Cru was founded as Campus Crusade for Christ in 1951 by Bill and Vonette Bright. The organization was originally headquartered in San Bernadino, California, but has since relocated its headquarters to Orlando, Florida. Campus Crusade for Christ changed its name to Cru in 2011, among great controversy. Some groups feel as though the organization is straying away from Biblical beliefs and teachings in its ministry to high school and college students, in the mission field, and to professional businesspeople around the world. Contributions are used to support Cru’s ministry.

Rank Chart
Total Income
Program Percentage
Our Score
#1
$888,650,367
99.2%
8.7
#2
$2,171,175,300
98%
7.8
#3
$912,451,190
95%
7.4
#20
CRU
$682,870,000
84.7%
4.5

The Good

  • Current annual report accessible to the public
  • Strong social media presence
  • Awards and recognition

Total Income

While Cru does not publish multiple years’ annual reports, the organization publishes the past several year’s income figures in its current annual report. Cru divides its income for United States donors and donations for Cru International as follows:

2015
$542,952,000 – U.S.
$139,918,000 – International
$682,870,000 – Total

2014
$537,908,000 – U.S.
$155,858,000 – International
$693,766,000 – Total

2013
$543,658,000 – U.S.
$145,591,000 – International
$689,249,000 – Total

2012
$527,635,000 – U.S.
$139,554,000 – International
$667,189,000 – Total

Donor Communication

One of the ways that Cru maintains communication is through its vast network of volunteers. This method employs a personal touch, which is missing from many organizations, but is also subject to various failings of human misinterpretations. When an individual becomes a donor or otherwise joins a Cru club, they receive updates via official communications via email, postal mail, etc. The organization operates social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Vine, Tumblr, and Instagram so that interested parties may follow the organization’s latest information via their preferred social media channel(s).

Awards

Cru has received awards as an organization, as have several members received individual recognitions for their accomplishments. Individuals receiving awards were members of Cru and recognized for their accomplishments in delivering its mission, and setting examples of leadership.

Organizational Awards

2012 Champions of Faith Winner – Charity Category
The Premier Foundation, in partnership with CBA (The Association for Christian Retail) Champions of the Faith Awards & Benefit Concert. It recognizes Christian retailers, businesses, organizations, entertainers, and individuals who are “Champions” of the faith and live their lives demonstrating their dedication to follow the principles of Jesus Christ.

Individual Recognitions

  • 2008 Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) Mark O. Hatfield Leadership Award
    Presented to Vonette Bright (co-founder of Cru) recognizing her efforts to improve Christian education through Cru’s ministry programs
  • 2010–2011 University of Akron Wayne College Leadership Awards given to Sarah Roeser (ASG, Campus Crusade for Christ) and Aaron Allison (ASG, Campus Crusade for Christ)
  • 2015 St. John’s River State College Academic Awards and Recognitions
    Awarded to club members for the Campus Crusade for Christ, recognizing the value of the club to student life and enriching the campus culture
  • 2016 Poster Presentation Award University of Maine Presque Isle – University Day
    Joshua Williams, a student presenter, was awarded for his talk/poster for University Day for his talk entitled, “Campus Crusade for Christ.”
  • 2016 William Woods University Amy Shelton McNutt Award
    Trevor Gruber, president of Cru at William Woods University, was recognized for his “consistency of purpose and selfless devotion to service.”

The Bad

  • Lacks financial transparency
  • High administrative expenses
  • Negative press

Administrative Expenses

Cru states in its annual report that it paid 6.9 percent of its expenses in general and administrative costs. The total amount of its expenses is not disclosed.

Cru’s lack of financial transparency stems largely by the fact that as a religious organization, it is not required to file an annual tax return with the IRS. Most charitable organizations file IRS Form 990, the return form for nonprofit organizations. Information included on the IRS Form 990 includes executive salaries. Rather than publish executive salaries, Cru simply publishes the “average employee salary” of $2,161 per month. This figure does not give an idea as to the number of full/part time employees, and suggests that executives are drawing salaries of around $24,000/year, which is likely untrue.

Fundraising Expenses

Cru does not publish its annual expenses, but rather a percentage of its expenses which was used for fundraising. In 2015, 8.4 percent of all expenses was allocated for fundraising. This lack of transparency is universal for the organization’s expenses.

Program Percentage

According to financial information published in Cru’s annual report, in 2015, the organization spent 84.7 percent of its revenue on program delivery; however since Cru does not disclose specific totals for the cost of its program, administrative, or fundraising, readers are unable to analyze this information for themselves. While the percentage reported is one that is considered a good rate of program delivery to revenue, the lack of transparency is a significant concern.

Negative Press

As Cru is a religious organization, there are many who do not share the same beliefs and are vocal about their disbelief online. Many blog posts discuss writers’ personal experiences with the organization, its inner workings, and shortcomings in fulfilling its mission to spread the word of Jesus Christ.

Several sources express displeasure about the organization changing its name in 2011 from Campus Crusade for Christ to Cru. Some stating that the organization has lost the focus upon Jesus Christ and has become more liberal in its views, specifically towards politically correct speech. Others allege that Cru is an organization which hinders the work of Christian missionary efforts, specifically in Muslim countries, due to its methods of proselyting and materials used. Some accuse Cru of inflating its numbers of stated college converts for self-promotion.

It should be noted that since Cru is a religious organization, it is has different government requirements for transparency and does not have the requirement to file annual IRS Form 990 returns. Many other charitable organizations which have roots in religious beliefs do submit needed information to be considered as an accredited charity by the Wise Giving Alliance.

Cru is not rated by Charity Navigator, another independent charity watchdog organization. While these voids are easily explained by the fact that Cru is a ministry, the lack of transparency places Cru as a disadvantage in comparison to other charitable organizations.

The Bottom Line

Cru donors help support its ministry around the world, furthering its mission to “win, build, and send Christ-centered multiplying disciples who launch spiritual movements.” Initially focused on college campuses, Cru’s program has grown to minister high school students, professionals, and individuals worldwide. There is some degree of opacity with the organization, which resulted in the Review Team not being able to rate the organization on several criteria. It is recommended that potential donors explore the organization’s message and if it falls into their personal religious beliefs, consider donating. However it should be stated that without full transparency, the Review Team cannot fully recommend Cru as an organization.

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