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Doctors Without Borders USA Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Disaster Aid, Disaster Preparedness & Relief Services, International, International Development, Refugees

Mission: MSF is an independent, international medical relief organization aiding victims of armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and social marginalization. Each year, MSF doctors, nurses, logisticians, water-and-sanitation experts, administrators, and other medical and non-medical professionals depart on more than 3,800 aid missions. They work alongside more than 22,500 locally hired staff to provide medical care in more than 60 countries. In emergencies and their aftermath, MSF provides health care, rehabilitates and runs hospitals and clinics, performs surgery, battles epidemics, carries out vaccination campaigns, operates feeding centers for malnourished children, and offers mental health care. When needed, MSF also constructs wells and dispenses clean drinking water, and provides shelter materials like blankets and plastic sheeting. MSF was founded in 1971 by a small group of French doctors and journalists as the first non-governmental organization to both provide emergency medical assistance and to publicly bear witness to the plight of the people it assists.

Programs:

Every year, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides emergency medical care to millions of people caught in crises in more than 60 countries around the world. MSF provides assistance when catastrophic events — such as armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, or natural disasters — overwhelm local health systems. MSF also assists people who face discrimination or neglect from their local health systems or when populations are otherwise excluded from health care.

On any given day, close to 27,000 doctors, nurses, logisticians, water-and-sanitation experts, administrators, and other qualified professionals can be found providing medical care in international teams made up of local MSF aid workers and their colleagues from around the world.

 

Community Stories

34 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

Donor

Rating: 4

I seriously considered stopping my donations to Doctors without Borders because I could not get them to stop sending me solicitations by mail. I finaly wrote to directly to a board member when I received a solicitation signed by her. I have not received any mail from Doctors without Borders in several weeks. I am cautiously optimistic at this point that the mail has stopped.

Comments ( 1 )

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your generosity and support of Doctors Without Borders’ work. Please know, that we make our very best effort to respect all our donors’ requests for limited solicitations and apologize that your initial requests were not honored. If you contact our Donor Services department at the number below we will confirm that our records reflect your specific preferences. Also, if at any time in the future you would like to change the frequency with which we contact you, please feel free to contact us directly. Donor Services, 212-763-5779 or donations@newyork.msf.org

Review from CharityNavigator

1 Paul F.

Donor

Rating: 5

Doctors Without Borders is one of the premier international medical non-profits. Doctors Without Borders medical staff provide health services in areas of the world that are too dangerous from other non-profit agencies to work in. The courage of these doctors is unbelievable. They are literally laying their lives on the line to provide medical services in conflict zones around the world. Critics who question the fund-raising practices of DWB are directed to www.charitynavigator.org and www.charitywatch.org.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your support of Doctors Without Borders work. We are grateful for your positive feedback. Our field staff works in nearly 70 countries around the world, and in many regions where conditions can be extraordinarily precarious. The generosity of donors like you makes their work possible and allows Doctors Without Borders to treat many thousands of people around the globe who would otherwise have no access to medical care. We hope you will continue to contribute as we depend on individual donors for more than 90% of our annual funding.

1

Donor

Rating: 3

Like some others who have commented, I receive about one mailing per month from this charity, each with a 45-cent stamp on the enclosed envelope. How many people are likely to donate this frequently? I feel it is a real waste of money on their part and would like to see that money go to their field work instead. If people want to donate, they will provide their own stamp! This practice has made me less likely to contribute in the future.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

First, thank you for your support of Doctors Without Borders. We appreciate and share your interest in keeping fundraising costs low and are continually reviewing our practices in an effort to lower them. We also strive to always honor specific requests from donors, regarding how often and in what manner we communicate with them. We would be happy to discuss your preferences and put in place measures that will ensure future correspondence are the most cost and environmentally responsible. Please feel free to contact us directly at Doctor Without Borders headquarters in New York. Donor Services, 212-763-5779 or donations@newyork.msf.org

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 4

Yes, they do wonderful work but I too am tired of all the snail mail (and environmental degradation that goes with it). Seems like that would be better spent on non-donors. If you stop donating, does the mail ever end?

