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American National Red Cross

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78 User Reviews
LAST UPDATED: November 5th, 2021
Inspired by the Swiss Red Cross, Clara Barton and a few of her acquaintances founded the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. in 1881. Chartered by Congress to be an agency which is designated to helping others, particularly in disasters and emergencies, the organization has grown to become a premier provider of assistance and relief. The American Red Cross runs independently of the United States Government and requires donations of volunteer time and money to function and be ready to help when the unexpected occurs. 

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The Good

  • Administrative expenses
  • Fundraising expenses
  • Program percentage
  • Accessible financial information
  • Donor communication
  • Awards

Administrative Expenses

The American Red Cross delivers its program with a 90 percent volunteer force, which decreases the organization's administrative expenses. However, there has been some criticism that past executives have had excessive salaries. The organization spends 4.3 percent of its revenue on administrative expenses.

Fundraising Expenses

In 2015, the American Red Cross spent 6.6 percent of the organization's income on fundraising efforts.

Program Percentage

The American Red Cross uses an average of 94.9 percent of its annual revenue to fund its programs. A program delivery percentage over 80 percent is considered to be a good indicator of financial responsibility.

Accessible Financial Information

Finding financial information on the American Red Cross website can be challenging. Documents are published on two separate pages, neither of which are linked to or labeled in the site menu. However, the American Red Cross has published financial data from 2006 to 2016, which is a more than what most other charitable organizations have published.

Donor Communication

The American Red Cross has robust social media accounts which the organization uses to communicate with donors. The American Red Cross can be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Instagram. Donors and interested individuals can submit their email addresses for updates via email or bookmark the agency's blog for access to the latest news.

Awards

The American Red Cross was recognized by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2013 for its organizational emergency preparedness efforts. The organization has also received several other awards: Chapter Awards
  • The Greater St. Louis Chapter was recognized for its partnership with the St. Louis City Office of the Disabled for its involvement in the "All Ready" campaign to help motivate persons with disabilities to prepare for emergencies
  • The Mile High Region (Denver) Chapter was recognized for its partnership with local firefighters, fire departments and the Denver Public School Office of Risk Management to educate students in the Denver Public Schools about the importance of fire preparedness and safety planning with their families
  • The Bay Area (California) Chapter was recognized for its "Youth for Chinese Elderly" program, which educated more than 16,000 monolingual Chinese immigrants about emergency preparedness, citizen CPR, and basic first aid skills
Individual Award
  • Karlynn Workman, in conjunction with the Oregon Chapter and Portland-area Red Cross Club, was recognized for her "Preparedness Pals Resilience" project, which educated local elementary school students about family preparedness
Partnership Award
  • American Red Cross and HOPE Worldwide were recognized for creating the "Protecting Our Neighbors" program, a nationwide program for fire preparedness and prevention at the neighborhood level
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The Bad

  • Total income
  • Negative press

Total Income

Since 2011, the American Red Cross has reported declining revenues:
  • 2015: $2,726,672,619
  • 2014: $2,974,133,836
  • 2013: $3,296,297,562
  • 2012: $3,031,937,215
  • 2011: $3,342,758,035

