Donors want to know how much of their donation goes to the humanitarian services and programs the Red Cross provides, and how much goes to our costs for fundraising and management and general.
In FY17, the Red Cross devoted 89.1 percent of its total spending to mission-related programs. This is calculated by comparing program spending of $2.537 billion to total expenses of $2.846 billion.
While the ratio of program spending to overall expenses including fundraising, management and general varies slightly from year to year, over time an average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.
Here is the breakdown of how we invested in humanitarian services and programs in FY17 from our audited financial statements:
* $1.832 billion – Collect, test, manufacture and distribute approximately 6.8 million blood products
* $372.1 million – Respond to disasters, nearly 64,000 per year
* $69.3 million – Provide nearly 391,000 emergency services to our armed forces and their families
* $139.3 million – Deliver preparedness, health and safety courses like First Aid and CPR
* $99.8 million – Fund international relief programs
* $25.4 million – Fund community services (e.g., food banks, transportation programs)
Some donors want to know how much of every dollar they donate goes to a specific disaster. For large disasters like Hurricane Harvey, we typically allocate a minimum of 91 cents of every dollar raised to the program – and sometimes more. But, the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters every year, so we do not track fundraising and management and general expenses for each of those individual disasters. We honor donor intent, and if a donor designates their donation for a particular disaster, it goes to that disaster.
The Red Cross receives donations from multiple sources: financial donors, blood donors and in-kind donations; we don’t track fundraising and management and general expenses for each type of donation separately. Despite our many services, we are one organization. We are classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a single 501(c)(3) charitable organization with one overall financial statement and tax return.
One of our top priorities is to be cost-conscious. We try to keep our fundraising and management and general costs low so we can spend more on people who urgently need our services. We are regularly looking for ways to streamline, consolidate operations and reduce expenses. We use volunteers every day (approximately 300,000 nationwide) to keep costs low.
We post our independently audited financial statements and our Form 990 tax return on our website in their entirety. In addition, we are accredited by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.