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223 Reviews
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October 16, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

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October 16, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

I was a regular donor to IRUSA...not anymore.
After reading some of the comments on this website and Googled reviews and info about IRUSA, I have concluded they are not the organization for me.
Clearly, form their responses to negative reviews they have not been forthcoming to donor's
concerns and questions and in my opinion they are hiding their shortcomings.
September 4, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

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September 4, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

I have just read the long editorial written by "ButterFlyWings" presumably of IRUSA responding to negative reviews posted here by myself and other readers/donors.

I find the editorial, In my opinion, full of fluff and lacks substance. The writer/editor goes on about studies and research
justifying higher overhead, expenses and I am assuming cash reserve, but never reference the few very successful and may I add noble charitable organizations that refuses to follow the example of majority of corrupt, deceiving money hungry organizations that have been exposed over and over. The editor never directly answer any of the questions and concerns I and few others had posted about their massive accounting fraud and the deception they have committed for years until exposed by the media, but rather writes about some non functioning computers and some old office furniture and garbage like that. Tell that to your donors and see how far it will get you.


My wife and I used to be donors and have giving IRUSA tens of thousands, we were deceived when told that 93% of our donation reaches the needy. It was a lie and we are very angry about it.


IRUSA need to directly answer the following and not beat around the bushes with long editorials:


- What percentage of donation reaches the needy?

- What percentage is saved for cash reserve and why?

- Why are they keeping well over $42 million in cash reserve when there are so many hungry people in the world?

- What percentage is used for admin fee and expenses?

- How much is their CEO salary and benefits?

- Did IRUSA overstate the value of donated medicine and why?

- Why wouldn't they answer donors call or return calls when explanation to the so called accounting fraud is demanded.


And finally would they admit and apologize for past mistakes?


Until IRUSA answers the above, anything they writes is a fluff.
August 29, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

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August 29, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

Edit: To reviewer AbuFaris:
Actually, I am writing this as a personal review just as you are supposedly, although you claim to have written before, but you are writing under multiple different member names? Sounds like fraud to me. And also, none of this is fluff, it's the truth. Look up the
topic for yourself unless you would like for me to create you a source list? Several sources I mention include this very site and others in the field of philanthropy. Also, the point is that you're mistaking transparency for "fraud" at a time when the industry itself is changing. You say: "I find the editorial, In my opinion, full of fluff and lacks substance," but can you tell me who these other successful and notable charities with no overhead are? Are you quite certain that you know all the details of how these supposedly no overhead organizations fund their operations? I can give you an example: Famously, Smile Train, an organization that treats children born with cleft lip and palate conditions, has claimed that “100 percent of your donation will go toward programs … zero percent goes to overhead.” Nevertheless, the fine print goes on to say that this is not because the organization has no overhead; rather, it is because Smile Train uses contributions from “founding supporters” to cover its nonprogram costs. Interesting right? The point I was making is that donors hurt charities ability to grow and have greater reach and impact in the work they do, with this argument about overhead and salaries alleged "financial fraud". This is a real trend in the industry and humanitarian work is suffering because of it. And as far as your questions go, much of that information is public knowledge, like the salary of a CEO, which isn't what you or any other negative reviewer reported. And also, that IRUSA was somehow exposed by the media, which isn't true, they were one of few organizations to blow the whistle on and move away from practices of drug company intermediaries and their valuing system when providing/selling medicines to charities. ... The U.S. department of agriculture is one of many who continued this even in recent years. Now that should be upsetting to you. These are my answers that I found out on my own READING. You can too.


This is in response to any negative reviews about administrative costs, financial audits, and whatever other issues you may have about the "logic" of financing a charity that actually reaches millions of people in need every single year and growing. If you are negatively reviewing a for all intents and purposes stellar Islamic organization that is reputable in the United States and globally on the basis of bogus theories about how much it costs to finance any charitable operation and deliver reporting on those operations, you have personal agendas and issues that extend way beyond the scope of this response.

