Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about TEAR's Useful Gifts. If your question is not answered here, please contact us.

Useful Gifts Top

How do Gift Vouchers work?

A Really Useful Gift Voucher is like any other voucher you might pass on to a friend. It’s a credit to use in our online store or catalogue. Rather than giving someone a specific gift from the catalogue, they can choose which gift they’d like the donation to be contributed to.

  • Gift vouchers are delivered to you by email. You can then pass them on to your gift recipient.
  • Gift vouchers come with instructions on how to redeem them at checkout.
  • They have no additional processing fees.
  • Gift vouchers expire after 12 months.

What happens when I purchase a Gift Voucher?

  1. When you buy a Gift Voucher, you’ll receive a tax-deductible receipt.
  2. We will issue you a Voucher with a unique code for you to give to your gift recipient.
  3. Using the unique code, the recipient will be able to pay for gifts they select from the Useful Gifts Catalogue.

How is a Gift Voucher allocated to a project?

  • Gift Vouchers used within the same financial year as they were issued will be allocated to the programs associated with the gift choice.
  • Gift Vouchers used after the same financial year of issue will be allocated where needed most, to the development work of TEAR's partners.
  • For example;
    • If a Gift Voucher issued in the same financial year is used to purchase a toilet, it will be allocated to Water and Sanitation programs.
    • If the Gift Voucher is used after the financial year of issue, the person using the voucher will still be able to receive a gift of their choice, but the value of their Gift Voucher will be allocated where needed most, to allow TEAR to close off our books at the end of the financial year.
Can I order by phone, fax, or post?

Yes. You can order items from the Gift Catalogue by phone, fax, or post:

  • Call TEAR Australia: (+61) (03) 9264 7000 or (toll free) 1800 244 986 Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm EST (GMT +11)
  • Download an order form (pdf), and post or fax it to us:
    • Fax: (+61) (03) 9877 7944
    • Post:
      TEAR Australia
      PO Box 164
      VIC 3130
How soon can I get my printed gift cards?

Australian orders

It depends on the time of year: In October-November, your order will be processed within 2-5 working days; in December, it will take 2-3 days. The rest of the year it normally takes 2-5 working days. Please allow additional time for postage.

You may also choose to have your cards sent by Express Post ($6 extra). Please allow 2-3 days, Australia only. Express Post cards will normally be sent the same day if the order is made before 1:30pm EST. Please note: Express Post only operates in these areas within Australia.

International orders

We cannot ship printed cards outside Australia, but you can still order the digital cards, E-cards, or gift vouchers, which are delivered by email.

What about print-your-own cards?

Print-your-own cards are sent as soon as the order has been finalised. They should arrive within a few minutes. When you buy print-your-own cards, you will be able to download the card after you check-out. You will also be sent an email receipt with a link to download the card.

Can TEAR send a printed card to my friend instead of me?

We prefer to send the cards to the person ordering them as it's always best if the card is filled in by the gift giver. If time is an issue, why not consider a gift voucher or print-your-own card?

NOTE: We do NOT write on your cards—they are delivered to you to personalise.

Can I get a certificate instead of a card?

Yes. If you're part of a group and would prefer a certificate rather than a gift card, please let us know how you'd like the certificate made out, and we can send you one.

Are Useful Gifts tax-deductible?

Yes. Each purchase of a Useful Gift is a tax-deductible donation to 'TEAR Fund (Australia) Developing Countries Aid Fund' or TEAR Australia - ABN 85 085 413 832.

How are your printed cards made?

Our printed cards are made according to ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standards.

Can I have the receipt made out to the person receiving the card?

Sorry, no. The money received is a donation to TEAR Australia so the donor must receive the receipt.

When I buy a gift, such as a toilet or a goat, does that actual item get 'delivered' to the project?

No. Your purchase of a specific gift is representative of the type of community development work done by our projects. For example, the purchase of a toilet helps to support the work of our Water and Sanitation projects. These project may well install toilets, but they also provide training and education in hygiene, safe water practices, and maintenance of equipment, such as wells and water systems. Likewise, a goat contributes to our Livelihoods and Food Security programs, where communities are provided the skills and tools to transform their lives through better agriculture techniques, training and resources. Some projects will provide goats, and other animals, but they are part of a wider picture of community development.

Donating through the Useful Gifts Catalogue: How does it work?

All items in the Useful Gifts Catalogue are supplied by one or more projects. Should the number of items sold or the funds raised by any of the gifts in this catalogue exceed the amount needed for the projects those gifts are intended to fund, TEAR Australia will redirect donations to other development work. This appeal closes on 30 September 2016. Donations received after that date will be directed towards comparable items in TEAR’s 2017-2018 Gift Catalogue. Any gift purchased on a recurring gift basis will go to a similar gift or sector after the appeal date.

Can I get a photo of the actual item I'm purchasing, or write to the people in the village I'm supporting?

