendar combo deals on The Tinker’s Packs.
- The fine details:
A few other things you might want to know:
2. The Beyond Words calendar isn’t *quite* back from the printer yet.
It should be finished in a week or so. And we’ll be shipping it soon after. That’s why it’s listed in the store as a pre-order.
So if you order a calendar bundle including Beyond Worlds, we’ll wait until *all* your calendars are ready before we mail them. It will take a little longer, but shipping is much cheaper that way.
3. Last year, a lot of people complained that while the calendar was attractive, it was hard to use.
The reason for this was that the re was little functional space for writing down doctor’s appointments, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
We’ve fixed that this year. Both our calendars have nice, big colored boxes for you to write in.
- Being in the Loop:
As you all know, I end up being really busy. That means I don’t always get to write blogs as quickly as I’d like.
This blog is a great example of that. I’ve been working on it for days.
But the people who follow The Tinker’s Packs on Facebook and Twitter heard about the calendars almost a week ago. That means they’ve already had a chance to place their orders, and in some cases have already received their calendars, giving them the chance to be very smug among their geek friends.
If you want to make sure you don’t miss stuff like this, it would be a good idea to follow those accounts. Especially as I don’t always blog about everything we put up in the store, and a lot of time, items are limited….
More cool things happening soon. Really soon. Stay tuned.
P.S. If you’d like to sell some of our calendars in your store, or just buy in bulk, drop us a line at email@example.com.
P.P.S. If you’d like to help out Worldbuilders in some other way, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.