Question: What Percentage of Donated Money Goes to the Intended Cause?

what percentage of donated money (to non profit organizations) goes to the intended casue (relief effort)?

For example if the Red Cross accepts $300,000 in private donations, how much of that money actually goes to the cause?

Can you also tell me how you obtained the information so I can do further research myself?


Answer: What Percentage of Donated Money Goes to the Intended Cause

Hi there,

From everything that I could pull up, the percentage of a charitable donation that actually makes its way to the cause depends on the organization itself. While the initial donation remains in tact for tax deduction purposes (for the individual filing year-end tax claims) the actual amount of the donation that makes its way to the "cause" depends on varying factors: internal management costs, employment costs, insurance costs, fundraising and travel related costs, etc.

Using your example, I checked out the Red Cross website to see what they have to say about donations. Inquiring minds are led to and -- both of these sites give loads of information for potential donors, and have links to specific nonprofits to view financial statements (which is required by law of charitable organizations, see the IRS site below).

The Attorney General of California in 1999 reported that less than half of all the donated dollars actually make it to the charity. Check out here. One would guess that with a respectable charity, a percentage of donated funds goes to operating/employee/management costs as well as the actual "cause". Reputable organizations have auditing procedures that ensure an ethical balance.

Also of interest is the IRS site, which lists the rules and regulations charitable organizations/nonpofits have no adhere to, here.

You might also be interested in the Foundation Center which has a bounty of information on nonprofits, rules and regulations.

I hope this information is helpful? If not, do not hesitate to let me know and I will dig up more information for you!