This is an incredible, outstanding organization that truly seeks to better the world for the right reasons. In a time when so much suffering is going on around the world (including our brothers and sisters in Burma, Syria, Yemen, and across the world), IRUSA is doing very very important work.
I used to give zakat to IRUSA but discontinued several years ago because of their very high admin. expenses and much lower expenditure on relief programs compared to some other Islamic charities. Their CEO and other employees are too highly paid (including benefits) for an Islamic charity organization. Just look at their IRS forms 990 available on Charity Navigator. They should fear Allah swt and cease making this a money-making organization for their employees.
Do not forget to check out their IRS forms 990 for the past several years.
Can't think of a better organization to support! Islamic Relief is there on the ground, in action, in times of need for a variety of humanitarian crises. They are continuously there with first responders. We always attend and support Islamic Relief events and fundraisers. We hope to volunteer more of our time with IR in the near future! Islamic Relief has proven time and time again that they are here to stay as they serve the needs of the less fortunate all around the world, as without their support they would be in worse situations.
Edit: To reviewer AbuFaris:
Actually, I am writing this as a personal review just as you are supposedly, although you claim to have written before, but you are writing under multiple different member names? Sounds like fraud to me. And also, none of this is fluff, it's the truth. Look up the topic for yourself unless you would like for me to create you a source list? Several sources I mention include this very site and others in the field of philanthropy. Also, the point is that you're mistaking transparency for "fraud" at a time when the industry itself is changing. You say: "I find the editorial, In my opinion, full of fluff and lacks substance," but can you tell me who these other successful and notable charities with no overhead are? Are you quite certain that you know all the details of how these supposedly no overhead organizations fund their operations? I can give you an example: Famously, Smile Train, an organization that treats children born with cleft lip and palate conditions, has claimed that “100 percent of your donation will go toward programs … zero percent goes to overhead.” Nevertheless, the fine print goes on to say that this is not because the organization has no overhead; rather, it is because Smile Train uses contributions from “founding supporters” to cover its nonprogram costs. Interesting right? The point I was making is that donors hurt charities ability to grow and have greater reach and impact in the work they do, with this argument about overhead and salaries alleged "financial fraud". This is a real trend in the industry and humanitarian work is suffering because of it. And as far as your questions go, much of that information is public knowledge, like the salary of a CEO, which isn't what you or any other negative reviewer reported. And also, that IRUSA was somehow exposed by the media, which isn't true, they were one of few organizations to blow the whistle on and move away from practices of drug company intermediaries and their valuing system when providing/selling medicines to charities. ... The U.S. department of agriculture is one of many who continued this even in recent years. Now that should be upsetting to you. These are my answers that I found out on my own READING. You can too.
This is in response to any negative reviews about administrative costs, financial audits, and whatever other issues you may have about the "logic" of financing a charity that actually reaches millions of people in need every single year and growing. If you are negatively reviewing a for all intents and purposes stellar Islamic organization that is reputable in the United States and globally on the basis of bogus theories about how much it costs to finance any charitable operation and deliver reporting on those operations, you have personal agendas and issues that extend way beyond the scope of this response.
I will say that every donor should change their mentality about what it means to give charity, and serious think, with your brain, about how many people Islamic Relief USA is able to benefit with every single donation it collects. And then consider, very carefully, with your educated brain, how effective your say, $100 donation would be in terms of a dollar/reach ratio. Rather than focus on a very traditional, and illogical logic, of the weight of administrative costs to deliver quality services to ENTIRE COMMUNITIES of people in need (a logic that actually hurts non-profit organizations and charitable groups from growing), you should consider a much more sound and positive logic that considers effectiveness per donor dollar. In other words, for every dollar you give to a charity, how much work does that dollar do in your name? How many people does it help and touch? And, would you be able to have the same reach with your dollar if you chose to deliver that dollar on your own? The answer is NO.
Long-term stability of development and humanitarian work SHOULD be part of what you consider when you choose to donate to an organization. You really need to get beyond this notion of "overhead" as an indicator of charity performance because ACTUALLY it's been proven to NOT be a valid indicator, on its own, of the quality of organization you are donating to. This very website, which you are so callously using as your platform to bash charities is one of many that have denounced this practice in ranking charities, in addition to Charity Navigator, the BBB, Guidestar and more. This practice actually starves nonprofits from investing in themselves to build decent infrastructures that ARE NOT CORRUPT and actually provide QUALITY SERVICES to the people who need them in addition to creating jobs, advocating for change on major issues, and more.
Organizations that are trying to build a sturdy and robust infrastructure that includes information technology systems, financial systems, skills training, fundraising processes, and other essential overhead, succeed in delivering charitable services MORE EFFECTIVELY and EFFICIENTLY than those that do not, not mention help provide millions of jobs that are lacking in a broken worldwide economy.