Negative Press

Being the primary face of help in a disaster has its inherent challenges. Since the American Red Cross is chartered with Congress to be a significant source of relief and the organization has been trusted for over a century, the American public expects the organization to be prepared and ready at a moment's notice. When it is not, there is significant backlash. Because of this, the American Red Cross has experienced several scandals and controversies through its long history, including the following: Post-9/11 Controversy The American Red Cross leapt to action after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Then-president of the American Red Cross, Dr. Bernadine Healy, personally appeared in different venues, including telethons, encouraging Americans to support the victims of the attacks with generous monetary, food, and blood donations. Americans gave $547 million to the American Red Cross by October 2011 and the fund, now called the Liberty Fund, was to be distributed to victims of 9/11. However, only 30 percent of these funds reached those who were most in need. Dr. Healy determined that the funds should be used to prepare for further attacks. Survivors reported significant bureaucratic delays in receiving their assistance. The final failure by the American Red Cross post-9/11 was reported in February 2002 by the New Yorker Magazine, stating that representatives from the American Red Cross were visiting upscale apartments and distributing checks for up to three months of rent to families who were "displaced, traumatized, or merely inconvenienced" by the attacks, regardless of whether they were really in need or not. The press began coverage of these missteps and the American public was outraged. Dr. Healy resigned (with a severance of over $1 million) because of the debacle. 2006: Hurricane Katrina After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, the American Red Cross again began working to bring relief. As a result of its efforts, several controversies came to light, the most severe being when 49 people working at a call center in California for the American Red Cross faced criminal charges for their involvement in schemes to help friends and family members fraudulently collect monetary assistance from the American Red Cross. The organization admitted that necessary safeguards and proper procedures were not in place to prevent this from happening, stating that in an emergency, it has little time to gather appropriate resources. 2012: Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy Attempting to avoid the problems of past emergencies, the American Red Cross went through massive internal changes, including those involving personnel. When Hurricane Isaac was en route to landfall, the organization sent massive relief efforts to the initially-expected site of landfall, Tampa Bay, which was coincidently and nearly concurrently, holding the Republican National Convention. When the storm changed its course, the American Red Cross remained in Tampa Bay, rather than moving to Miami. Internal critics stated that this was a political ploy and a public relations display, rather than one which was designed to complete the mission of aiding those in need. Reports from Superstorm Sandy were similar. The agency was suffering a public image problem, so near-empty trucks were sent to drive around affected areas to have a presence, but aid was not offered. Full trucks were used as backdrops to press releases, rather than for distributing aid. One of those affected by the storm said that he did not see the American Red Cross until weeks after the storm had passed, but religious groups (in particular Amish and Mormon volunteers) were helping within hours.
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The Bottom Line

The American Red Cross works to prepare for and respond to disasters by helping those in need. The American Red Cross' program percentage is favorable and the organization has been the recipient of multiple awards. However, the American Red Cross' revenue has been steadily declining over the past several years and the charity has been the center of a number of scandals and controversies.
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78 Reviews

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71%

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15%

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10%

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1 grade

4%

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Kaylee Gay Columbia, MO

The American National Red Cross genuinely cares for its volunteers. I have just recently joined the Red Cross as a Volunteer and they set you up with everything. They will make sure you are trained and set you up with the things you need to succeed. They not only care for their volunteers but do great work. The Red Cross not only does blood drives but disaster relief. My college has one of the biggest Blood Drives in the nation and the volunteers are always so kind and passionate. I love that so many people can come from all over and help with one goal which is to help others. My Red Cross Club raises money every year for families who have lost their homes to fires. I love that the Red Cross supports people in some of their lowest times.

4 weeks ago

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Toni Montuori

They do good work for people in need! Enuf said. I am a 83 pint doner so I know a lil something about the Red Cross and how they function. I have never had an unfriendly time while donating. The sites are set up and run well, they are clean, they keep your information private AND they give to cookies, snacks, water and juice when you are thru. These snacks and beverages are all provided by donations and credit goes to them also. Again they do good work for people in need.

3 months ago

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Rhona Leffler Olney, MD

American National Red Cross is a reputable charity that provides items to people in need. They are always looking for things like blankets and clothing, so you know its going to a good cause. I arrange to have them pickup items at my house online, so making charitable contributions is quick and easy.

6 months ago

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Makayla Holland Gaithersburg, MD

The cross is so much good I try to donate once a year but sometimes it’s hard to make the time I wish there were more mobile donations available. They are always there for anyone that needs support.

6 months ago

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MindyV Lubbock, TX

The American Red Cross does so much good to help so many people, especially during natural disasters and that's SO wonderful!!!! But they donate money to Planned Parenthood to kill babies and that's HORRIBLE!!!!!!!! They donate money to the Susan B Komen for "breast cancer", but that organization gives money to Planned Parenthood to kill babies instead of trying to find a cure for cancer.

8 months ago

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Rachel C North Ridgeville, OH

Today the we had the Red Cross come to our work so we could donate. I am typically a little nervous around needles, however I gained the courage and it helped knowing I was saving lives. The crew we had was outstanding. I can't say enough great things about Jo H and Kelli H. They both made me feel comfortable from the get go and did everything they could to make the experience fun! I would give blood anytime with either one of them. We have requested to have this same crew come back. Thanks ladies! Your both rock!

