Through careful stewardship of resources, Catholic Relief Services makes sure the funds you have so generously entrusted go where they are most needed. Accountability is a top priority for CRS. We want you to feel confident that your decision to give to CRS is a sound one, and that your donations will be used effectively and efficiently to make a lifesaving difference.
Please take a moment to review some of the resources provided here and learn more about how we work. CRS is most thankful for your help; we would be unable to carry out our lifesaving work without it.
CRS is efficient
Catholic Relief Services is one of the most efficient organizations in the world. Did you know that 94% of the money we spend goes directly to programs that benefit the poor overseas? We work hard to keep our overhead down and consistently work smarter, and to find better ways of doing things to eliminate redundancies that often plague other organizations. You are always welcome to review our financial statements.
Additionally, we meet all 20 of the strict Charity Standards set by the Better Business Bureau's charity rating arm, the Wise Giving Alliance, and have an "A+" rating from CharityWatch. Both of these charity watchdog groups use criteria that confirm fiscal efficiency, such as percentage of funds going directly to programs, cost to raise a dollar, transparency and honoring of donor intent.
We strive for efficiency in all that we do. Under our Guiding Principles, based on Catholic social teaching, we follow the tenet of subsidiarity: A higher level of government—or organization—should not perform any function or duty that can be handled more effectively at a lower level by people who are closer to the problem and have a better understanding of the issue. In many of the countries where we work, our local Church partners represent an efficient network already on the ground. Their work allows us to mobilize quickly to distribute food, emergency supplies and information, often within hours of a disaster. Together, we can meet the most critical needs and then help people "build back better" so that their communities will be stronger and better able to contend with future events.
CRS is effective
Catholic Relief Services has more than 75 years of experience and technical expertise to help as many people as possible in an organized and manageable way, quickly and reliably. The unspeakable 1994 genocide in Rwanda was a turning point for our agency as we vowed to not only meet immediate needs but also challenge structures that promote injustice. In 1998, our experience responding to Hurricane Mitch in Central America gave us invaluable knowledge and honed our approach to disaster response. It was this expertise—and the overwhelming donor response—that fueled our effort to help survivors rebuild their lives after the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Haiti earthquake and the Philippines typhoon.
Our programs are carefully executed, monitored and evaluated by our talented staff—some of the best and brightest—who have chosen to dedicate their lives to serving the poor overseas. It is the caliber of CRS' staff around the world that has earned CRS respect in the humanitarian community. Thanks to their expertise, CRS is regarded as a leader in many of the diverse fields that we work.
CRS is accountable
As a faith-based 501(c)(3) charity, Catholic Relief Services is exempt from filing a Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service. However, we make all of this information available on our website every year. We invite you to read our financial reports.
We so value the trust placed in us by our donors that we have created a Pledge to Donors.
Each year we sign pledges with many outside organizations to uphold integrity in the work we do overseas. We also comply with U.S.-based charity watchdog groups who confirm that we meet their strict standards.
- U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (CRS is governed by the USCCB)
- Caritas Internationalis (consortium member)
- Association of Fundraising Professionals (Donor Bill of Rights)
- Direct Marketing Association (Commitment to Consumer Choice)
- InterAction (PVO Standards)
- Sphere (Standards in Disaster Response)
- Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (Charity Standards)
- Independent Charities of America (Best in America seal holder)
Finally, please take a minute to review our Mission Statement, Guiding Principles and Agency Strategy. We are most accountable to those we serve, alleviating the suffering of the poor overseas and giving Catholics in the United States the opportunity to live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world.
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