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Invisible Children Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Services

Mission: Invisible Children exists to bring a permanent end to LRA atrocities. The mission is supported by our program areas - Media, Mobilization, Protection and Recovery.

Results: 81.48% of our revenue went to our programs in FY 2012

Geographic areas served: Worldwide

Programs: ETHOS We believe in the equal and inherent value of all human life. We believe that a worldview bound by borders is outdated and that stopping injustice anywhere is the responsibility of humanity everywhere. CONTEXT Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army have been abducting, killing, and displacing civilians in East and central Africa since 1987. We first encountered these atrocities in northern Uganda in 2003 when we met a boy named Jacob who feared for his life and a woman named Jolly who had a vision for a better future. Together, we promised Jacob that we would do whatever we could to stop Joseph Kony and the LRA. Invisible Children was founded in 2004 to fulfill that promise. MODEL Invisible Children focuses exclusively on the LRA conflict through an integrated four-part model that addresses the problem in its entirety: immediate needs and long-term effects. MEDIA We create films to document LRA atrocities, introduce new audiences to the conflict, and inspire global action. MOBILIZATION We mobilize massive groups of people to support and advance international efforts to end LRA atrocities. PROTECTION We work with regional partners to build and expand systems that warn remote communities of LRA attacks and encourage members of the LRA to peacefully surrender. RECOVERY We work to rehabilitate children directly affected by the LRA and invest in education and economic recovery programs in the post-conflict region to promote lasting peace.

Community Stories

73 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Throughout my experience researching Invisible Children, I felt many mixed feelings about whether I support them or if i am against them. Even though i discovered a few unpleasing facts about who they are supporting and what they choose to spend the bulk of their income on. I highly support their main cause however. I found out about Invisible Children when I watched the video "Kony 2012", which greatly encouraged me to take action and help in the fight against child-warfare and abduction. I believe that their campaign strategy is very effective in the sense that their target audience gets a view of who and what they will be fighting for by donating to their organization. They make their supporters feel like they are part of a family and make them feel powerful. So all in all, I definitely support Invisible Children and all that they stand for.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

In September 2012 I found out about IC, and their poor financial record that many people claim. The kind of person I am, I did my research on the financial data just so I has knowledge, and don’t just go with someones opinion. According to my research, all information on financial data can be found on IC website. I need to be transparent, even though IC has their financial statements on their website their are something are still questionable, like how much money not % is going to children in Uganda. I feel like its important to see number not percent. IC their main mission is to bring Kony to justice. Personally I would not support their mission just because I live world away, and I rather support some other organization that work with the Orphans. There are many different people and I think someone will support their mission, because they are fighting for a good.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

As a history and political science student looking to go to law school, I have this tendency to watch what's going on in the world. In March, I saw Invisible Children's viral video "Kony2012", spark many young students like me to take action against the crimes warlord Joseph Kony committed against the people of Uganda. Looking deeper into the situation over the last several months, I have come to the conclusion that although Invisible Children has a good heart, motivations, and character as a non-profit organization; they take a simplistic view of a very complex political situation in Uganda. Yes, Kony is a problem, but he is not the whole problem. If an actual government infrastructure isn't there to democratically and peacefully govern Ugandans, then there is every chance of history repeating itself. Another warlord--like Kony--can arise in a similar chaotic political situation if nothing is done to fix the current government.

Comments ( 1 )

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noelle2 01/11/2013

I understand that as a political science major you are hip to what going on in the world, so thank you for your evaluation of the strategy to stop the LRA (something not only being pursued by Invisible Children). I think what should be noted is that Invisible Children works with regional leaders, academics, administrators, government officials, the ICC, the UN, the AU, the US government and others in their effort to stop the LRA. Here are a few programs IC funds in collaboration with the groups above: the construction of safe surrender sites, defection messaging, HF security networks, Child soldier rehabilitation, advocacy, policy, micro-finance initiatives, scholarships. What you are proposing is that your evaluation of the work IC does is better than all of these respected institutions? I think that is a little bold and mis-guided of you?

Marcus W.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Over the past few months, many people have taken issue with the allocation of Invisible Children's finances, accusing it of being an unproductive organization at best and a scam at worst. However, to argue against IC's financial distribution is to miss the point of what they're trying to accomplish. It has been widely assumed that Invisible Children is meant to send aid overseas and single-handedly precipitate the capture of Joseph Kony. The fact that this isn't the strategy that IC has taken is what has stirred up so much controversy. Much of IC's efforts have been involved in spreading the word about Kony. Their strategy is that the more people who know, the sooner Kony will be captured. As a result, 43.4% of IC's finances has gone into media and mobilization (quoting Invisible Children). Even with that consideration, Charity Navigator still rates IC's financials at a more than respectable 4/5 stars. With all this in mind, I just don't feel like it's an appropriate argument to say that Invisible Children is a scam considering all the good they've done. In the end, "Invisible Children exists to bring a permanent end to LRA atrocities" (IC).