Yet, you should know, it is also a fact that MANY GOOD NONPROFITS are actually NOT SPENDING ENOUGH on building this infrastructure according to many experts in the field. Did you know, that the Charities Review Council has maintained a Use of Funds standard that calls for nearly 30% of expenses on admin and fundraising combined for nonprofit organizations and that this percentage has been expanded to include up to 40% recommended?
Here's just one example, and there are many more studies like it:
"Underfunding overhead can have disastrous effects, finds the Nonprofit Overhead Cost Study, a five year research project conducted by the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. The researchers examined more than 220,000 IRS Form 990s and conducted 1,500 in-depth surveys of organizations with revenues of more than $100,000. Among their many dismaying findings: nonfunctioning computers, staff members who lacked the training needed for their positions, and, in one instance, furniture so old and beaten down that the movers refused to move it. The effects of such limited overhead investment are felt far beyond the office: nonfunctioning computers cannot track program outcomes and show what is working and what is not; poorly trained staff cannot deliver quality services to beneficiaries."
In short, YOU, negative reviewers and your concerns about overhead are actually really ignorant and hurtful to people working really hard everyday to dedicate their lives to making the world a better place.
You are contributing to a vicious cycle that corrupts organizations more than you may be aware of. It's a cycle that goes something like this:
1. You have unrealistic expectations about how much it costs to run a nonprofit and what it means to have your money do work to deliver aid.
2. You pressure nonprofits to conform to your unrealistic expectations.
3. Nonprofits respond to this pressure in two ways: They spend too little on overhead, and they underreport their expenditures on tax forms and in fundraising materials.
4. This underspending and underreporting in turn perpetuates funders’ unrealistic expectations.
5. Over time, funders expect grantees to do more and more with less and less—a cycle that slowly starves nonprofits.
Research concludes that the first of these steps is the most detrimental and you really need to realize the impact your negative reviews have without sound basis for argument. For example, it's often seen that in an effort to appease donors like you, nonprofits won't offer competitive salaries for qualified specialists, and so instead make do with hires who lack the necessary experience or expertise. Similarly, many organizations that limit their investment in staff training find it difficult to develop a strong pipeline of senior leaders. This is just one point among many.
GOOD CHARITIES SPEND MORE ON "ADMIN" BUT IT'S NOT MONEY WASTED AND IS NOT DETACHED FROM DELIVERING QUALITY AID TO PEOPLE IN NEED.
That's not to say Islamic Relief USA is perfect or that there aren't areas where it can't improve in the industry, but ultimately, IRUSA is a growing organization, growing in the face of adversity I should remind you, and yet maintains a good reputation in the industry for the work its doing and how it's doing it. And they continue to keep working to improve because they are faith-based, and are aware of the moral and ethical concerns that must be grappled with when it comes to how to best reach people in need with the money of good people.
That being said, IRUSA's CEO is actually UNDERPAID by industry standards. The $250K number that you all pulled up without checking for yourselves is WRONG. This is public information that you can find yourselves if you choose to be educated. And honestly, maybe IRUSA should have a CEO paid $250K, and maybe underpaid staff who risk their lives every day to deliver services or who work long hours to reach people in need and develop programs should be compensated for their skills and time. Then you would have the best of the best working for your charity rather than APPLE or FACEBOOK.
Anyway, some considerations ... Choose to listen to the neighing and gossip of the masses or educate yourselves on how to really support GOOD organizations who you can help to benefit humanity in the long-term.
I have used this multiple times for emergency relief this year. And each time, they have done it right and they also send mails asking for more donation.
There's nothing more important than being part of the mission God has put us to.
This organization is blessed in a way that participants can get involved with fundraisers, dinners, programs and all forms of charity to help make a difference. I'd say donate, donate, donate! Let's make a difference
Easy, quick and most importantly you feel good your donation is helping others less fortunate - alhamdoullah
Islamic Relief is among the first responders after any crisis anywhere in the world. They raise awareness about great causes and make it very simple to help those in need through our donations. They also provide on-site eye-witness reports to enable the general public to understand the plight of those who are suffering.
Using this charity has been the best experience in donating I have ever encountered. There are many options as to where I would like to donate and I especially enjoy receiving newsletters in the mail about the various unfortunate people who have been helped by this organization.
They have been engaged in massive accounting fraud and have deceived donors for years. They have actually changed CPA's every year to avoid getting caught, and in the past at least 2 CPA firms have refused to sign off on their financial statements and disengaged from them. They overstated the value of drugs received by them in "donations" (gifts in kind), showing receipts of $140,000,000 when the actual market value of the drugs was less than $506,000. Between 2007 and 2009, they were advised repeatedly by their former controller to change their accounting standards, and they refused to do so. Read about the scandal at http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampbarrett/2011/11/04/scandal-erupts-over-inflated-drug-values-used-by-charities/