Sorry, no. Because TEAR supports local agencies working to use their funds in the most appropriate way, extra services like individual photos, translation for letters, postage and attributing specific items to specific donors are beyond their capacity. Nor would TEAR provide extra funding for this type of activity when that money could be used for essential development work. We understand that building up a 'personal' connection with the gifts can be desirable, but it is simply too expensive for TEAR to consider.

Can I still buy gifts from last year's Gift Catalogue if they aren't in this year’s?

Not all of the projects supported by TEAR Australia are able to be represented in the Gift Catalogue - after all, there are more than 160 of them! However, this doesn't mean we no longer support them. To reduce our administration, we do not guarantee to match previous year’s gifts to their previous funds and projects. We do keep a limited stock of previous catalogue cards, and it is likely we can supply a card from a previous year’s catalogue. For others, even though they're no longer Gift Catalogue items specifically, TEAR Australia is likely to be continuing support, with funds raised from general giving (unless the item is more than a few years old). If you have a particular gift in mind please contact TEAR.

What if any gift is oversubscribed?

If any gift is oversubscribed, TEAR will use your donation to fund similar activities in the following areas: agriculture and livelihood development, community health, education, civil society or environmental sustainability.

TEAR Australia Top

What does 'TEAR' stand for?

TEAR was set up in 1971 by the Australian Evangelical Alliance and was called The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund (TEAR Fund). In 1998 TEAR Fund became legally independent and was renamed TEAR Australia. The byline 'Transform, Empower, Advocate, Restore' has been adopted as a description of the work we do.

TEAR Australia is a Christian relief, development and advocacy agency responding to the needs of poor communities around the world. Our motivation comes from our belief that God loves all people, and in Christ offers them the opportunity of a new life. We believe that God is just, and has particular care for the poor and those who suffer as victims of injustice.

We work in partnership with other Christian groups, including churches, relief and development agencies and community-based organisations, which are working with the poor in their communities. We seek to build effective relationships with these partners, grounded in mutual respect, trust and accountability.

Priority is given to those programs that strive to involve the most marginalized and exploited members of each community, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.

Does TEAR fund evangelism?

No. TEAR's policy is to finance the relief, development and advocacy activities of organisations who are motivated by their faith in Christ, and by their desire to demonstrate the depth of God's commitment to justice, to mercy and to the poor. We do not fund proselytizing activities, but we rejoice and celebrate when we know of people whose lives have been wonderfully and beautifully enriched by the embrace of God in Christ. We long to see this happen. We pray for it to happen. But we will not support any attempt to misuse relief and development activities to manipulate people into the church. We believe such attempts lack integrity, result in poor development, and dishonour the One who is our motivation.

Fundraising and Donations Top

How much of my donation reaches the project?

The price of each item in this Gift Catalogue includes a small percentage for administration.

For the financial year ended 30 June 2016, 88% of TEAR's total expenditure was spent on programs within Australia and overseas. This consisted of 79% for the aid and development program and 9% for community education within Australia.

Fundraising expenses, such as the production and distribution of the Gift Catalogue and the processing of orders/donations, accounted for 5% of total expenditure. Administrative expenses include bank fees, administration staff salaries and computer expenses. These help support the running of the overall organisation and accounted for 7% of total expenditure for the financial year.

If you would like a copy of the full financial statement, please go to TEAR's website. or contact us on 1800 244 986.

Does TEAR use street fundraisers ('chuggers')?

No, we don't, for two main reasons. Firstly, TEAR has a commitment to educating people in Australia about the causes of poverty and encouraging our supporters to think about how their life choices can impact communities across the world. So rather than “rattling a tin”, we prefer fundraising methods where we can engage with people, share stories, and provide opportunities for learning.

Secondly, we believe that the cost of this fundraising approach is too high. While we recognise that all fundraising entails costs, we aim to use our budget in this area as wisely as possible, so that the money we are entrusted with can be used where needed most. In the financial year ended June 2014, only 5% of TEAR's income was spent on fundraising. If you would like a copy of the full financial statement, please go to TEAR's website or contact us on 1800 244 986.

How do I know the money gets there?

TEAR Australia is audited by registered company auditors and accredited by the Australian Government. TEAR is a signatory to the ACFID (Australian Council for International Development) Code of Conduct, representing our commitment to ethical standards in governance, financial management and public accountability. For a copy of our annual report, call (toll free) 1800 244 986 or visit TEAR's website.

Can I pay with PayPal?

Yes, we accept payment with PayPal. However, please note:

  • PayPal charges us higher fees compared to a regular credit card payment. This means less of your money goes to those who need it.
  • It creates more administrative burden (as we have to administer money through Paypal as well as our normal process)
  • PayPal can delay payments to us between 3-5 business days.

More Questions? Top

If you have more questions, try the TEAR website, or please contact us.