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

Personally, I was a skeptic from the beginning of the campaign as I personally thought that the video oversimplified a very complex problem. While my views have changed to a certain degree, I still believe that Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign amounts to a slacktivist movement and it does not produce true activists. However, I disagree with anyone who argues absurd claims such as the very popular assertion that too much money is being spent on top management. What I cannot figure out is the fact that the members who make these statements did so on Charity Navigator, a web site where they can easily read the facts. The individual salaries of both co-founders and the actual CEO of the organization all stand under $90,000. According to a study conducted by Charity Navigator, the median pay for top management positions in organizations of IC’s size stands around $130,000. If anything, IC’s top leaders are being underpaid. Invisible Children is a young non-profit that will work out certain specs but as for now, the facts are clear that in comparison with well-known and respected non-profits they stand reliable.

Review from CharityNavigator

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Invisible Children is a young nonprofit organization with a lot of room for growth, but a lot of its bad reputation is misplaced or focused too heavily on the Kony 2012 campaign or the founder. I believe that this organization is doing well, but could do much better, if given the time. This is a nonprofit with a campaign of raising awareness and political pressure, which requires a heavy focus on media and personal image, which explains so much of their profits are focused on media and maintenance. True, they tend to gloss over details in their videos and websites, but personal research has shown that IC isn’t as poorly run as skeptics try to portray. I intend to investigate both sides of the story more thoroughly before I make a concrete decision, but I don't think IC is as terrible as I've been told.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I first learned about Invisible Children when some of my friends were wearing the Kony 2012 shirts. I didn't think much about the organization until I saw the film, Kony 2012. Immediately after watching the film I wanted to buy the action kit and get involved in the campaign. I was hungry for more information, so I started to do some of my own research. I soon realized that the organization that seemed to be so passionate and honest was far from what they portrayed in the film. Then it suddenly hit me- Invisible Children lured in their audience through propaganda, and I was guilty of falling into the trap myself. They manipulated the audience in the film by simplifying the problems in Uganda to one man, the infamous warlord Joseph Kony. The film made me want to be a part of the Kony 2012 team, and I think that was their goal all along.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

When deciding whether or not to support Invisible Children, it’s important to note what the company is doing right NOW, instead of focusing on what it DID wrong in the past. When I first stumbled upon the KONY 2012 video on YouTube I was inspired. However, it didn’t take me long to notice the scrutiny and criticisms that IC was being associated with. I decided to do some research. Through the IC website and some other sources I came to my own conclusion. To be honest, many of the accusation made against IC are true. However, it is how IC has responded to the criticism and what they are doing now that has led me to give this organization a positive review. Its obvious that the company, though far from perfect, is willing to learn from their past mistakes. All of their information is posted on their website. No deception or over simplification, only honesty and passion for a cause. Invisible Children has the potential to make a great impact if others are willing to invest in them. They deserves a second chance, same as the children they are trying to help in East and Central Africa. I would definitely consider supporting this honest, improving organization.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

The actions and motives of Invisible Children have been a huge topic of discussion from the time the viral video Kony 2012 was uploaded. After watching it, I found myself asking a lot of questions. I have thoroughly researched the organization and I found some interesting facts. The involvement and motives of the United States government, according to Senate and Congress hearings is to "Capture or Kill Joseph Kony". The problem with this however is President Obama sent 100 U.S. troops solely as advisors. My problem with U.S. Involvement is that if Kony isn't found soon, I could see the U.S. government intervening. If this is the case then what motives are behind I.C. The children are the main focus. I do support I.C. for what they have done in prevention purposes, but I cant support how the search for Joseph Kony is being handled.

Review from CharityNavigator

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Through research I have done on Invisible Children’s website and a book written by the International Labour Office I have discovered evidence that Invisible Children is an organization that betters the lives of many people affected by Kony’s actions. Besides trying to help arrest Kony they provide many beneficial programs in Northern Uganda. For example, Mend teaches the skill of tailoring to women and provides counseling for the trauma they have experienced; another program Schools for Schools makes education more accessible to many children living in the area. Both of these programs are helping strengthen the weak economy of Uganda. While it is hard to look past many of the critiques in the media about Invisible Children, the fact that they are indeed changing the lives of many harmed by Kony shines through. Personally that is enough for me to consider supporting their organization.

Review from CharityNavigator

1 WestPhifer

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

Following my first time viewing Invisible Children’s popular YouTube video "Kony 2012" I, like many, was emotionally moved. I made no initial action however to support IC, but instead critiqued both positive and negative aspects of this organization and their mission. Undoubtedly, IC has an admirable goal with the intention of saving thousands of lives from the Central African region. But, after watching the mission progress, I now find the emotional appeal of Invisible Children is no longer effective. The mission of Kony 2012 has surely been to raise awareness of Joseph Kony and the LRA from the beginning, but IC now overlooks the poor and broken people of third-world nations that were displayed so explicitly in "Kony 2012". IC has wasted valuable resources such as money and technology that should go to whom the company is named after: Invisible “Children”. This organization needs to be about the children.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

Personally, I wouldn’t become involved/donate to Invisible Children. Research shows that they are a charity group that not only struggles with completely supporting the cause financially, but they also don’t clearly state the ways in which they intend to help the problem in Uganda other than throwing money at the problem. That to me is the main problem that this organization has, which no clear objective. I feel uneasy not knowing precisely where my money is going and how it is going to be used. Would definitely not recommend Invisible Children as a quality organization to commit to.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