I will say that every donor should change their mentality about what it means to give charity, and serious think, with your brain, about how many people Islamic Relief USA is able to benefit with every single donation it collects. And then consider, very carefully, with your educated brain, how effective your say, $100 donation would be in terms of a dollar/reach ratio. Rather than focus on a very traditional, and illogical logic, of the weight of administrative costs to deliver quality services to ENTIRE COMMUNITIES of people in need (a logic that actually hurts non-profit organizations and charitable groups from growing), you should consider a much more sound and positive logic that considers effectiveness per donor dollar. In other words, for every dollar you give to a charity, how much work does that dollar do in your name? How many people does it help and touch? And, would you be able to have the same reach with your dollar if you chose to deliver that dollar on your own? The answer is NO.

Long-term stability of development and humanitarian work SHOULD be part of what you consider when you choose to donate to an organization. You really need to get beyond this notion of "overhead" as an indicator of charity performance because ACTUALLY it's been proven to NOT be a valid indicator, on its own, of the quality of organization you are donating to. This very website, which you are so callously using as your platform to bash charities is one of many that have denounced this practice in ranking charities, in addition to Charity Navigator, the BBB, Guidestar and more. This practice actually starves nonprofits from investing in themselves to build decent infrastructures that ARE NOT CORRUPT and actually provide QUALITY SERVICES to the people who need them in addition to creating jobs, advocating for change on major issues, and more.

Organizations that are trying to build a sturdy and robust infrastructure that includes information technology systems, financial systems, skills training, fundraising processes, and other essential overhead, succeed in delivering charitable services MORE EFFECTIVELY and EFFICIENTLY than those that do not, not mention help provide millions of jobs that are lacking in a broken worldwide economy.

Yet, you should know, it is also a fact that MANY GOOD NONPROFITS are actually NOT SPENDING ENOUGH on building this infrastructure according to many experts in the field. Did you know, that the Charities Review Council has maintained a Use of Funds standard that calls for nearly 30% of expenses on admin and fundraising combined for nonprofit organizations and that this percentage has been expanded to include up to 40% recommended?

Here's just one example, and there are many more studies like it:
"Underfunding overhead can have disastrous effects, finds the Nonprofit Overhead Cost Study, a five year research project conducted by the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. The researchers examined more than 220,000 IRS Form 990s and conducted 1,500 in-depth surveys of organizations with revenues of more than $100,000. Among their many dismaying findings: nonfunctioning computers, staff members who lacked the training needed for their positions, and, in one instance, furniture so old and beaten down that the movers refused to move it. The effects of such limited overhead investment are felt far beyond the office: nonfunctioning computers cannot track program outcomes and show what is working and what is not; poorly trained staff cannot deliver quality services to beneficiaries."

In short, YOU, negative reviewers and your concerns about overhead are actually really ignorant and hurtful to people working really hard everyday to dedicate their lives to making the world a better place.
You are contributing to a vicious cycle that corrupts organizations more than you may be aware of. It's a cycle that goes something like this:

1. You have unrealistic expectations about how much it costs to run a nonprofit and what it means to have your money do work to deliver aid.
2. You pressure nonprofits to conform to your unrealistic expectations.
3. Nonprofits respond to this pressure in two ways: They spend too little on overhead, and they underreport their expenditures on tax forms and in fundraising materials.
4. This underspending and underreporting in turn perpetuates funders’ unrealistic expectations.
5. Over time, funders expect grantees to do more and more with less and less—a cycle that slowly starves nonprofits.

Research concludes that the first of these steps is the most detrimental and you really need to realize the impact your negative reviews have without sound basis for argument. For example, it's often seen that in an effort to appease donors like you, nonprofits won't offer competitive salaries for qualified specialists, and so instead make do with hires who lack the necessary experience or expertise. Similarly, many organizations that limit their investment in staff training find it difficult to develop a strong pipeline of senior leaders. This is just one point among many.

GOOD CHARITIES SPEND MORE ON "ADMIN" BUT IT'S NOT MONEY WASTED AND IS NOT DETACHED FROM DELIVERING QUALITY AID TO PEOPLE IN NEED.

