Heifer International: Part One – A Charity for People Who Love Baby Ducks.

Earlier this year, I held what I thought was going to be a little photo contest. The response surprised me; hundreds of people sent in almost a thousand photos. People dressed up, stripped naked, and climbed onto rooftops. It was an eye opener for me. I realized that there were a lot of folks out there who *really* liked the book.

Ever since, I’ve been thinking about what sort of contest I’d like to run next. Fanart contest? Video contest? Something for the writers out there? What sort of prizes would people be interested in? Posters? Signed books? Sneak peeks of books to come?

But then I had a better idea.

Eventually, I will run the contests I mentioned above. There will be good times. We will revel in our shared geekery. Blogs will be writ. Prizes will be had.

But first, I’m hoping to direct some of this energy in a slightly different direction. If I’m going to hand out prizes, I’d like it to be for a good cause. Something I believe we all have in common….

I believe that deep down, people are good. I believe that most of us would go out of our way to take care of baby ducks.

My favorite charity is called Heifer International. They are a great force for good in the world, and I’d like to help them raise some money.

There are a lot of worthwhile charities out there. Important causes. Things I feel strongly about. But Heifer is my favorite. Here’s why.

Let’s say by some miracle I raised ten thousand dollars to help fight cancer, or Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s. While it would help the cause, it would just be a tiny drop in the bucket. Enough to help fund some lab’s research for a couple weeks.

But we don’t need to research a cure for hunger or poverty. We know how that works. Heifer doesn’t just hand out bags of rice, Heifer gives a family a goat and teaches them how to take care of it. Then that family has a continual source of milk for their children. They can sell the extra milk to make money. When the goat has babies, they give those babies to other members of their community, sharing the gift.

Heifer helps people become self-reliant. As someone who has just recently become self-reliant, I know what a nice feeling that is.

My Mom loved Heifer. Every Christmas I would donate enough money for a goat, then give it to her as a present. I remember the first year I did it. She opened the envelope where I had drawn a crude picture of a goat and a happy stick-figure child.

She knew what it meant right off the bat. “Oh! I love it!” she said. And she got a little weepy, because she loved nothing better than helping people who needed it. She had a heart as big as the sky.

This is why I love Heifer. If we raise a couple thousand dollars for them, it will make peoples’ lives better. A couple thousand dollars means little kids get milk to drink. It means families get sheep, which means wool for warm blankets and clothes. It means better wells, so moms with babies can have clean water to drink.

I think this is something we can all get behind, can’t we?

So here’s my plan, the bare bones version.

1. You will help by spreading the word, and making donations.

2. I will match all of the donations, dollar for dollar.

3. We both have a big warm fuzzy feeling in our chests that lets us know we’ve helped make the world a better place.

4. Finally, as a gesture of my appreciation, I will supply gifts for the people who participated: Signed books, maps, sneak peaks of book two, stuff like that.

This blog is to explain *why* I’m doing this. The details about *how* are over here on THIS BLOG. There are links to my Heifer Team page and details about the prizes. So hop on over there and check it out.

Excitedly yours,


This entry was posted in baby ducks, mom, Worldbuilders 2008By Pat22 Responses


  1. Anonymous
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 1:49 AM | Permalink

    Is Heifer still doing an Ark? Two of every animal they offer? If so, I think that should be our community goal.

  2. Lucid Lunatic
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

    Argh, the identity thing for Blogger isn’t friendly to anything except other blogger/google accounts. The above comment was me. If I remember correctly an ark was only $2000 or so, back in the day. That may have risen since.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 2:41 AM | Permalink

    This is just… amazing. I am at a loss of words right now. You are just the most wonderful person ever. Can you be my hero?

  4. Louise
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 2:44 AM | Permalink

    The Ark is $5000 now. I’d never heard of Heifer International, but they seem to be a really great charity. I’m quite picky about what charities I support, ’cause so much of the donation usually goes on admin rather than the cause. I think this one makes my list – thanks Pat. Louise xx

  5. Sailor Matt
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 3:19 AM | Permalink

    I’m in! I’m totally in! Ok, off to read blog #2…

  6. Ted
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 3:45 AM | Permalink

    Pat. You rock. I love baby ducks!