My first experience with Invisible Children was coming across the Kony 2012 video on Facebook. I watched it and my heart was torn for the children of Uganda, so I decided to research this organization a bit more. Shockingly, I was confronted with many controversies about the leaders, mission and finances of IC. I spent the next few months dissecting and researching to discover whether there were truths in those claims about IC. When it comes to finances, I found a chart with the breakdown of their budget on their website and saw that 80% of their budget goes towards their programs, leaving under 20% for the fundraising and administrative costs. I continued to learn that a multitude of the other claims were just due to false rumors and were not true. I am now seriously considering supporting this organization and fully believe it deserves your support as well.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

When I first saw the film Kony 2012, I was inspired to act to save the people who were being affected by Joseph Kony. I’ve been to Africa and I’ve seen how the people of Africa live, so it’s a priority for me to help those people. While at first I was excited about what Invisible Children (IC) was doing. I decided to research the organization to make sure they were worthy of my monetary and moral support. My conclusion after researching is, first of all; IC has questionable and unorganized finances according to their website. Not only that, but through the showing of Kony 2012, IC manipulates the facts they present, which causes them to be perceived as untrustworthy. Organization and evidence is essential for NPO’s, and unfortunately Invisible Children has neither. In conclusion, although I fully agree that the people of Africa should have a better life; after my research, it is my opinion that Invisible Children is an unworthy organization to support.

Review from CharityNavigator

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

Invisible Children’s goals are noble when it comes to helping children in another country. There will always be an organization that is not perfect or that will be criticized by the public. The problem is that Joseph Kony is no longer in Uganda. Jason Russell even confirmed it in Kony 2012 video. It may seem like a wasteful effort chasing someone who is no longer there, but as long as everyone remember that there is a criminal on the loose then one of I.C.’s goals have been met. Kony maybe out of Uganda, but one of the important things is to remember that he is still out there. This organization is doing well on getting everyone to remember that Kony still lives. This is an organization despite their flaws in some areas that deserves some support and attention. They got my support.

Review from CharityNavigator

JorgeLMachado

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

When I was in high school, four members from Invisible Children came to talk about the pressing issue in Uganda regarding the exploitation of children at the hands of Kony and the LRA. I was skeptical at first because this organization was fairly new and concerns were raised pertaining to how effective this organization is with their finances. However, after doing personal research about this organization, I found that their cause is honorable and that they should be given a chance because they are willing to take action and make a permanent difference for these children. No child should have to suffer or ever be ignored when they are being exploited and robbed of their dignity which is why I support this organization.

Review from CharityNavigator

Sarah107

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

Like most people, after watching the Kony 2012 video for the first time, it left me with a sense of compassion and a desire to take action. However, after doing a more thorough research on this NPO and it's ways of going about and solving Uganda's problem with Kony and the LRA, it would not be the best organization to invest time and money on. Where does all the money go? According to the Invisible Children's website, based on the 2011 financial statements, 80.6% went towards the programs, 16.2% to administrative, and 3.2% to fundraising. Personally, even based on this alone, I wouldn't donate to IC. Nonetheless, it is ultimately your decision if this organization is worth supporting.

Review from CharityNavigator

William25

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

Invisible Children is an organization for a good cause. They may have some flaws, but the organization as a whole has good motives. I am sure that Invisible Children wants to have a positive relationship with the general public, and is doing all they can do within their power to make everyone happy. However, the truth of the matter is that Invisible Children is a charity organization, and they cannot live up to that standard.
One of the many questions that you may have for Invisible Children staff is, “where is my money going?” In 2011 Invisible Children spent 80.64% on media, mobilization, protection, and recovery programs; 16.24% on administration and management costs; and 3.22% on direct fundraising. If you have further questions please feel free to visit the Invisible Children website and click on the questions and answers page. I believe Invisible Children is an organization worth supporting.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

When I first saw the video Kony 2012, I did not like the organization and what it stood for because I was evaluating the movie and not the organization itself. As I researched the organization in depth my opinion of the motives of the organization changed. I looked at the bigger picture which is getting Kony noticed so that he is one step closer to being captured,and the abduction of children are put to rest. Invisible Children is a work in progress and there is always room for growth.I am aware that Invisible Children has questionable motives regarding the Kony 2012 video but Invisible Children is a growing organization that realizes their mistakes and are learning from them which was stated in the recent video "Move." IC has good intentions which are to bring children out of harm's way.For this very reason I will consider supporting this organization.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

Along with the rest of the general public, I was blown away when the viral video "Kony 2012" outlines the horrible war crimes that Joseph Kony committed. However, I did want to research this campaign and the reasons behind it on my own. After researching IC, I realized that their organization was in some ways helping the people in Uganda. However their is still much room for improvement with this organization. For example only around 37 percent of their finances go to helping rehabilitate and protect the children that the LRA would take. This is a number that could AND should be drastically increased. I'm not saying to not donate to this charity, but do some research and carefully consider before you do

Review from CharityNavigator