Red Cross Rant!

jae_tnNovember 5, 2012

Something that really has bothered me since the special television show for victims of Sandy. I spent over an hour trying to call to make a donation and when I finally got through I was concerned about the phone rep saying "Thanks for your donation to help victims of disaster around the world who suffer from disasters like Hurricane Sandy". I asked two times if she could confirm that my donation would go to the East Coast and both times she repeated the above and couldn't say that it would go to a specific location! I told her to cancel the donation and I went to the Salvation Army site where you could specify city and state where you wanted your money to go.

This brings to mind back in the '60s when my husband was in the Illinois National Guard. They were sent to cover Chicago for both the Democratic Convention riots and the riots for the death of Martin Luther King so I'm not sure which time or if it was both. But, the Red Cross charged the NG for their coffee that was brought to them! From then until the day he died, he refused to give the Red Cross a nickle! He probably rolled over in his grave when I called the Red Cross in the first place!!

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sylviatexas1

I'm with you, Jae.

My eyes were opened to the Red Cross when it refused to account for the donations it received after 9/11.

They originally set up a special account for the survivors/first responders & for the victims' families, & then they transferred some massive amount of money from that fund into their general fund.

The president of the RC was on whichever morning show that has Matt Lauer;
he asked her repeatedly what happened to the money, & she opened her eyes wide (a sign of lying) & nodded her head & talked about "it's all about the blood" that people had donated.

Does anyone know, did the Red Cross ever account for that money?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:34PM
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linda_in_iowa

I learned years ago that the largest portion of a donation to the Red Cross goes to administrative costs (read salaries).

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:38PM
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sheilajoyce_gw

I remember after one major disaster years ago too that the nation was quite upset in learning that the Red Cross moves money around as it sees fit. Money given for one particular disaster may not go to that cause.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:41PM
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phyllis__mn

When my husband returned after WWII, their ship was met by Red Cross workers, with doughnuts and coffee.....and they charged these guys for it. He would never give to the Red Cross. It's too bad they have this history.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:52PM
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monica_pa

I will not give a cent to the Red Cross.
And, I also have heard personal stories of volunteers in disaster areas being charged for any and all coffee or food that the Red Cross makes available.
Most of the money donated goes to "administration".

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:56PM
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bigfoot_liz

my eyes were opened when we needed them in 2004 from Hurricane Charley (100mph over orlando), Jean & Francis and they came thru 2 weeks later w canned goods (after 2 weeks of eating canned goods LOL) and no water or any other help, like how to work to get our power back (took 24 days w/o). soon after that they started saying they use the donations into a general fund... I still give, just because they have since gotten their act together for assistance but I always find more local organizations in affected areas. ~ liz

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:57PM
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suzieque

My father told me the same thing - that during WWII, the Red Cross charged the service people. He also swore that he'd never support the Red Cross, and I have to say that it certainly rubbed off on me.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:04PM
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vickij

I had absolutely no idea the the Red Cross ever charged anybody for anything. How irritating. When I lived in Florida I worked for a very high end flower shop where floral arrangements pricing started at $200.00 and went up from there. The Red Cross admin would routinely come into the shop to order florals for private donors and it irritated me that money was being used for that purpose but I will qualify that I don't know which fund money was being used for the florals.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:18PM
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vickij

I had absolutely no idea the the Red Cross ever charged anybody for anything. How irritating. When I lived in Florida I worked for a very high end flower shop where floral arrangements pricing started at $200.00 and went up from there. The Red Cross admin would routinely come into the shop to order florals for private donors and it irritated me that money was being used for that purpose but I will qualify that I don't know which fund money was being used for the florals.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:19PM
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marie_ndcal

I usually don't either, but here in Minot they really did help out. The local director of the Red Cross lost his home along with many others and had to sleep wherever--school, etc. I think he and the local group went beyond what the higher up's wanted them to go, and most of the money went directly to local businesses to buy food, clothing, pay rents etc. But then I think many organizations and religious groups are that way, even though they claim otherwise.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:35PM
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ruthie_tn