That's not to say Islamic Relief USA is perfect or that there aren't areas where it can't improve in the industry, but ultimately, IRUSA is a growing organization, growing in the face of adversity I should remind you, and yet maintains a good reputation in the industry for the work its doing and how it's doing it. And they continue to keep working to improve because they are faith-based, and are aware of the moral and ethical concerns that must be grappled with when it comes to how to best reach people in need with the money of good people.

That being said, IRUSA's CEO is actually UNDERPAID by industry standards. The $250K number that you all pulled up without checking for yourselves is WRONG. This is public information that you can find yourselves if you choose to be educated. And honestly, maybe IRUSA should have a CEO paid $250K, and maybe underpaid staff who risk their lives every day to deliver services or who work long hours to reach people in need and develop programs should be compensated for their skills and time. Then you would have the best of the best working for your charity rather than APPLE or FACEBOOK.

Anyway, some considerations ... Choose to listen to the neighing and gossip of the masses or educate yourselves on how to really support GOOD organizations who you can help to benefit humanity in the long-term.

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

August 29, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
August 29, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

They have been engaged in massive accounting fraud and have deceived donors for years. They have actually changed CPA's every year to avoid getting caught, and in the past at least 2 CPA firms have refused to sign off on their financial statements and disengaged from them. They overstated the value of drugs received by them in "donations" (gifts in kind), showing receipts of $140,000,000 when the actual market value of the drugs was about $500,000. Between 2007 and 2009, they were advised repeatedly by their former controller to change their accounting standards, and they refused to do so. Read about the scandal at http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampbarrett/2011/11/04/scandal-erupts-over-inflated-drug-values-used-by-charities/

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Be honest with my donors, telling them how much is actually going to the needy.

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Unsure

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unsure

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

August 15, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

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August 15, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

What's the point of having $41million in cash reserve when there are starving children around the world? I tend to agree with the reviewer in this forum that Islamic Relief is keeping it to ensure their salaries stays in place when donations are low. I am sure donors such as myself would not approve of such thing if they become aware of it. Why don't Islamic Relief publish this fact in their annual brochure or newsletter they normally send to their donors, tell the truth or give a valid reason why such large amount should be reserved. If its for a rainy day then there is no better rainy days than now. Donors wants to see their donations reach the needy now, not later.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not keep large cash reserve for nothing...lower overhead, be more transparent as where every penny is going and not twist the truth especially with accounting.

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Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unsure

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

August 15, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

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August 15, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

Just because XYZ charity's CEO pays himself half a million $ doesn't mean Islamic Relief CEO should do the same. Why are you (IRUSA) emulating morally corrupt CEO's instead of the good ones? Take for example JAL (Japan Airline) a well respected billion of dollars for profit corporation...its CEO makes only about $90K a year. Same goes for most Japanese corporation CEOs if not all. Just because Islamic Relief is based in US does not mean its CEO should pay himself high salary. You need to set an example for the rest of society.

I am angry and not sure if I want to donate anymore.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Reorganize and consolidate operation with other Islamic charities for bigger and lower overhead. No high salary CEO.

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How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

August 15, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

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August 15, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

$250K a year salary for a charitable organization CEO is outrageous!

Are you running a for profit business or a charity? I don't see the justification for such high salary. Donors are trusting you with their zakat, sadaqua and so on and you are paying yourself high salary...fear God.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make sure everyone is volunteering their service or paid reasonable wage for their services..This is a Charity not a business.

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2014

August 14, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

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August 14, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

I have been reading some reviews here recently and found out that Islamic Relief CEO annual compensation is about $250K!!! that seems excessive for a charitable organization.

Please do not tell me this is in line with other CEO's compensation, we all know that most are corrupt and are
doing it to benefit themselves not the needy.

I expect Islamic Relief director or CEO (if he prefers this western title) to follow the example of prophet Mohammed and the four righteous caliphs (Rashidun) instead of following the example of greedy CEOs.

