When it comes to natural and human-made disasters, Christian charities often take the lead in reaching victims with fast relief efforts. These organizations band together with their networks and pull in on-call staff and volunteers, as well as making immediate appeals to churches and other charitable groups who send volunteers after the initial efforts have begun. One of the leading groups in these efforts is World Relief. One of the top organizations that helps with a very specialized kind of crisis relief is World Relief.
Most organizations will give a listing of their efforts for any kind of charitable work. Some work exclusively with refugees, others work with on-site disaster relief, and others do a combination of things to relieve physical and medical distress brought on by any type of crisis. Let’s take a look at World Relief’s efforts in this area.
What Does World Relief Do to Help with Crises?
World Relief has a number of efforts it focuses on. Every effort, however, is through a partnership with churches because they care about the whole person, not just the physical side of victims. Churches provide the impetus and ability to serve people with their faith-based works, as well as the much-needed physical relief.
As to disaster and crisis relief, World Relief focuses primarily on refugee ministry. They provide placement programs, living assistance, job placement, connection to providers of goods, and community programs.
One of the other ways World Relief gives support in time of crisis is through advocacy for the rights of refugees. World Relief’s US Church Training Specialist, Matthew Soerens, had an article on this very topic published in the New York Times.
In this piece, Mr. Soerens discusses the need for Americans to stand up against the prejudice and hatred of leadership in the United States against refugees and non-whites. Mr. Soerens issues a challenge to the nation, asking for human decency and compassion.
If you’re interested in learning more about local branches, check out World Relief Seattle, World Relief Spokane, or use any search terms that include the name of your city and the phrase “World Relief.”
How Can You Be Involved in Disaster and Crisis Relief?
There are a number of ways that anyone can get involved in helping with disaster and crisis relief.
1. Send money
One of the easiest and most practical ways to assist in crisis relief is giving money. As most organizations will tell you, every little bit really does help.
Before you give, though, be sure to check out the charity on a website like Charity Navigator or the IRS Nonprofit Exempt Charities Database. These sites can tell you how much of your donation will actually go to the crisis victims versus how much goes to things like CEO’s salaries, fundraising costs, and overhead.
2. Volunteer in your city
Another easy and beneficial way you can help with crisis relief is by volunteering in your own community. Many national organizations have local branches positioned around the country. You’re bound to find one or two within a reasonable drive.
Assisting in your local disaster relief branch could look like anything from administrative work to helping run events that assist people in finding work, getting food, or improving their educational opportunities.
3. Volunteer on location
One of the most intensive options for giving of your time, money, and efforts would be to go on location for disaster relief efforts. Whether that’s traveling down to Puerto Rico after the hurricane, or going to Japan after an earthquake, there are many opportunities for you and the mature members of your family to help out in time of need.
4. Donate supplies
World Relief, and others, often make lists of needed supplies known to their local advocates, like the churches and established volunteers. They seek donations of specific items. Things to donate could include furniture, baby care supplies, clothing, food, tools, or school supplies.
5. Give blood
If you’re not feeling the travel bug bite and don’t have money to give, you could always donate blood. You’ll find nearby locations listed online by organizations everywhere.
6. Make it your career
Of course, the most commitment you could give to benefiting the victims of crisis is taking one of the World Relief jobs available. They list open positions on their website.
World Relief’s Ratings
Charity Navigator gives World Relief an overall four out of four stars rating for fiscal responsibility, accountability, and transparency. The rating site’s record shows that this charitable organization earned 89.11 for financial management and 100 for accountability and transparencies.
World Relief’s financial records
Tax-exempt organizations, nonexempt charitable trusts, and section 527 political organizations are required to file a Form 990 or 990EZ with the IRS.
World Relief’s most recent IRS Form 990 or 990EZ available is for 2017. We extracted the following financial data from the organization’s most recent publicly available tax filing for their fiscal year ending September 2017. This financial information can give you a clearer picture of how responsibly they use their resources.
Percentage of donations spent on services
- Total donations and grants: $73,762,095
- Spent on services and grants: $63,888,300
- Percentage of donations toward grants and services: 86.61 Percent
Percentage of revenue spent on fundraising
- Total revenue: $$78,178,018
- Fundraising expenses: $4,796,226
- Paid to professional fundraisers: $0.00
- Percentage of total revenue spent on fundraising: 6.13 percent
Administrative and overhead costs
- Overhead expenses: $8,066,719
- Property assets: $4,383,728
- Investment assets: $8,404,475
- Paid to officers/directors: $766,412
- Highest paid officer/director: CEO $159,251
- Percentage of total revenue spent on officers/directors salaries: 0.98 Percent
Other Great Organizations to Volunteer With or Donate To
If World Relief doesn’t have a location near you, you can always look up local branches of any of the following groups.
- Lutheran World Relief (not the same organization)
- World Concern
- Crisis Relief International
- Christian Relief Fund
- Lutheran Church Charities
- Compassion International
- Unlikely Heroes
- Samaritan’s Purse
- World Vision
- Food for the Hungry
The Greatest Gift
Whether you’re able to volunteer weekly at World Relief Chicago, travel down to Haiti, or give blood monthly, anything you do to help crisis victims is the greatest gift they can receive.
Don’t limit your giving just because you feel you have little to offer. Really, the best you can give — no matter what that is — is the greatest gift of all.