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  #1  
Old 09-02-2005, 11:24 PM
HelloKitty HelloKitty is offline
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What percent of Red Cross donations goes to victims?

Some of my relatives have said they don't want to donate to the Red Cross because "only 30% of the money goes to the victims". (I swear the crap these people come up with sometimes...)

Not sure where they got this nugget of wisdom because I couldn't find anything on the RC website, and I'm too tired right now to keep searching for something.

I know not all the $ donated will go to the affected regions, after all there are other needs throughout the country and the world. I wouldn't want help to other disasters to stop because of what's going on there. Plus I understand there are administration costs. (evidently they do not)

Any info on this?
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  #2  
Old 09-02-2005, 11:39 PM
SmartAlex SmartAlex is offline
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http://www.charitynavigator.org/inde...orgid/3277.htm

91cents of every dollar you donate will go to the victims. Sounds pretty good to me.
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  #3  
Old 09-02-2005, 11:57 PM
fluiddruid fluiddruid is offline
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Also, keep in mind that the American Red Cross does allow you to earmark funds for specific causes; it doesn't always just go into the big pool -- for example, one such fund is 2005 Hurricane Relief.

Just a WAG, I would imagine they would move funds out of such pools if they had too much money for the project than needed.
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2005, 11:22 AM
Stan Doubt Stan Doubt is offline
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Quote:
91cents of every dollar you donate will go to the victims. Sounds pretty good to me.
According to your cite (which is a profile of the Red Cross in general, not the hurricane relief effort/fund), 91 cents of every dollar goes to "program expenses" which is not literally the same as "to the victims". Perhaps it would be more correct to say 91 cents goes "to help the victims". I only point this out because "program expenses" potentially leaves a lot of wiggle room. Some, people, like Hellokitty's relatives, may feel certain "program expenses" are not justified, and cite that as a reason why the money is not going to the "victims".

Obviously, the neediest people affected by this disaster need goods and services more than they need money. An organization like the Red Cross has the organizational structure to provide these goods and services to try and make sure that peoples' basic needs are met. Unfortunately, there is no magic 100% efficient way to convert a pile of money to the relief of suffering.
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2005, 12:01 PM
gardentraveler gardentraveler is offline
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Give.org also breaks down expenses for major charities. Here's the Red Cross's report. It includes the information previously cited, but also includes information such as:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Give.org's report on the American Red Cross
Fund raising costs were 18% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $606,278,000, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
Not sure exactly how these funds are identified. For example, if someone goes to the Red Cross Web site and donates money on-line just because they happen to know about the Red Cross and happen to check the Web site, will that donation be included as a related contribution?
Although the Red Cross's overall expenses for fundraising are quite low (3%), the fundraising cost/contribution percentage is much higher than that of other charities listed on Give.org's Hurricane Katrina Relief Organizations page.
Of course, as Stan Doubt notes, it's important to take into account the fact that the Red Cross has the resources to actually make sure help gets to those who need it. There's a link at the bottom of the relief organization page that gives you tips on donating to relief agencies.

GT
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2005, 01:51 PM
fluiddruid fluiddruid is offline
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The benefit concert raised over $15 million for the American Red Cross' hurricane relief fund last night, only with the help of generous donations from people across the US and Canada.
One of the required questions was which fund the money needs to go for, to make sure people understood that they could put it towards the hurricane fund (as the majority did) or other funds.

I was working on this, and the phones were staffed by volunteer workers, many of whom stayed for 5 hours after their regular shift. Some even waited around 3 or 4 hours after their shifts before the phones were hooked up, because they can't afford their own car to ride back and forth to home.

I honestly can't say what percentage goes to the actual victims, but the Red Cross does have the ability to put the gears to work to get everything lined up quickly. The amount of work and effort involved, not only by the Red Cross but cooperating companies who assisted, was enormous.
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2005, 02:16 PM
HelloKitty HelloKitty is offline
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Thanks for the links, I'll be forwarding the info to my relatives to look over. They definitely want to give and I want to help them to make a good choice.
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2005, 05:50 PM
Kiminy Kiminy is offline
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It's also useful to keep in mind that simply handing money to the victims in a situation like this may not be the best solution, depending on how you want to translate "money going to the victims."

