Yemeni children

Frequently Asked Questions


For your convenience, Islamic Relief USA has answered your general frequently asked questions below, and has created additional pages for questions about

General

How are donations to Islamic Relief USA’s spent?
At Islamic Relief USA, we work hard to ensure that every penny is spent in the most effective way possible because we are accountable to our donors, to people in need all around the world, and most importantly, we are accountable to Allah (swt). You can check out our most-recent financial reports here, for details, but here is the break down:

  • 80% goes into emergency relief and development projects, directly helping people in need.
  • 3% is used for education and to advocate for those who can’t speak out on their own behalf.
  • 1% goes toward the protection of our donors and beneficiaries via a system of checks and balances that ensures that your donations are used correctly.
  • 9% fulfills other costs, such as providing for the people who assist you when you call or email us.
  • 7% is reinvested into generating additional income, enabling us to help even more people out of poverty.

What’s more: Working with other organizations, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Church of Latter-day Saints, allows us to multiply your donations. A recent example of this was when a shipment of medical aid and children’s supplies was sent to Palestine. By working with an allied organization, we were able to distribute more than half a million dollars of humanitarian aid for just a fraction of the cost—turning each $1 you donated into $14 worth of aid.

And, in addition to that, we receive matching gifts from some of the biggest companies in the United States. Institutional funding is another way that allows Islamic Relief USA and other charities to claim 25% on top of donations. This increases the power of your gift. And we don’t spend that on administrative costs—we spend it helping people in need, which is where we believe you’d want us to spend it.

Of course, so much of our work is done by thousands of generous and hard-working volunteers who donate their time to stretch your dollars even farther.

What is the difference between Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief USA?
Islamic Relief USA is an independent affiliate of Islamic Relief Worldwide and the Islamic Relief family of charities. We are completely separate legal entities that work together under the Islamic Relief Worldwide umbrella to provide aid.

Which countries does Islamic Relief work in?
In 2011, Islamic Relief USA provided aid in 35 countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad, Chechnya (Russian Federation), China, Columbia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kosova, Lebanon, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Pakistan, Palestine, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

To implement work around the world, the Islamic Relief family has field offices in 25 countries.

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Bangladesh
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Chad
  • Chechnya
  • China
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Kosova
  • Lebanon
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Niger
  • Pakistan
  • Palestine
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tunisia
  • Yemen

In some countries, Islamic Relief has multiple offices based on need and location. For example, there are seven Islamic Relief offices in Pakistan.

In addition to the field offices, independent Islamic Relief affiliates operate in 13 countries along with the United States. These offices plan widespread relief efforts, provide funding and implement domestic projects. These offices are in the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius
  • Netherlands
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Do you accept in-kind donations?
Due to logistics and costs, Islamic Relief USA can only consider accepting in-kind donations from institutional donors and manufacturers who deal primarily with in-kind goods as well as other NGOs.The cost to pack, ship, and distribute items from individual donors is typically greater than if they were purchased local to the area of crisis or from a neighboring country. The most effective way to help Islamic Relief aid those in need is through a financial contribution. We encourage our donors to support their local community by giving in-kind goods to masjids or organizations in their area who are best able to distribute the items to those in need. Learn more about IRUSA’s Gifts in Kind program.

What is the benefit of sending my donation through Islamic Relief USA rather than sending it directly to the country I’m interested in?
As a U.S.-based organization with hard-earned credentials to uphold, Islamic Relief USA regularly monitors U.S. laws to ensure that we and our donors remain in compliance with complex and changing regulations. We also take all precautions to ensure that funds are not diverted from their charitable purposes. Also, large organizations such as ours can leverage better prices on large purchases, meaning your donation works in a more cost-effective manner. And donating to a recognized charity qualifies you for a tax deduction.

How is your relationship with the U.S. government?
Islamic Relief USA receives no government funding, but we have an excellent working relationship with the federal government. We work with U.S. agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture on projects (see a related blog from the USDA website, “Food and Faith: Setting a Safe and Healthy Table”.). Islamic Relief USA’s leadership and staff serves on boards, and regularly attend U.S. government meetings related to the work we do. And each year, U.S. Office of Personnel Management lists us in its Combined Federal Campaign catalogue (CFC #10194) as an approved charity to which employees are encouraged to donate.

How does Islamic Relief USA derive its information about religious donations?
Islamic Relief USA consults with a council of imams who follow the Fiqh Council of North America for information about religious donations. The information we present is meant to provide a general understanding of the topics at hand. We highly recommend that you consult with your local imam or scholar for more detailed inquiries.

Why has the Charity Navigator rating for Islamic Relief USA dropped from the four stars it’s held since 2004 to three stars in 2012?
Quite simply, it’s because we dropped in the “growth” calculation that Charity Navigator uses for rating charities. Here are the details: In 2011, IRUSA restructured its Gifts-in-Kind program, and voluntarily adopted a new accounting method for assigning value to Gifts-in-Kind. The new method resulted in a drop in the value of our GIK and in our total revenues. The loss of the four-star rating happened only because we adopted a more conservative number when calculating the vale of Gifts-in-Kind.

The new valuation process is part of an industry-wide shift in response to new accounting rules, and IRUSA is taking leadership in this arena as many nonprofit organizations wrestle with how to most-accurately value Gifts-in-Kind. Even though we lowered the value we assign to Gifts-in-Kind, the number of items we gave and the number of beneficiaries receiving GIK assistance actually increased from 2010 to 2011.

Our ratings for accountability and transparency, the category that evaluates good governance and ethical business practices—all the things that demonstrate our trustworthiness as an organization—remain at the four-star level. Although our financial numbers may show a reduction in growth, we reassure you that we have grown in our impact. We have grown in volunteer participation and in our ability to respond to natural disasters across the United States. We continue to grow in the number, variety, and size of grants we award to assist those in dire need both domestically and around the world.