2 years ago

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Michelle Rios Ogden, UT

I love what the American National Red Cross stands for and all that they do to help others. I love that they are committed to being there during natural disasters to provide food, shelter, clothing and other services to people to get them through the worst times of their lives.

1 year ago

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Eddie Rios Ogden, UT

Only great things to say about the American National Red Cross. I have donated several times and the process is always a an efficient one. They make helping easy to do. I appreciate that they always have well trained staff to do the paperwork and donation process. I can't think of a more committed service than the Red Cross.

1 year ago

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Summer Porter Managua, MN

The environment that American National Red Cross creates is comfortable for first time blood donators. They have a nice waiting area set up; the paper work is straight to the point; service is personable and their is always food and drink available post-donation.

1 year ago

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Audrey Mitchell Managua, MN

The Red Cross is a great charity to donate to and know that they are trustworthy with the money that is donated. They have locations all over the world, and are kept in great conditions.

1 year ago

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Patricia Broadus Long Beach, MS

We had a blood drive at my school and the staff was amazing and worked with my fear of needles! It was my first time donating blood and they made it a very enjoyable experience! I definitely would donate with them again!

1 year ago

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Mackenzie Gilbert, AZ

They are so sweet there! I had to take my lifeguarding and water safety instructor courses through them and they were incredibly thorough and helped me so much! Their free programs allow me to help others.

3 years ago

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Emily Norton Tucson, AZ

I’ve participated in many Red Cross drives and they’ve always ran smoothly and efficiently. They take good care of you when you donate blood, explaining and answering any questions, during the actual donation process, and after to make sure you’re ok.

1 year ago

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Destini Ferguson

I received training for CPR from the American National Red Cross. They were very informative, and everything was easy to understand. The certification is also widely accepted. I feel confident in my abilities to help in an emergency if needed.

1 year ago

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Tom Gourley Pleasant Grove, UT

We have seen the Red Cross active in a variety of settings, some in our own neighborhood. They are everywhere where disasters come! When local flooding came to Utah recently, the Red Cross was present to provide food and shelter to those in need. This is just typical of how quickly they serve and how varied the circumstances are where they can be found. We are proud to give them our resources!

2 years ago

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AK Riverton, UT

I've taken a few classes from the American Red Cross (certifications) and have also donated blood. Additionally, I've found their website to be very helpful resource. It's great to see the good they are doing around the world.

2 years ago

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Yolanda Briganti Riverton, UT

I gave blood in Sandy Utah. The worker was happy and nice and jovial. He joked around and gave me the rest of the snacks because it was the end of the day.

1 year ago

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Janie Dennis Tallahassee, FL

They helped me get my BLS certification! Their class was helpful but do not take your BLS course with them! Many places are very adamant about getting your BLS from American Heart Association.

1 year ago

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Natalia Correa MDTribe Tallahassee, FL

The American Red Cross is one of the most trustworthy charities. They have amazing partnerships and an awesome cause. They need all the support they can get!

1 year ago

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Emerald Scott West Jordan, UT

This is a great charity to donate to. I have even volunteered my time with them a few times over the years. But, they call way too frequently! And no matter how much you ask them to stop calling constantly they never stop.

3 years ago

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Katie Valdosta, GA

American National Red Cross is an upstanding organization. I am thankful for their service to those who serve and their families. Their mission saves lives and has personally helped several people within my life.

1 year ago

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Amanda Warrendale, PA

I've donated to the American National Red Cross many times and I trust that they use their resources appropriately and really try and make a difference! They are also easily assessable and there are many donation drop offs.

1 year ago

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Michelle W Coraopolis, PA

I use the Red Cross's information a lot for work when it comes to fires and how often they happen in the US. It's an extremely reliable source, and I know the stats I'm pulling are legit. Plus, they do AMAZING work.

2 years ago

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Brittany Wilkinson Herriman, UT

I appreciate the Red Cross and all they do for our community. I have always enjoyed my experience in donating blood. The customer service is always good and makes the experience enjoyable. I appreciate all they do.

2 years ago

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Katlyn Hockman Houston, TX

Living in Louisiana, the red cross has helped me many times after hurricanes and floods in order to make me feel safer and better after these events.