The Red Cross fields a LOT of volunteers to disaster areas. Since most of the volunteers have only time to donate, and cannot pay for transportation, the Red Cross usually pays for their transportation to the site.

The volunteers also have to eat while they are on site, and the Red Cross assumes the responsibility of providing food for the volunteers while they are on site (or en route to the site). This may be the same field rations they are handing out to survivors in a disaster like Katrina, or it might be restaurant food when times are better.

The volunteers also need housing, and the Red Cross provides that.

In exchange, the volunteers often put in 12-15 hour (or longer) days, doing whatever skills they can offer, often far from their own homes and families, for nothing more than room and board. Those skills can range from doing grunt labor of stacking sand bags or moving rubble, to first aid and triage, to comforting victims, to maintaining a contact database, to providing communication services so the victims can get messages to loved ones, to distributing food and supplies to the survivors. Money cannot do any of that all by itself, and in a large scale disaster, very few of the survivors are mentally or physically able to do these things for themselves.

The Red Cross also provides free training to its volunteers on a regular basis, and has an infrastructure in place to move people and supplies to where they need to be in a relatively short period of time. All of this costs money, but the money is spent toward helping the victims of a disaster, even if the money doesn't go directly into the victims' pockets.
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2005, 06:06 PM
Vlad/Igor Vlad/Igor is offline
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Ok, here's my experience:

On July 8th, I was activated by the Red Cross in anticipation of Hurricane Dennis. I and my partner drove ECRV 4710 to Birmingham, where we stayed in a hotel and had a $30/day expence allowance. Donations paid for the fuel we used and our accomodations. We received ~100 boxes of communication and computer equipment, and then sorted them out to be sent by rental truck to staging centers in Jackson, MS, Montgomery, AL, and Tallhassee, FL. My partner and I then drove to Tallahassee, where for the next 10 days we stayed in a hotel, still had $30/day food and expense allowance (which also included two laundry bills and $50 in diesel fuel to get us out of the Destin area that had no fuel). In Tallahassee, we, along with about 100 other volunteers created a service center in the cafeteria of a middle school there, where we coordinated food delivery trucks, case workers and damage assessment teams. I worked 12-14 hour days building and maintaining a satellite-linked computer system that allowed case workers to provide immediate, on-the-spot assistance to storm victims through the ARC headquarters. We eventually moved the Tallahassee operation, via rental cars and trucks to a donated, abandoned Goody's pad store in Mary Esther, FL. In preparation for Katrina, I and another crew member drove 4710 to Atlanta last Saturday on about 4 hours notice. We left at 9:00 pm, and arrived in Atlanta at 3:30am Sunday morning. We were then flown back to Louisville, Ky. The last I heard, the truck was in Slidell, LA with a crew of 2 from Louisville.

NONE of the volunteers are paid. I ate up 75 hours of personal vacation time from my employer, and averaged about $25 a day for expenses while out for Dennis. I would be out for Katrina, but I am in grad school, and can't skip class. Please tell you relatives that we are good stewards of donated money, and that it goes not only to victims, but to the ARC support structure that makes assistance possible. It is fundamentally impossible to bring aid to disaster victims without infrastructure and logistical costs. Money donated to the ARC, Salvation Army or most other relief organizations goes to providing disaster relief. Not all of it is direct assistance, but all of it is used to that end in one form or another.