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your generosity and interest in Doctors Without Borders. We share your desire in keeping costs low and minimizing any negative impact our fundraising efforts may have on the environment. Donors can notify us of their contact preferences on our website, http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/contact/. This link allows you to let us know how often and in which manner you would like us to communicate with you. We are happy to honor any requests you have related to when and how you hear from us. Our donor services team is available at 212-763-5779 or donations@newyork.msf.org

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 1

We have donated to Doctors Without Borders for many years. They absolutely will not stop the snail mail, no matter what we do. We donate to quite a few charities, and all of them have honored our request to stop the calls/snail mail. But Doctors Without Borders will not. Also, their privacy choices are difficult to find on their website, and I'm not sure they will honor those preferences either. There are so many wonderful international charities that we find it easy to stop our donations to this group.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

First let us apologize for not having honored your requests. We try our best to respect the wishes of all of our supporters. From time to time duplicate records are created in our database and an individual may be entered more than once in the system under a slightly different name or address. This may generate duplicate mailings or additional contact from us. We continually work to improve our systems to ensure your requests are honored. If you would be so kind as to contact us in our NYC office, we would be happy to review your current preferences and put in place the necessary filters which will reduce or completely stop our mailings if that is what you wish. We are also able to limit our correspondence with you to email alone, if that’s your preference.

Review from CharityNavigator

Marius M.

Donor

Rating: 5

Doctors without borders is one of the most proactive and altruistic charities I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. Their efforts around the world have an immediate impact, and their non-bias and anti discriminatory policies is one of the reasons why I hold them in such high regard.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your support and for your kind words. We know you have many choices when making charitable contributions. We strive to bring both transparency and integrity to every element of our work.

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 5

Looks like this organization has gotten back its 4 star rating. I plan to donate for the first time this year as I know a person who is participating. 13% is not unusual to spend for getting contributions in this economy where everyone is tightening their purse strings. I would hope that once you have donated, they don't ask you again until the following year.

Review from CharityNavigator

Donor

Rating: 2

I have been a donor for years and was disappointed to find Doctors Without Borders downgraded to 3 stars. I will contribute again this year but if there is no improvement in their rating for 2012, I will remove them from my charitable donations list.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Doctors Without Borders would like to acknowledge and address your concern regarding our recent rating change on Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator 2.0, the updated system by which the site assess charitable groups' accountability and financial position, assigns significant value to year over year increases in programmatic spending. Charity Navigator asks that the nonprofits they evaluate grow at a certain rate each year in order to be considered healthy financially. Doctors Without Borders, however, is an emergency response organization and our program commitments can shift from year to year. In 2009, the year considered for our current 3 Star rating, Doctors Without Borders made an internal decision to cap our program expense growth over the prior year. We did this to ensure that after a 26% growth in 2008 that we could continue to maintain the high quality of our projects while growing prudently. We made this conscious decision to make sure our patients were receiving the high quality care they needed, in addition to continuing to expand our reach at a reasonable rate. If you would like to discuss our work or our ratings on Charity Navigator, please our Donor Services department, 212-763-5779 or donations@newyork.msf.org Charity Navigator provides information online to explain how they rate growth, we have posted it below: “In response to the recession, many charities have trimmed expenses either because they were forced to as actual revenues declined or in anticipation of such a decline. Among all the types of charities we evaluate, these causes have reported the biggest changes in their spending on programs since the recession took hold. Adjustments for the program expense growth scores for each of these categories began with the fiscal year ending 2009. Each cause was adjusted individually based on the actual reported data. Each charity's rating page shows its actual program expense growth rate, not the normalized figure which we use in evaluating the organization.”

