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|
|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|
|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|
|Partners in Health||81.8||25.4||Above average||Above average|
|Save the Children||87||52.2||Average||Average|
|United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)||43.1||3.6||Average||Average|
|World Food Programme||461||Unknown||Average||Above 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|
|Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund||52||20|
|Entertainment Industry Foundation||66||66|
Associated Press 2010, "Haiti gives conflicting counts for quake deaths"
See the last section of our 2011 blog post on funding for Haiti disaster relief.
Chronicle of Philanthropy 2010.
See the our 2011 blog post on funding for Haiti disaster relief.