Mercy Corps

Rating: 3.43 stars   14 reviews

Issues: International

Location: 45 Sw Ankeny Street Portland OR 97204 USA

Mission: Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.
Programs: Mercy Corps works in the toughest places on the planet. Failing states like Somalia and Zimbabwe. Conflict zones like Afghanistan, Congo and Iraq. And countries that have endured natural disasters, like Pakistan and Haiti. In these places, a child’s life is often at risk. A woman’s education is usually ignored. A family’s livelihood is never a sure thing. These conditions threaten the welfare of neighborhoods, towns, provinces, countries and entire regions. To these important and imperiled places Mercy Corps brings relief, recovery and development. For 32 years, we have helped people grappling with the toughest hardships survive – and then thrive. That’s the heart of our approach: we help communities turn crisis into opportunity. Decades of field experience have shown us the most effective ways to support that transformation. We know that local people are the best agents of their own change and that local markets are often the fastest, most durable drivers of economic recovery. That’s why we listen to what communities need and prioritize their most important projects. It’s why we often partner with local organizations – and why our program teams are 95 percent staffed by local people. Mercy Corps approaches each challenge with an open mind and a bias for action. We listen to local people and prioritize their most urgent needs. We fix gaps to get markets up and running. We think big, start small and take responsible risks to find solutions that benefit the greatest number of people.
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 3 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

For the record, I worked for MC. I will say that MC is better than the majority of NGOs I've worked for in the past, and will also say ain't-nobody-getting-rich-from-working-for-MC. I'd also say MC's overhead is pretty darn low considering how comprehensive its transparency policies and audits etc are (read PITA for employees, good for donors i guess). I still find that MC is too much of a slave to "just keeping the donors happy" which doesn't always mean making real impact HOWEVER if you are going to give to an NGO it is certainly one of the better ones. Its a bit ironic that many that I see that are phenomenal at visibility are the more mediocre (on the ground). Lastly I noticed the guidestar rating 3 star is "meets expectations" and MC meets my (fairly low) expectations, but I gotta say after working in the sector for 10+ years, no one has exceed my expectations (ie done what they say they have done).

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

Its not a question of changing the organization, its more a question of changing the donors (the larger donors). Most donation money just covers HQ costs which is needed to support the field projects which are paid for by larger donors (USAID, DFID, etc)(large donors rarely agree to cover a realistic amount of HQ costs). Large donors are quite willing to be very superficial in their oversight of actual-on-the-ground effectiveness of NGO projects so not much will happen until they push for more.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Some

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Unsure

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

 
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Review from Guidestar
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 2 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Mercy Corps is extremely donor-driven, and its priority is to get grants, even if they don't match its strategic priorities. Serious management issues and low performance in country offices are ignored by HQ management, like in the case of Sudan/South Sudan: http://www.usaid.gov/oig/public/fy12rpts/4-668-12-009-p.pdf

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Somewhat badly

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

 
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Review from CharityNavigator