I went on a trip and thought...


When you visit your Partners you can often build up good relationships with the partner staff you meet and we really hope that is the case.

Seeing the great work they do and being inspired by them as individuals, you can often feel motivated to try and keep a strong direct link with the individuals or the partner.

Sometimes the question ‘Why not go direct?’ comes up, why not email directly all the time, do I really need to give or support through Tearfund and wouldn't it be easier just to go direct?

We believe that as you journey with us, you’ll see the value that we bring to the relationship you have with your Partner and if you are thinking of going it alone, here are a few things to consider.

Holding a relationship with a donor takes time and energy: If every group or individual who visited your partner linked to them directly, your partner wouldn't have the time to do the amazing work they are doing to serve the poor. Tearfund helps to free up partner time by linking up with you.

What happens when you give? When you give funds (or even gifts which are considered in the same way,) you have a responsibility to ensure that the resources you give are used appropriately.

Tearfund has specialist systems and people in place to ensure that funds are spent as wisely and honestly as possible, keeping you and your Partners safe.

Do you have the right knowledge? Over many years we've learnt a lot about poverty issues. Tearfund has professional staff who have been trained for many years, and can ensure that people living in poverty are helped in the best possible way.

Are you able to truly understand the culture? Working across cultures and in partnership is a challenging task. Get it wrong and relationships can fall apart very quickly, with people on both sides getting hurt.

Tearfund's staff have huge experience in this, and can help relationships between what are sometimes very different cultures flourish.

Can you help them grow? As well as supporting projects, Tearfund also invests in strengthening your Partners in many different ways so that they can better serve the poor. This can really make project funds go further and have a greater impact.


When you’re visiting a Partner, it’s not long before you see a need around you that no one seems to be doing anything about.

It’s natural that you want to do something to help and you may be wise to consider, is it possible that something is already being done or that there are good reasons why your Partner is not helping with that issue directly?

Some Partners have specific focuses and visions. No one can do everything, and normally you have to choose one issue over another or one group of people over another.

It can often be better to link people in need to other organisations and help, rather than to try and do something yourself when you do find a need.

Sadly, Tearfund can’t fund everything that partners want to do.

Even if we could, it wouldn't be wise to have a partner dependent on funding from one source.

We therefore choose specific parts of our Partners’ work that fits with a plan to alleviate poverty in their countries.


You might come across some work your Partner is doing that Tearfund is not funding.

Partners do many amazing things through their work. Much of it overlaps with Tearfund's vision, but often not all.

Partnerships work best where you’re working towards a common vision together, so sometimes we only fund parts of what a Partner is doing.

We’re also trying to focus on the things that are driving poverty rather than the symptoms that can present.

We’re in it for the long haul rather than a quick fix.

Sometimes as well, whilst some partner projects are trying to meet a need, our experience and learning suggest that there are some real shortfalls in a project, so we choose not to fund it.

We’d be happy to talk with you about why we’re not seeking to support the bit of work you've seen to see how we might come to an accord together as we at Tearfund seek to outwork what it means for us to continue following Jesus where the need is greatest.


When you visit your partner’s work you’ll often been shown many projects that a trying to make a difference in people’s lives.

You’ll certainly have lots of questions and you’ll be trying to understand what’s going on in each one.

Sometimes you can come away from this experience with unanswered questions, or a feeling that not enough is being done, or being done well enough.

Ninety nine percent of the time there are great answers to your questions and concerns. You may need to ask questions in a different way, ask a different staff member, or work with a translator.

If you’re worried your questions may cause offence please ask us, not the partner.

Always remember the country you are in is not the UK!

There are differences in the resources available for health and safety standards, to pay professional staff, or for expensive materials.

So while things are much better for those in the project than they were without a project, they are unlikely to be perfect, or what you might expect in the UK.

Sometimes the benefit is hidden - many social enterprises make very little if any profit.

You might be focusing on how they could do it a whole lot better and so be missing the incredible benefits that the staff and volunteers in the initiative are getting by being part of it.

Sometimes the bottom line is the growth and learning of individuals rather than the biggest financial return on investment.

Overall, visiting a project for a few hours or days, you may not get to grips with everything that’s going on, and may not get a full picture.

Sometimes you have to trust that your Partners know best and if there is ever anything that you're unsure of we would love to chat it through with you.