Vlad/Igor
American Red Cross Disaster Relief Services
ECRV 4710, Louisville, KY
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  #10  
Old 09-04-2005, 12:04 AM
SmartAlex SmartAlex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan Doubt
According to your cite (which is a profile of the Red Cross in general, not the hurricane relief effort/fund), 91 cents of every dollar goes to "program expenses" which is not literally the same as "to the victims". Perhaps it would be more correct to say 91 cents goes "to help the victims". I only point this out because "program expenses" potentially leaves a lot of wiggle room. Some, people, like Hellokitty's relatives, may feel certain "program expenses" are not justified, and cite that as a reason why the money is not going to the "victims".
You didn't look at the definition of "program expenses". I did.
Quote:
This measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver.
I repeat. 91 cents will be used directly to (okay) "help" the victims. (Stupid semantic arguments.) Of course it's not going DIRECTLY to the victims. Who ever thinks that's what the Red Cross does is just stupid. The Red Cross has more buying power than the individual victims. 91 cents used by the Red Cross is FAAR more effective than 100 cents used by a victim.
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  #11  
Old 09-04-2005, 08:13 AM
longhair75 longhair75 is offline
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here in omaha, the red cross is only interested in the cash.

we have offered our help, and local news reports that 500 of the refugees will; be coming to omaha. i am sure that our local people will get busy getting supplies together

link to article

Quote:
from the article: The Red Cross and several local agencies are working together to help the victims while they're here. Red Cross officials said they could get as little as two hours notice, before the evacuees start arriving to Omaha.
Despite the evacuees expected presence in Omaha, the Red Cross is not accepting charitable items, only cash.

not my cash........
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  #12  
Old 09-04-2005, 12:07 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longhair75
here in omaha, the red cross is only interested in the cash.

we have offered our help, and local news reports that 500 of the refugees will; be coming to omaha. i am sure that our local people will get busy getting supplies together

link to article




not my cash........

This is because sending clothes and supplies takes up valuable space, and it costs more to get them there, and some of the items may not be suitable, anyways.
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  #13  
Old 09-04-2005, 01:28 PM
longhair75 longhair75 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinastasia
This is because sending clothes and supplies takes up valuable space, and it costs more to get them there, and some of the items may not be suitable, anyways.

it is also harder for them to deduct the administrative costs of accepting a pallet of bottled water delivered directly to the site where the people will be housed.

i would rather give my cash money to an institution in whic i am more confident in their honesty
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  #14  
Old 09-04-2005, 03:45 PM
wevets wevets is offline
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We've had a fairly long discussion about donations of $ vs. goods, and specifically the American Red Cross in this thread that folks might want to check out.
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  #15  
Old 06-29-2012, 01:38 PM
lauraindenver lauraindenver is offline
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Red Cross and Other Charities

Quote:
Originally Posted by HelloKitty View Post
Some of my relatives have said they don't want to donate to the Red Cross because "only 30% of the money goes to the victims". (I swear the crap these people come up with sometimes...)

Not sure where they got this nugget of wisdom because I couldn't find anything on the RC website, and I'm too tired right now to keep searching for something.

I know not all the $ donated will go to the affected regions, after all there are other needs throughout the country and the world. I wouldn't want help to other disasters to stop because of what's going on there. Plus I understand there are administration costs. (evidently they do not)

Any info on this?
Hello Kitty,
I have no factual info, no links, etc, but I do believe that a general rule for most not for profit is that they need only use 5 percent of what they take in for the intended cause, this mandate is to keep them legally a not for profit...
Complicating the issue is that the Federal Government (which is your tax dollars), matches funds received by the Red Cross...now is this money counted in the pool of donations? Or do they somehow keep separate books.....if you want to search search for CEO salaries........Sal Army top person is 13K per year, Red Cross is over a half million plus expenses.........
search more go to the fed gov site and look at all the not for profit designations..
I'm one of those terribly grassroots 60's left overs and if I want to donate.....I want to hand deliver my donation.....what about you?
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  #16  
Old 06-29-2012, 04:17 PM
even sven even sven is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluiddruid View Post
Also, keep in mind that the American Red Cross does allow you to earmark funds for specific causes; it doesn't always just go into the big pool -- for example, one such fund is 2005 Hurricane Relief.

Just a WAG, I would imagine they would move funds out of such pools if they had too much money for the project than needed.
Unfortunately, sometimes money gets tagged for one disaster, and organizations don't have the ability to spend that money on other things, which may include more pressing needs.

