Samaritans Purse

Rating: 3.59 stars   41 reviews

Issues: International, Religion

Location: PO Box 3000 Boone NC 28607 USA

Mission: Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan's Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing Gods love through His son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

The BBB rates them as "Standards not met" and cites some clear and cogent reasons for doing so: http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/religious/samaritans-purse-in-boone-nc-281 Why would a NGO of this size not state their fundraising costs in their annual report? Power corrupts.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

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

Some

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 

Dear Dave, you may see our fundraising costs on page 37 of our annual report, which is available on our website here: http://samaritanspurse.org/giving/public/images/2011/2011_samaritans_purse_ar.pdf. Please let me know if you have other concerns. Bless you. Steve Nickel Director of Donor Services Samaritan's Purse 828-278-1396

Rating: 3 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Valuable, fun experience to understand your cash donation or christmas shoebox is benefiting a child and their holiday. Equipping them with gifts at Christams and making it a memorable experience.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

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

A little

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Unsure

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

There is no greater pleasure than seeing the smile of the kids opening their shoe boxes and knowing that what you are giving really goes to what it was destinated.

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?

Life-changing

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?

2012

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 3 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I feel like everyone is looking at this from the wrong perspective. 1st) The approach to CEO pay for a large non-profit CANNOT be approached much differently from CEO pay for a large corporation. Why? While there are surely a multitude of positions within a charitable organization that can pay based on the size of an employee's heart to a greater extent than for the size of an employee's skill, the CEO is not one of them. There are two basic reasons. Firstly, an organization of Samaritan Purse's magnitude and undoubted organizational complexity (non-profit, NGO, corporation, or otherwise) MUST attract an individual who is an excellent steward of the organization's assets. This means finding someone with a ton of a talent, decades of experience, and a rare skill set that involves managing - in this case - millions and millions of dollars in revenue and assets. That doesn't come cheap. In order to compete with high-paying firms that need great CEOs to do the exact same thing, non-profits have no choice but to compete on pay. Additionally, after some of the issues with big non-profits like Goodwill, it is imperative that a CEO be incentivized to uphold the core values of the organization and to, again, be an excellent steward of its assets. Because stock options are not an "option," in the case of a non-profit, salary is the only option. 2nd) What we should really be asking is why a non-profit is retaining 10% of revenue (primarily from donations) instead of spending it on programs; that's over $37 million in this case, folks. That's $37 million that's just sitting around not helping people who could use it. There are a few reasons (beyond idiotic management) that could explain this, but maybe it would better to look into something meaningful like that, instead of worrying about a CEO who is paid at a considerably lower % of expenses that a whole host of CEOs at other non-profits. For example, is this excess the result of forward planning in lieu of the potential Euro-zone meltdown, or the general volatility of the market over the last couple of years (which could ultimately result in a steep decline in donation funds in the matter of, say, only a few months... if that)? Maybe, within the regions in which Samaritan's Purse operates, it has simply exhausted its volunteer base, and has no ability to increase its operations to a point of alignment with the company's current donation potential. If the latter is the case, then they definitely don't need that extra 10% every year, and you might consider being cautious when making the decision to give. 3rd) There was an individual who gave the organization a 5 out of 5, apparently based solely on having participated in downstream, donation-acquisition activities. I would caution that it is the organization's macro financing and ultimately a thorough appraisal of its efforts abroad and/or in the inner cities (depending on the organization) that have a considerably more valuable bearing on its success in terms of making a difference for those who need the assistance.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Unlikely

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

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 3 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I tried to add some comments under other reviews, but got an error message, so I will add them here. These comments have to do with the discussion about Franklin Graham's compensation. I have donated to Samaritan's Purse in the past and haven't come to a personal opinion about the CEO salary question, but I wanted to share a couple of thoughts.

In one of the reviews it is said that Franklin Graham probably puts a lot of his own money into Samaritan's Purse. My observation is that if he is putting a lot of his salary back into Samaritan's Purse, that is tax inefficient. He would pay various taxes on his salary - and at a salary over $470K he would not be eligible for many deductions. It would make more sense for him to take a lower salary and leave the money in the charity, so an additional cut doesn't have to go to the government.

For that reason, my guess is that Franklin Graham isn't putting a significant percentage of his salary into Samaritan's Purse; of course, he may be tithing to his church and doing other charitable things with the money.

Another review mentioned that the total compensation number probably includes travel and other business expenses. It would be non-standard accounting if expenses such as travel were included in the CEO's compensation. As a general principal, you want things to be accounted for in the right "bucket" and travel expense should go in the travel expense bucket and salary should go in the salary bucket.

