The Red Cross is a dynamic organization that does much in the way of helping people around the country and around the world. The very mission of the organization speaks to this. To meet those obligations, there are a number of funding sources for the organization. Their mission and funding sources necessarily match their approach to serving people. The fact that the Red Cross is an impressive organization automatically means that they have both impressive features and impressive failures.
According to the website of the American Red Cross, they are America’s main emergency response organization. They offer humanitarian aid to victims of war and natural disaster, and also offer “compassionate services” in five other areas. Community services, support and comfort for military members and their families, blood collection, health and safety education, and world-wide relief programs and dedicated services across the globe.
The Red Cross has three different funding sources. The major source is from donations from the American public. Second is “participation in the United Way and Combined Federal Campaigns,” and the third is from grants and reimbursements that they get for specific projects.
The Red Cross’ approach to serving people is to have volunteers provide services to those and need. Additionally, the Red Cross provides community volunteer training in the areas of disaster training, shelter operations, psychological First Aid, Disaster/Damage Assessment, Mass Casualty Disasters, and Terrorism training, among other things. Also, their approach to help is through donating, giving blood and becoming actual employees of the organization (redcross.org, 2009).
One of the most impressive features is the fact that approximately 89.4 percent of every dollar is invested back into human services and programs (charitynavigator.org, 2007). The remainder of the money is spent on administrative expenses (6.5 percent) and fundraising expenses (4.1 percent) (charitynavigator.org, 2007). This is one of the highest totals in the industry, and shows the efficacy of the methods of the Red Cross. They are getting the most for their bucks that they invest in human services. Charity Navigator gives them an overall rating of two of four stars for organizational efficiency.
In my opinion, the most undesirable feature of the Red Cross is the fact it seems to be very organizationally top heavy. In looking at their national structure, they not only have a President and CEO, but they have Board of Governors with a chairman (redcross.org, 2008). It seems unnecessary to have 24 people running the organization at the national level, and this does not count the number of leaders at the local level. These local leaders are necessary to lead rescue and recovery efforts. Having so many people at the national level only takes away at what could be accomplished and used by those in need.
The Red Cross is an organization whose overall mission to help others motivates people to get involved and help their communities. While there may be problems within the organization with an excessive amount of leadership, one cannot deny the mission of the Red Cross to aid in the aftermath of natural disasters, wars, and terrorist attacks. Finally, one has to look at the organization as a whole and see it for what it does to help, rather than for any operational deficiencies.
Charity Navigator, “American Red Cross.” Charitynavigator.org. 2007. charitynavigator.org. 8
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Red Cross, “Board of Governors.” Board of Governors. 2009. Red Cross. 8 Mar 2009
Red Cross, “Give and Get Involved.” redcross.org. 2009. Red Cross. 8 Mar 2009
Red Cross, “Government Relations.” Redcross.org. 2009. Red Cross. 8 Mar 2009
Red Cross, “Mission and Funding Sources.” Red Cross. 2007. Red Cross. 8 Mar 2009
South Central Pennsylvania Red Cross, “American Red Cross Disaster Training 4th Quarter
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Cross. 8 Mar 2009 <http://www.sqvalleyredcross.org/pdf/4.1.3.-Disaster-