A key example was after the tsunami, an unprecedented amount of funds were raised. Organizations literally did not have the capacity to spend all that money. It takes a lot of skilled personnel and organizational capacity to design, implement and follow-up on these projects. In the meantime, the local people were quickly rebuilding and moving on, and the world was facing other pressing emergencies where funding meant the difference between life and death.

Organizations found themselves with huge banks of money they had to spend on an emergency that was largely resolved was no longer a critical priority- and they were having to dedicate lots of their organizational capacity and personnel to managing these projects. So they had few choices- fund whatever came their way regardless of how poorly-planned, overfund project to the point of absurdity (there were cases of building back fishing villages as sprawling high-end McMansions), or give money to local organizations hand over fist and hope for the best. It became a race to get rid of money however possible so that they could get out of there and concentrate on current problems. In the meantime, any number of life-and-death critical emergencies were underfunded while people from the same organization not far away were trying to figure out how to get rid of cash.

It's an unfortunate situation that could have been avoided if relief organizations had the flexibility to make these decisions, rather than everyone handing over a buck deciding they are now an armchair expert.
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  #17  
Old 11-03-2012, 09:54 AM
chris3558 chris3558 is offline
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Are these salaries Fair?

Donating - Interesting, ever wonder where that donation money goes?

Keep these facts in mind when "donating". As you open your pockets for yet another natural disaster, keep the following facts in mind; we have listed them from the highest (worse paid offender) to the lowest (least paid offender).

The worst offender was yet again for the 11th year in a row is, UNICEF - CEO, receives $1,200,000 per year, (plus use of a Royal Royce for his exclusive use where ever he goes, and an expense account that is rumored to be well over $150,000.) Only pennies from the actual donations goes to the UNICEF cause (less than $0.14 per dollar of income).

The second worst offender this year is Marsha J. Evans, President and CEO of the American Red Cross...for her salary for the year ending in 2009 was $651,957 plus expenses. Enjoys 6 weeks - fully paid holidays including all related expenses during the holiday trip for her and her husband and kids. including 100% fully paid health & dental plan for her and her family, for life. This means out of every dollar they bring in, about $0.39 goes to related charity causes.

The third worst offender was again for the 7th time was, Brian Gallagher, President of the United Way receives a $375,000 base salary (U.S. funds), plus so many numerous expense benefits it's hard to keep track as to what it is all worth, including a fully paid lifetime membership for 2 golf courses (1 in Canada, and 1 in the U.S.A.), 2 luxury vehicles, a yacht club membership, 3 major company gold credit cards for his personal expenses...and so on. This equates to about $0.51 per dollar of income goes to charity causes.
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  #18  
Old 11-03-2012, 10:01 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Use a site like Charity Navigator -rather than a Google-crawling thread-resurrector with no cites - to learn what the story is. For instance, they report that the American Red Cross spends 92.2% of donations on program expenses, and only 0.01% on compensating its program head.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 11-03-2012 at 10:03 AM..
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  #19  
Old 11-03-2012, 02:53 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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We've seen this movie before.

After 9/11 when charitable drives were all the rage, there were stories that major charities were not funneling enough of the contributions to help the victims of 9/11, due to excessive administrative costs, and/or excessive red tape and/or money donated for 9/11 getting sent to other at-need cases, and/or politics, with the occasional accusation of outright graft.

This Snopes article discusses the situation, and seems to agree that the allegations were generally true -- that too little of the money was ending up helping the actual victims or responders.

It became a big controversy in the news at the time, and I remember many voices calling for boycotts of the major charities -- Red Cross and United Way chief among them -- and I think this really did make a big dent in the overall level of contributions at the time.
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  #20  
Old 11-03-2012, 02:59 PM
Hershele Ostropoler Hershele Ostropoler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
Use a site like Charity Navigator -rather than a Google-crawling thread-resurrector with no cites - to learn what the story is. For instance, they report that the American Red Cross spends 92.2% of donations on program expenses, and only 0.01% on compensating its program head.
There are "reviews" on Charity Navigator that repeat the claim that they put most of the money they collect to things other than services.