1 year ago

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Jamie Neider Kaysville, UT

I've donated blood several times at both their brick and mortar location as well as their mobile bus. They are always kind and appreciative of me.

1 year ago

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Tori smith Mesa, AZ

American Red Cross always is so willing to help collect unwanted toys from us and they are so happy to have help from volunteers.

1 year ago

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Amanda Montebello, CA

I’ve donated blood with American Red Cross. It was a great experience and they made the process completely comfortable.

1 year ago

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Matthew Hall Moselle, MS

Absolutely amazing, saving lives everyday. Emergency in the family was helped immediately by the American National Red Cross!

1 year ago

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Sav Virginia Beach, VA

Want to thank you Red Cross, for wasting my time and hard work for nothing. I reach out to your so called “support team” to help me with your website not saving my work for my WSI class AFTER logging out properly . And guess what... you don’t even help me. Very disappointed in the service, did nothing for me but waste my day and time. You will never receive donations from me again nor good words about your system. So thank you to your no good support team.

1 year ago

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Thomas Hullinger Pleasant Grove, UT

They are a wonderful charity that provides services that are very needed. From what I have seen they are angels here on earth.

3 years ago

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Natasha Salt Lake City, UT

This is a great charity. Usually the nurses are good and find the vein easily, but occationally they spend forever digging in your arm and you walk away in pain with a large bruise.

3 years ago

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Sav Flo Salt Lake City, UT

I think the Red Cross is a great organization and I appreciate how persistent they are in contacting me and asking me when and if I have time to donate. I only wish that I had more time available to give blood.

4 years ago

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Bret Norton Thatcher, AZ

Great organization that truly serves by saving lives. I have organized and hosted blood drives in my area. Truly professional organization. Very organized and friendly staff.

1 year ago

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terryjamison Jackson, MS

I like the American Red Cross because it actually goes to help people.instead of someone making a profit for owner !! Staff is always on top of things

1 year ago

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Katherine Whyte Miami, FL

The American National Red Cross is good if you are looking to get involved in your community and provide disaster relief after natural disasters occur. It is better to provide your time rather than money with this organization.

2 years ago

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Anita pea Dallas, TX

American national red cross are the most helpful people in the world and they are always there to help.

1 year ago

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Randi Nelson Managua, MN

American Red Cross has a great outreach program that helps individuals across the world. The donations are out to good use

1 year ago

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Cade Boudreaux , FL

American red cross is amazing. I love what they do for the community and are very amazing people doing an amazing job.

1 year ago

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Taylee Warner Riverton, UT

I love this charity and everything they are doing for the world. Such good people with good intentions.

1 year ago

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Alicia Holman Gilbert, AZ

I'm sure they do a good job, but they have way too much over head for me to want to give money to this charity. They are making way too much money to make any changes, but I think somebody needs to go in and make some sweeping changes.

3 years ago

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Tom Pleasant Grove, UT

Red Cross provides an invaluable service to our community every day. They are heroes in the world today that we need.

3 years ago

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Roman Christiansen Pleasant Grove, UT

American National Red Cross is truly an amazing charity where anybody can receive help! The people who work there are so kind!

1 year ago

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Angelina Hamilton Gulfport, MS

Whenever I volunteer with this organization, they are always doing the most work to help anyone they can and they save lives.

1 year ago

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Danielle Powell Long Beach, MS

The amount of classes in my local area has decreased. Would love to enroll my daughter in a babysitter's first aide but can't seem to find this anymore

1 year ago

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Tiffany I Gaithersburg, MD

Red Cross does so much good. I try to donate once a year but sometimes it’s hard to make the time. Wish there were more mobile donations available.

1 year ago

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Nyla Hollywood, FL

I recently took a CPR class with this organization. I am thankful that they offer classes that will benefit me as I continue in the healthcare field.

1 year ago

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Jacob American Fork, UT

American Red Cross is fantastic! I always have a great experience whether donating blood or helping with aid to areas nearby.

1 year ago

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Sara Smith Riverton, UT

I always am willing to donate blood when I can. I have even been given movie tickets for doing so and that was a great surprise.

1 year ago

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Max Haynie Pleasant Grove, UT

They are a perfectly good company with a perfectly good cause. If you donate you know exactly where your money is going.

2 years ago