Of course there are cases where teachers buy supplies for their classes because the school district won't, or managers buy lunch for their team and don't submit it for reimbursement because company policy won't allow it (I've done that). Franklin Graham may be doing some similar things, but as CEO he is likely setting the appropriate reimbursement policies and following them. That means unreimbursed expenses are likely a small percentage of his total compensation. To do otherwise would be tax inefficient (for both him and Samaritan's Purse) and I assume Franklin Graham is too smart for that.

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?

Unsure

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I am sad to see some of the comments on here about how much Franklin Graham is making. Is that in gross or net amounts? And do these persons know what he does with the money? I am willing to bet that he is returning much of it back into the organization. I have been a donor through Christmas Child for only two years now and then recently have made some other donations for Sudan, where Franklin has been in the thick of where the people were under attack. How many CEO's of charities do that? I know only one other one for sure and that is Wess Stafford of Compassion International, I believe he would also risk his life for the children. I intend to continue giving to Samaritan's Purse until I see in black in white that Mr. Graham is ripping them off. My income would also look pretty good for other seniors my age, but nobody knows just what I do with that money, and a large percentage of it is given to charity, like sponsoring 8 children with Compassion and 2 with World Vision for one. If people are concerned about the money Franklin Graham is making, why don't the just ask him if that is net or gross and what percentage of it does he actually keep? I know he could tell them it is none of their business but then again they might be surprised.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

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

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Waisting resources? Could not have been more disappointed. I would caution anyone considering going on one of their missions trips to consider if their money and time could be better spent somewhere else. Maybe a group that is more accountable? We sent our young adult child on a trip that was meant to have both a medical and dental clinic as our child was preparing for medical school. NEITHER the medical clinic or the dental clinic WERE DONE on the two week trip. We did not find out until we could talk to our child when the group returned. No one told us and no one addressed it after the return. The group were just told they "didn't have a doctor" once they were down there like it was not big deal. They never so much as SAW a clinic. I wonder if this may happen frequently and unsuspecting volunteers miss out of contributing economically and physically in ways they had intended and raised funds for. The volunteers instead spent two weeks doing: some time at an orphanage and mostly distributing christmas boxes and playing with kids (often giving boys the girl boxes because they did not have the right amount of each gender) and they dug trenches by hand for two weeks (side note: daily pouring rain and mud). Prior to the trip, volunteers are encouraged to have their friends donate directly. The problem with this is that people unknowingly keep giving AFTER personal fundraising goals have been reached. I think this is done strategically by them and I believe it to be manipulative. We later found out our raised funds far exceeded the required funding for the medical and dental clinic trip (that WERE NOT EVEN DONE). We PERSONALLY raised more than the allotted funds and we had no say on where the additional hundreds and hundreds of dollars were to go. The youth raised enough for a medical and dental clinic. Neither were done and the money they raised for the clinic was of course not reimbursed or applied to them doing a clinic in the future. There were a few pre-med students on this trip anticipating to pay for incoming university and instead they invested in THIS GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT. There is no way the $3500+ that each person was asked to donate could be used up on only group reduced air fair and sleeping in a continually rained-out tent. Plus, like I said earlier, we raised quite a bit more than the minimum. WOuld not recommend.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

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

None

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 

Dear personwhojourneys, Thanks for your family's commitment to doing the work of God in the world. We regret the disappointments encountered and would welcome the opportunity to review the matter to see where things broke down and to improve future planning and communication. If you would, please, contact me directly at 828-278-1396. Steve Nickel, Director of Donor Services, Samaritan's Purse

Rating: 1 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

This 'samaritan's purse' is surely bulging! Must be the highest paid of ngo execs! DONORS BEWARE!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

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

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I an currently a Year Round Volunteer with Samaritan's Purse/Operation Christmas Child. During the past two years as shoe box gift packer, Project Leader for our church, Drop Off Location organizer and now Area Coordinator for Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Fountain Hills, AZ, I can honestly say I have been behind the scenes of this organization. They not only care about the children who receive the shoe box, but they also care about the volunteers and the people who pack the shoe boxes on "this side of the box". I only have good words and praise to say about this organization and before you make your comments based on the $$ amount paid to Franklin Graham, perhaps you should take a better look as to how they are accounting VERY CLOSELY all the monies and gifts that come in for needy children around the world. Thank you Samaritan's Purse/Operation Christmas Child for blessing me with the opportunity and privilege to work along side a well run organization!!

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?

Life-changing

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?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Before JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS, you criticizers need to understand that COMPENSATION is not the same as a salary. That $473,440 also includes EXPENSES for travel, food, lodging, etc. This would mean his salary is only a part of $473,440. Considering that a ministry of this size and magnitude probably requires Mr. Graham to do a lot of traveling, I do not find his COMPENSATION to be excessive at all.

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

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

Likely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from CharityNavigator