  7. Karyn
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

    For the last 12 years my best friend & I have exchanged llamas on our birthdays (we’ll be at 24 llamas next month), so I’m happy and excited to see this organization get some more press.Thanks for doing this.

  8. Brandy
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    If I loved you any more, I think I’d explode.Not only are you funny, eloquent, the author of my favorite book, but you’re also a nifty human being.Mmmmmwaugh! (big v-kiss)

  9. Anonymous
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    this may get bigger than expected, Pat. My folks just donated a little over $2k. No joke. I’ll get the actual figure for you.– Jeff Rice

  10. Anonymous
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    ok – Nevermind. They donated directly through the charity’s website, so I guess that donation doesn’t count toward the goal. Either way, the word’s getting out for the cause. Kudos to you for that, Pat!-JR

  11. marky
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    JR. Your folks are legends. 2k!! Truly wonderful people. You should be well proud of them. Bravo!

  12. elly rainbow
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

    i absolutely love this program. it’s what we are doing for Christmas this year in our immediate family. i’m pushing for a Flock of Chicks… :D

  13. Rachel
    Posted November 12, 2008 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    What a wonderful, wonderful idea, Pat. Let’s do it!

  14. BranDanna
    Posted November 15, 2008 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

    In your charity, like any righteous protagonist or superhero using their talent for some good in the world, you are inspiring us to share in this benevolence! Thanks Pat!

  15. Chris, The Book Swede
    Posted November 29, 2008 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    This is so very cool! :) I’m blogging about this today, and I’ve popped off an email to Neil Gaiman on his FAQ thing, as I think he’d like something like this on his blog :D

  16. mistyeq
    Posted December 12, 2008 at 3:29 AM | Permalink

    This is fantastic. This week is like a perfect storm of Heifer International info for me. Yesterday, I got to work and found the gift brochure on my desk. It was a joke from a coworker who knows how much I love animals but doesn’t know much about Heifer (I’ve been riding horses since I was a kid, helped disabled kids ride, do farm work with friends, work in a vet clinic, etc.). Then another friend blogged about your fundraiser! Then another friend told me how part of our college group’s funds went to Heifer… it’s just great! I’m making a donation tonight!

  17. Sherrlyn Photojournalist
    Posted March 29, 2009 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

    Sherrlyn of http://www.lovesimplyhappens.blogspot.com says…I’m so happy to learn about Heifer!!!. I am a photojournalist and recently came back from the Congo. I was there on a grant and hope to go back. I met 9-year-old Belice and her family. The soldiers had raped her. Her family fled the village and returned a month later.They found their goats had all been stolen and their home dismantled and also stolen. I need ideas as to how to help them. I’d like to go back and finish the story. Right now am shooting weddings and putting what I can aside for Belice and her village. There are some pictures of her on my blog. Thanks for reading Sherrlyn

5 Trackbacks

  • By Coming Soon: Worldbuilders 2010 on October 25, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    […] If you want more details, you can check out last year’s fundraiser over here. If you’re curios as to how all this started, you can read this blog here. […]

  • […] 2008, Rothfuss wrote to his blog readers, “If we raise a couple thousand dollars for them, it will make peoples’ lives better. A couple […]

  • […] 2008, Rothfuss wrote to his blog readers, “If we raise a couple thousand dollars for them, it will make peoples’ lives better. A couple […]

  • […] un autore esordiente, pubblicato da appena un anno. Sulla base di un impulso momentaneo decisi di provare a raccogliere fondi per Heifer International sul mio blog. Come potete immaginare le cose andarono rapidamente fuori controllo man mano che […]

  • By My 2014 Neil Gaiman Thread | book / art / love on January 2, 2015 at 6:19 PM

    […] awesome run a fundraiser under the name Worldbuilders to raise money for Heifer International. In a 2008 blog post the author explains why he runs Worldbuilders. The thread here is Mr. Gaiman helps him raise money […]

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