A note on this page's publication date

The content we created in 2011 appears below. This content is likely to be no longer fully accurate, both with respect to the research it presents and with respect to what it implies about our views and positions.

Published: February 2011

In January of 2010, Haiti was hit by a catastrophic earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people1 and left a million or more suddenly homeless.2 Within days, over $200 million had been donated to the relief effort;3 within a year, the total amount raised or pledged exceeded $5 billion.4 A year later, the relief effort had made a tangible difference, but had also hit major snags including a cholera outbreak, and the situation in Haiti remained dire.5

In the year following the disaster, we reviewed the information put out by the major disaster relief organizations, and rated the clarity and transparency of this information. While we were not able to come to strong views on the quality of services provided in the relief effort, we hope that by donating to more transparent organizations, donors can contribute to incentives for more transparency and clarity in general.

The table below summarizes our findings, with links to more detailed writeups on each organization. More details on how we found, examined and rated organizations are available at our process page for this cause. Based on this examination, we feel that Doctors Without Borders, Partners in Health and Direct Relief International stand out for their above-average transparency.

Organization Funds raised (millions USD) Funds spent (millions USD) Transparency on disaster relief activities Transparency on everyday activities
American Red Cross 479 245 Slightly above average Average
Americares 16.2 4.8 Slightly above average Average
CARE 45 23.2 Average Average
Catholic Relief Services 196 62.7 Average Average
Direct Relief International 6.3 2.6 Above average Above average
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) 134.96 102.57 Above average Above average
Feed The Children 1.2 1.2 Slightly above average Average
Food for the Poor 20.7 20.7 Average Average
Habitat for Humanity International 20.5 13 Average Average
Heifer International 1.9 1.0 Average Average
International Federation of the Red Cross 1147.98 280.39 Average Average
International Medical Corps 6.7 4.1 Average Average
International Rescue Committee 13.1 5.1 Average Average
Islamic Relief USA 2.5 1.7 Average Average
Mercy Corps 16.8 5.1 Average Average
Oxfam 98 68 Average Average
Partners in Health 81.8 25.4 Above average Above average
PSI 0.4 0.3 Average Strong
Salvation Army 48 17 Average Average
Save the Children 87 52.2 Average Average
UNICEF 300 112 Average Average
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) 43.1 3.6 Average Average
United Way 3.9 0.7 Average Average
World Food Programme 461 Unknown Average Above average
World Vision 192 60 Average Average
Yéle 13.9 Unknown Average Average

Details of how we define transparency are available at process page for this cause.

We also reviewed the following organizations, but excluded them from the above table - and from our transparency ratings - because they appear to primarily regrant funds to other organizations (more on these organizations at our process page for this cause).

Organization Funds raised (millions) Funds spent (millions)
American Jewish World Services (AJWS) 6.5 1.4
ChildFund International 1.5 0.6
Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund 52 20
Entertainment Industry Foundation 66 66

More information:

Sources