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Demystifying the Donation Dollar Illustration

Demystifying the Donation: Where Your Money Goes

Imagine yourself giving a dollar to the American Red Cross — not a bill, but 100 pennies. The person accepting the money would count out nine cents and set that aside. On average, the remaining 91 cents of every dollar the American Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. This is only possible through the generosity of donors like you. Here are just some of the efforts your charitable donation supports when you give to the Red Cross.

Red Cross shelter and supplies

1. Disaster Relief

Disasters can leave homes (along with everything in them) decimated or otherwise uninhabitable, often resulting in displaced families. In 2017, donations helped the Red Cross provide families with more than 658,000 overnight stays in safe locations and more than 13.6 million meals and snacks.

When a family is struck by disaster and displaced, they may lose nearly everything they own. That includes not only life-sustaining necessities such as shelter, food and medical care, but also the things we often take for granted — blankets, bedding, batteries and tools, even pet food. In total, the American Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters a year.

Home Fire illustration

2. Home Fires

Some disasters are much more personal, often affecting a single family rather than a large part of the population. More than 90 percent of Red Cross responses each year are the result of home fires. The Red Cross provides food, cleaning supplies and other necessities to families recovering from home fires. If the fire department determines that it’s not safe for these families to remain in their homes, the Red Cross may provide emergency shelter in recovery centers or other locations.

Donor dollars also fund the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, which has enabled staff and volunteers to install hundreds of thousands of smoke alarms and other fire safety improvements in U.S. homes. Since launching the campaign in 2014, the campaign has helped save over 303 lives and our work continues.

Red Cross certification illustration

3. Training and Certification Courses

Responding to disasters requires manpower, and approximately 90 percent of American Red Cross responders are volunteers. Many have never had any formal experience in the area of emergency response, so training and certifying them is a primary focus of the Red Cross.

Whether trainees are going to volunteer with the Red Cross, get certified in First Aid/CPR for employment purposes or want to ensure they are prepared for emergencies, they can get their training online and in classrooms thanks to the Red Cross. Red Cross courses teach over 6 million people each year the skills that save lives and prepare for disaster.

Help to military families illustration

4. Help to Military Families

More than 1 million Americans serve the U.S. armed forces in some capacity, and the American Red Cross is there for them, working 24/7 to support them during deployment and emergencies and providing home comforts and services to those serving on bases and in military hospitals worldwide.

We have a broad range of initiatives, such as overseas visits from Red Cross dogs to boost morale, as well as delivering emergency communications between those serving and their loved ones back home. These services mean the world to the servicemen and servicewomen who are serving their country.

Aid from the Red Cross begins with the first day of enlistment, but it doesn’t end after active duty. The Red Cross provides these same services to our nation’s veterans.

Red Cross blood drives illustration

5. Health Care and Blood Drives

The American Red Cross is the nation’s largest supplier of blood and blood services. Your donation helps the Red Cross collect blood through blood drives and supply it to hospitals and transfusion centers across the U.S., an initiative launched during World War II.

We also play a leading role in protecting the safety of donors and patients and increasing the availability of blood. We have been among the first to help develop and implement testing for infectious diseases and we're frequently the single major contributor to clinical trials to improve blood safety. Providing life-saving blood and blood products to patients is a key component of the Red Cross mission to help people in times of emergency and disasters.

Red Cross international illustration

6. International Efforts

Working with our global Red Cross and Red Crescent partners, the American Red Cross helps millions of people around the world. We assist those affected by crises in their countries, reconnect families separated by war or disaster, and help communities prepare for future disasters.

1. American Red Cross: How the American Red Cross Spends Your Donations

2. American Red Cross: Where Your Money Goes

3. CNN Money: Where Your Donation Dollars Go

4. American Red Cross: Red Cross House

5. American Red Cross: Red Cross Delivers Relief Supplies and Hot Meals Throughout Oklahoma

6. Charity Watch: Criteria and Methodology

7. Global Security: Personal End Strength – End FY2016-17

8. American Red Cross: Military Families

9. American Red Cross: Your Donation Impacts Lives

91 cents icon
When you donate to the Red Cross, your donation is used efficiently.

An average of 91 cents of every dollar the American Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.

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Support all the urgent humanitarian needs of the American Red Cross.

$10.00 is the minimum online donation amount. All donations are tax deductible.