Granted, there's also a review that claims blood collection is a for-profit business, so I don't know how reliable those are.

The only thing that keeps me from dismissing the claims out of hand is that I don't know what people gain from saying the Red Cross is lying about disbursement of funds on filings. But I suppose there are always people who want to see a conspiracy so they can feel superior for not being "duped."

Last edited by Hershele Ostropoler; 11-03-2012 at 02:59 PM..
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  #21  
Old 11-03-2012, 03:30 PM
even sven even sven is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris3558 View Post
Donating - Interesting, ever wonder where that donation money goes?

Keep these facts in mind when "donating". As you open your pockets for yet another natural disaster, keep the following facts in mind; we have listed them from the highest (worse paid offender) to the lowest (least paid offender).

The worst offender was yet again for the 11th year in a row is, UNICEF - CEO, receives $1,200,000 per year, (plus use of a Royal Royce for his exclusive use where ever he goes, and an expense account that is rumored to be well over $150,000.) Only pennies from the actual donations goes to the UNICEF cause (less than $0.14 per dollar of income).

The second worst offender this year is Marsha J. Evans, President and CEO of the American Red Cross...for her salary for the year ending in 2009 was $651,957 plus expenses. Enjoys 6 weeks - fully paid holidays including all related expenses during the holiday trip for her and her husband and kids. including 100% fully paid health & dental plan for her and her family, for life. This means out of every dollar they bring in, about $0.39 goes to related charity causes.

The third worst offender was again for the 7th time was, Brian Gallagher, President of the United Way receives a $375,000 base salary (U.S. funds), plus so many numerous expense benefits it's hard to keep track as to what it is all worth, including a fully paid lifetime membership for 2 golf courses (1 in Canada, and 1 in the U.S.A.), 2 luxury vehicles, a yacht club membership, 3 major company gold credit cards for his personal expenses...and so on. This equates to about $0.51 per dollar of income goes to charity causes.
Would you rather these massive multi-million dollar international organizations with thousands of employees around the globe be managed by some yahoo off the street at discount rates? If you want to hire a CEO, you have to offer a CEO salary.

What do you count as "charity causes?"

Few charities are in the business of just handing people goods and calling it a day. Much of the work that they do- training, medical services, education services, etc. is based on getting trained personnel to where they can help, and if you want to hire skilled people, you have to hire at market rates. The skilled managers, logisticians, trainers, and technical experts that charities employ have families to take of, student loans to pay off (many of these jobs call for advanced professional degrees), mortgages, a retirement to plan for and the same expenses that anyone else has. Pretty much all of their skills and qualifications are directly transferable to the private sector.

Organizationally, charities are not that different than any other business- you need an HR department, a communications department, a legal team, a whole boatload of MBAs, etc. And while they are not selling the end services and products for a profit, the actual workers are still going to need to be paid competitively. There is a slight added value to working for a good cause, but the warm fuzzies only get you so far in the labor market.
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  #22  
Old 11-03-2012, 07:44 PM
LiliesOfTheField LiliesOfTheField is offline
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It's complicated

My friend is a Red Cross volunteer. She told me that when she went to help Katrina victims, she was given a per diem for food. My friend was living under the poverty line at the time, so she asked the organization if she could just eat the Ramen she brought with her and take the money home. She was told that they "strongly encourage" her to eat at local restaurants and grocery stores because part of the purpose of the per diem was to help the local economy.

Doing the right thing to assist people in a disaster can be counterintuitive. For example, donating food and blankets sounds right when people are hungry and cold. But buying food and blankets local to the disaster helps both the local economy and the people who are in direct need.

I remember one event at my college in particular that wanted to donate clothes to the homeless. The organizers soon discovered that "the homeless" turned down the warm winter coats because it was springtime. Turns out when you are homeless, you don't have a closet to store the coats in for winter.
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