I interned with Invisible Children for five months. As an organization, their integrity and passion are unmatched. The individuals that make up the team are some of the most inspiring and quirky people I've ever met. There are very few organizations I trust as much as Invisible Children, and their impact in conflict-affected regions is incredible.
Review from Guidestar
I have been a volunteer, employee and board member for various non-profits over the past 32 years. Invisible Children has captured my heart and the hearts of my husband and four adult children! Each opportunity to volunteer has been a gift to us! Over the past 10 years I have seen IC grow and change the lives of many Ugandans! I appreciate how they respect the time of each volunteer and are very organized. We always accomplish much during hours spent volunteering. This is a great organization!
I first found out about the organization in 2010. I was initially impressed by the programs they have in on the ground in Central and East Africa. I also liked how they had options to help that didn't involve just giving money; they also included activism and awareness as a students in particular could be a part of ending the conflict. I earn my degree in International Relations and focused on international non-profits through much of my time in college. I even did a research paper on Invisible Children in 2011. Therefore,I was greatly sadden by critics in 2012 who had accept and spread false information.
A lot of people don't understand is the purpose of Invisible Children. They clearly state that their purpose is to bring an end to the rebel group, the LRA. While helping those in Uganda and helping the children is obviously part of that, it is not the primary purpose. The main focus is bringing an end to a conflict that has gone on for 26 years and has affected 5 countries and is being fought for personal gain on part of the rebels.
Invisible Children started in 2004 and has made many videos in that time, since as they clearly state is the main way they have found effective in raising awareness for this conflict. You can find a sampling of some of their videos here http://vimeo.com/invisible/albums/page:1/sort:date. I personally recommend that you watch "The Rescue", which was made a few years ago.
Review from CharityNavigator
invisible children submitted their own paperwork, they have not, and will not let an independent auditor look at their books. very little money goes into doing any good. they spend way to much money on fony marketing, yeah, fony, llike their kony 2012 phony junk, they supposed spend a fortune 'creating' videos, they have one video that they have been using for years, with very minor changes, which in no way justify the costs they claim! they raise lots of money, spend far to much traveling, parties, booze and drugs as some people now know is true. i hope more people wake up to the fact they are spending your money as their own private piggy bank. do not let their fancy accounting fool you, if they really are legit charity, they would let people actually look at their true costs and actual spending, AND they would allow independent auditors look as well!
This is a bizarre and completely inaccurate review. I am very suspicious behind the motive for posting something so blatantly false. Invisible Children, as every registered non-profit in the US, is required by law to have their financials reviewed by a 3rd party auditing firm and posted online. Invisible Children has done so here: http://invisiblechildren.com/financials From what i can tell josephweglarz has never actually encountered this non-profit our their work and for some reason has a motive to undermine this organization, not sure why?
Review from CharityNavigator
My first experience with Invisible Children was when 'Kony 2012' first came out. I was in high school and I held a rally at my school for the cause. When all the controversy about Invisible Children came out, I did my own independent research and I found out some things about Invisible Children that I didn't really like. I found out that a portion of their funds doesn't actually go to the children in Uganda. This surprised me because everything I had read before was painting them out to be a very financially sound company. Instead of this turning me off to Invisible Children completely, I did some thinking about what I wanted to believe. I figured out that Invisible Children is such a new organization and they are trying to accomplish something major for our time. I believe that they shouldn't have done some things and maybe should have done others, but they are a good organization with good intentions. Maybe people who think they are wrong should stop and look back at the good things that they have done: they have helped thousands of children return to normal society and be happy again, they have helped the Ugandan military significantly, and they have gotten people interested in an important cause. This, to me, is the true purpose of a charity.
Review from CharityNavigator
I have been doing research on Invisible Children for months. I’ve jumped back and forth on whether I support them or not multiple times. I think that Invisible Children definitely is a pure organization with a good heart, but I also have a hard time supporting how the organization goes about fixing the Joseph Kony problem. Invisible Children goes about trying to get rid of Kony mainly just by making him known. They have rallies, make videos, and put posters everywhere, but that isn’t enough to get rid of a warlord. If people are going to compare Kony to Hitler they would also have to know that Hitler wasn’t put to an end by making him famous. I like Invisible Children’s cause- I do. Until Invisible Children gets new tactics on how to stop Kony, I am not sure I would donate to them again.
I first heard of Invisible Children when a friend sent me the Kony 2012 video. I was hooked just like many were, however, once the incident with Jason Russell happened, I was skeptical. Although, later I gave I.C. another chance when I joined my school’s chapter. I also did some research on whether or not it was a trustworthy organization. According to ethical fundraising books and an article from the Better Business Bureau, I.C. has all of the qualifications of a trustworthy charity. For example, they provide all their financial statements and show what percentages are going to fundraising, paying employees, schools in Uganda etc. Yes, Jason Russell was careless in some of his choices, but I.C. is more than Jason Russell. There are plenty of other responsible employees of I.C. working hard to achieve their mission while ensuring they are still being ethical in their choices as an organization.
By being well informed and doing extensive research on the main issues of the organization of Invisible Children, as well as watching Kony 2012, I have come to the conclusion that for being a young organization they have done a very good job. They have not only reached but exceeded their main goal, which was to capture the attention of literally the entire world. They have made good use of their resources by using the media, campaigns, advertisements and protests. In the beginning I was skeptical of the trustworthiness of the organization due to the fact that the media bashed Invisible Children by what happened to Jason Russell, not knowing that it was due to a mental breakdown. They have done their job with providing resources to Uganda to capture Kony and not let the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) take control of their land. Even though they have not resolved their financial management issues, I believe, for the time being, they are doing an excellent job, considering they are a young organization and all the experiences they have already been through. Their future looks bright.
Having been a volunteer for Invisible Children and researched Invisible Children as well as Kony 2012, my opinion of the organization has made a drastic change. Invisible Children is not helping Uganda by trying to get the Ugandan government to shift its focus onto Joseph Kony, because Uganda has larger problems than Kony. The economic state of Uganda is one of the worst states it’s ever been in, and the Ugandan government does not have strong leadership. Uganda needs to put their time, effort, and money towards making their nation stronger, and by becoming stronger, then going after Kony. Invisible Children has good intentions, but they need to look at the big picture and realize Joseph Kony is not Uganda’s biggest problem. I have volunteered with Invisible Children, and will continue to, I just do not agree with Kony 2012 and their goals.
Although Invisible Children has been and still is a successful non-profit organization, I feel that they may have missed some steps along the way. Their mistakes as an organization has raised a huge question, do we see where all the money goes? They only became financially transparent upon demand to do so. A huge issue I have is with some information I came across during months of research. I found that IC provided information via a spying operation to Ugandan authorities. This information was on the Museveni regime. The U.S. considers this regime to be an ally due to its fear of the regime becoming part of Al-Qaida. The Ugandan officials arrested the men involved and they were executed via death penalty. If I support IC do I now support the death penalty in foreign affairs my country should have no role in?