Red Cross was there for us when we needed them in 2006. That's when a tornado swept through our town devastating it. We live out in the country and wasn't expecting any assisstance but Red Cross came down our road daily for two weeks until our electricity came back on passing out hot meals and supplies. They were the only organization in our area besides local churches that gave us assisstance. I've read that 9% of donations go for administration and fundraising.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:53PM
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ruthie_tn

Red Cross didn't charge us for anything they gave us.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:56PM
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Toni S

aagg, just spent my citi bank points on The Red Cross. Not sure that was the best thing but suppose since they have helped so many, it's better than not giving. I would like to donate to Sandy disaster victims again but I'm not sure where to go? Any ideas that might get a donation to the right people?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:38PM
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jae_tn

toni - I gave to the Salvation Army. They let you specify the city and state where you want the donation to go.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:48PM
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cherryfizz

Jae, the same way your husband felt about the Red Cross is how I feel about Hospice.

I know they help people but they failed with my Mom when she needed them the most. The voice on the other end of the phone "we're in the middle of moving, I wouldn't know where your file is" I even gave her the name of the person assigned to my Mom. I have donated to other Hospice facilities who were there for my family members and friends but I won't ever donate to the Hospice Windsor

Anne

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:53PM
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dedtired

The American Red Cross does a good job of managing their money. Ruthie-TN is correct when she says about 9% of their money goes to programs. However, I don't know whether or nt the money goes directly to Sandy victims.

Charity Navigator lists them as a place to give for Sandy relief, but there are others, too.

This reminds me if the time I gave money to help renovate a historic building in the center of my town that is owned by the Boy Scouts. I have no interest in the Scouts and do not support their viewpoint on homosexuality. I did want to help save the building. But -- my thank you letter said thanks for supporting the Scouts and their programs. I never gave another dime toward the project after that.

Here is a link that might be useful: American Red Cross info

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:32PM
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dedtired

I meant to say 9% of their money goes to administration and fundraising!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:09PM
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mboston_gw

The United Methodist Churches have a Relief Program for diasters. Sunday, the monthly communion offering, which ususally goes to our local Viste (Volunteers in Service to Elderly) was going to the United Methodist Relief Program. Pastor said that 100% would go directly to Sandy's victims. None of it towards adminstration costs as they have 1 or 2 special collections a year for that.

Sunday's collection will go first then once it is determined where they will be needed, the church will send a team up there with supplies for clean-up, and to help repair homes, etc. Pastor said that each church group is assigned an area of a town and that they continue to return even after the immediate need is over. Teams still go to either New Orleans or Mississippi where Katrina hit each summer.

So if you have a United Methodist church in your area, maybe you could call and see if they participate. Evidently it is like Catholic charities in that it is very well organized and run efficiently.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:10PM
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brightonborn

Never ever will I give to the Red Cross for all the reasons stated in previous posts. My donations go to the Salvation Army.
I was really surprised how the RED CROSS was the only organization that was soliciting donations everywhere even on QVC, what the heck is up with that. \

June

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 6:28AM
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jasdip

I thought of this post, during last night's DWTS. They were soliciting donations from the viewers.

All told, they've raised 15 million so far. Wow, Red Cross is shameful, with all the statements you have mentioned. Sad, sad, sad.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 7:51AM
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susanjf_gw

jae ever since vietnam, when dh and pals collected enough money to help send a fellow sailor home on leave, and red cross took credit, and charged him MORE, my dh refuses to donate to them...so like others, we give to salvation army, and are sending our pal on staten is, a direct check to help cover food she lost...i know it's not the local citizen/members in the field, but the general org, that is at fault...

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 8:31AM
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lindaohnowga

We too will "not" donate to the Red Cross. Family members in the service were charged for the coffee and doughnuts supplied by the Red Cross. We will donate to Salvation Army and local churches relief funds.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:16AM
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secsteve

I don't donate to the Red Cross since the experience my brother had with them while in the Army. He and his squad accidentally got into a mound of fire ants and wound up in the hospital. The RC came around with pens and paper, but the soldiers had to pay for them!