I want to see most of my donation money go to the needy. I will have to rethink about sending in my donation if this is going to continue.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

lower CEO compensation to a modest level.

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

August 13, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
August 13, 2014
3 people found this review helpful

It seemed that every time there is a negative review about IRUSA on this website, there is a sudden surge of good reviews (presumably from IRUSA) to mask the bad review. Let me explain to everyone that I used to donate to IRUSA for many years, and I considered myself a major contributor since my wife and I have giving them tens of thousands of dollars. We were convinced it was a great organization since they have promoted themselves as a low overhead and 93% of all donations goes to the needy. It was only recently we've discovered that 93% were an accounting trick to make the organization look very efficient and to convince people to give out more. The story was first reported by Forbes magazine some two years ago or so and I started doing my own research by looking at IRUSA tax forms filed with the United States Internal Revenue Services. For those that do not know it, tax filings are public information and anyone can look at and examine anytime, so I am not making up anything here, I am just reporting what is on IRUSA taxes.

I did my own calculation and have concluded (as did Forbes magazine earlier) that IRUSA were really cooking the books to make their overhead look low. Reality is the opposite, and according to my own calculation only about 60-64% of donations end up going to the needy in a form of wire transfer to third world countries. Once its wired to destination X no one really know for sure how much is really going to the needy as there may be other fees deducted such as logistics and who knows what else. But I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that it is still between 60-64%, a far cry from the 93% they used to advertise.

The way IRUSA managed to fool everyone is by obtaining cheap medicine in the form of (antibiotics and/or anti diarrhea pills) that literally cost pennies but they have inflated their values hundreds if not thousands of times in their accounting books. This trick is used by several dishonest charitable organizations to make them look more efficient. I find it hard to believe that IRUSA did not know about it since it went on for years and had paid someone well over $500,000 a year in consultant fees to manage such a trick.

Since the trick was first discovered and reported by Forbes magazine, Charity Navigator has dropped IRUSA rating from 4 stars to low 3 stars and because the Internal Revenue Services is cracking down on charitable organization for using such accounting trick, IRUSA stopped inflating medicine prices and consequently the advertising of its 93% efficiency thing. That's when I and few others became alarmed and did our own investigation. I have since stopped donating to them and have called their office several times to speak to someone to find out the truth and giving them a chance to explain what's been reported, but I only got the runaround. I would love to have a transparent and a meaningful dialogue with their CEO anytime.

IRUSA need to come clean and admit past mistakes. They have managed to fool donors for years but it finally caught up with them. I am taking this matter very personally and feel my money did not reach the needy as IRUSA promised. They have failed me as well as others. I will be watching them and will be writing about them periodically. They do not realize the power of the internet, twitter and the persistence of people such as myself in finding out the truth. IRUSA can keep masking all the negative reviews they wish but they are going to be all over the internet unless they come clean and apologize for past shortcomings.

IRUSA need to explain why its CEO is being paid about $250,000 in annual salary and benefits while hundreds of others in the fields are getting nothing. It seems that only the few and privileged at IRUSA office are getting paid really well and the rest in third world countries are considered volunteers and get nothing. When you work for a charity you are supposed to do it from the heart not to benefit your wallet.

I would also like to know why IRUSA is keeping well over $41 million in cash reserve and assets (as of 12/2012 and growing) instead of distributing it to the needy especially at this time when there are so many destitute around the world. The only reason I can think of is they are keeping the assets to ensure their salaries are not diminished when donations are dwindled.

IRUSA, I will be watching you. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Admit past mistakes or deception and apologize to the every donor for them.

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Unsure

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

August 13, 2014

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August 13, 2014

I've volunteered and donated to their various programs. I am familiar with a number of their employees and they are great people, both personally and professionally. IR USA has a number of programs to address the various needs of people around the world. Knowing that their overhead is so low it's a good charity to donate to.
To the guy with the bad review - please read up on the great work they've done and please stop criticizing an entire organization based on a few honest mistakes.

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

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