Review from CharityNavigator

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have gladly donated monthly to the courageous Doctors and staff of this necessary organization for many years now. But as I give to other needy charities as well, I use the 4 Stars of Charity Navigator as my cutoff point for deciding who will receive my donations. I am considering holding back on donating to Doctors Without Borders until they meet the 4 star criteria. But the hard working Doctors and Staff on the front lines don't "manage the business" so I'd like to see the management staff and board hustle to get this Charity up to the high class standards of the many other charitable organizations and support their front line.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

We are glad to report that Doctors Without Borders 4 Star Rating has been reinstated in 2012 and we hope you will continue to support our work in the field, as we respond to the need for medical care in 70 countries around the globe. Please also see our response to similar comments made by other supporters. If you would like to discuss our work or our ratings on Charity Navigator, please contact our Donor Services department, 212-763-5779 or donations@newyork.msf.org

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 3

The cost of $.13 to receive a $1 donation seems high and unnecessary. I received mailers at least monthly, if not more. I finally requested that they stop sending requests except once a year, which they have done, fortunately. I have always happily donated to this charity, but am now reconsidering. I think they can do better at increasing the amount of their funds going to programs, rather than fundraising. They should evaluate how effective their fundraising strategies really are.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your support and for sharing your concerns about Doctors Without Borders' cost of fundraising. We value your feedback and want to address your concerns specifically and directly. Doctors Without Borders' executive staff and board of directors are highly conscious of the cost of fundraising and make every effort to keep that cost low. At $.13 to raise a dollar our cost of fundraising exceeds nonprofit industry standards, and is comparable to that of other humanitarian aid organizations. Please note that the figures that you are referring to are from our 2009 audited financials. That year, as the economy dipped, our fundraising team had to make significant efforts to raise the revenue needed to support our programs, as donor response declined from prior years. With those additional efforts our cost of fundraising slightly increased. In our 2010 financials, you will see that our cost to raise a dollar has decreased to less than $.10, this is because of the significant amounts of support we received in response to the earthquake in Haiti. External factors influence our cost to raise a dollar from year to year. In order to help bring down the cost of fundraising the best thing that donors can do is to become a Field Partner (monthly donor). You will receive less mail, which means less cost, and you provide a guarantee of regular, predictable, and unrestricted funds for our projects. You can find more information regarding our Field Partner program on our website: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/monthly.cfm? We appreciate your concern and hope this sheds a bit more light on the question of our cost of fundraising. If you would like to discuss this further please contact our Donor Services department at Donations@newyork.msf.org.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 1

I have supported this organization as a Field Partner for several years. I authorized a small charge of $7.50 on my charge card each month to support their work. However, in June 2011, they put a charge of $800.00 on my card without my authorization. When I called, they offered absolutely no explanation as to how this could have happened and four days later, there is still no credit pending on my account to reverse this charge.

Comments ( 1 )

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

We apologize for this error and have taken steps to correct it and to prevent similar errors in the future. We hope this matter has been resolved to your satisfaction. We are genuinely sorry both for the error on our part and for the time it took to resolve. We hope that if in the future when you have issues or questions you will contact our Donor Services department, 212-763-5779 or donations@newyork.msf.org

Review from CharityNavigator

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a Physician my self but not biased. I am also the president of Sahaita Inc. a 501 c 3 non profit organization. We started up after Tsunami in 2005. At the time of Tsunami we raised lot of funds and the only organization which really cared and went out of their to appreciate our work was Doctor's without Border's. Lot of them didnot even acknowledge they got funds but I will not name any. Doctors without Borders are really a great organization. Since they need long commitments I could never join them so started our own small organization with similar goals called Sahaita Inc. ( You can visit us st www.sahaita.org) This time again The two picks where our funds we collect will go to are doctors without Borders and United Sikh organization which does a lot of work( which sometime do not get credited).United Sikh is also a volunteer run Non profit entity and they did great work at Tsunami,Katerina and in Houston during last Hurricanes and ran Food kitchens. So our 100% support for Doctor without Borders and United Sikh organization, Thanks you all for working to help Humanity.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/15/2012

Thank you for your generosity and endorsement of our work. Doctors Without Borders will continue to expand our work where possible to underserved populations around the world and appreciate support from contributors who provide us with the means to meet the needs of so many.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I recommend this organization who help under developed countries by providing health care in over 70 countries. they currently have a special program helping people in Haiti who have no health coverage or medical assistance.

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Doctors Without Borders 08/14/2012

Thank you for your support and endorsement of our work.