What?! Have heard other similar stories.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:38AM
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anne_ct

My deceased husband's first career was with the NYPD. He ranted and raged about the RC...having seen them charge for coffee and other essentials during disaster relief efforts. He wouldn't have given them money if they were the last charity on earth. We put our money where it would do that most good...locally. And if the need wasn't local...we gave to the Salvation Army. I still do when I can afford it.

Anne

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:08AM
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nanny98

I just peeked at that "Charity Navigator" and WOW....if you look at the money the RC receives....it is almost like our National budget....I cannot comprehend those numbers. What I do remember is that when Elizabeth Dole ( I think) was the 'director' or something, she was paid more than a $million $$$$ per year. WHAT'S WITH THAT???? Our local Good Will 'person', administrator or whatever, in our little valley where unemployment is chronically high, and income is chronically low, is paid a million a year. WHAT'S WITH THAT,too? It just 'bothers' me when I am made aware of those facts. I was a RC volunteer during the Vietnam War, and did Service to Miliary families where I did not get or expect even my phone bill to be reimbursed. What IS this "profiit" making, or 'highly paid' volunteering or 'career making' inside a Non-Profit all about? Beats me. It kinda makes me want to hand over my money to the local shelter providing meals to under-fed children and out-of-work parents.....but then we are supporting two unemployed adult children and it just frosts me the way that all of their efforts are just not being successful.

End of Rant.

PS. Our adult children are not dead beats. DD left a abusive marriage of 20 years and her DH has their 140 acre farm (aqnd 50 rare horses) that they put over $1 million into in 2004; it has cost her thousands in attorney fees for a mere 20,000 that he pays her whenever he feels like it....unless she goes back to court again. DS, almost the same...wife has $600,000, 5,000 sq ft with pool home, in the high rent district that he bought and is owned free and clear.... that divorce is not even filed and the writing is on the wall that she will get it all as well as custody of autistic son who recently qualified for 'lifetime' care due to the story she claimed to the agencies and system that she learned to manipulate. (maybe I over stated that a touch...we are just learning of it)

Yep....WE are middle class Americans, who have served our country and our state, raised good citizen children who have never had problems with crime...ever;... have alwayts paid our "fair share" and cared about the 'least among us', and still voted today to fund two swimming pools and recreation improvements to benefit the less affulent children of our town by adding to our taxes.

My Rant for the year, I think.

And, here is where I usually hit the "delete" and go back to bed.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:00PM
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cynic

Not sure I understand your rant dedtired. Are you upset because they sent you a thank you or because it wasn't "personalized" enough? Or didn't specify/confirm what it was? If one of the latter, would you like increased administration costs to say "Dear dedtired"? Pretty much goes without saying that a personalized letter costs far more to send than a form letter.

I recall a friend's father so upset during the war when the Red Cross was selling donuts while the Salvation Army was a few feet away giving them away.

I think the Red Cross has done a lot of good things, especially coordinating blood donations and the like. I do have some problems with the other things they do though.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 5:49PM
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amyfiddler

I give to the Mormon church. They are often the first, and quietest, on the scene of a disaster anywhere in the world.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:53AM
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dedtired

Cynic, I'm sorry that you read my comment as a rant, which is not what I intended. When I gave money for the restoration of the Boy Scout building, I expected to be acknowledged that my contribution was being used as I intended. I did not give money for Boy Scout programs, and would not give money for Boy Scout programs, and yet that is what they thanked me for supporting. I want to know that my money is being used for the intended purpose.

Having worked as a professional fund raiser for more than 20 years, I am very familiar with the process of thanking people for their contributions. It is all done with a mail merge and it is quite simple to include a field that mentions the purpose of the gift, as well as a field for the salutation which includes a person's name. It does not in any way increase the cost of producing or mailing the letter. In fact, anyone familiar with fund raising knows that personalization increases returns from appeals and creates a stronger bond between the donor and the institution. In fact, I would add a handwritten note at the bottom of each thank you letter to my donors to indicate that we were grateful for their support. It did not add to the cost as I was a salaried employee and got paid the same if I stayed until midnight writing notes.

Here is a link that might be useful: best practices for non-profit TY letters

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:54AM
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