Where exactly does my money go?
Financial transparency and proper management is a key measurement of any organization’s effectiveness and efficiency.
You want to ensure that your donations are being used wisely and actually making a difference in the lives of people in need.
When you donate to Tearfund, the majority of money goes to our projects overseas. These projects fall into two categories: disaster response or life-changing development.
In a disaster situation where speed of action is critical, your money gets rushed to our partners on the ground who will use it depending on what the need is. In many cases, it is to go help provide urgently needed food. Sometimes, it is best to buy food in bulk and make food distributions to families in need. Other times, it makes more sense to provide cash transfers or food vouchers which people can exchange for the food they need or other necessities until the immediate emergency is over.
On the other hand, development projects are much more long-term and require a different approach. Great care is taken to ensure that we design projects that can help as many people as possible with the finances we are given. All of these projects are developed with and through local partners based in country. We believe that local organizations are the best way to do the work we do – they’re more effective, build local capacity, and are cheaper than sending Canadian staff over full-time.
When you donate to a specific project such as agricultural training in Ethiopia, that money is sent to our Ethiopian partner, the Terepeza Development Association. They will then use that money to train farmers how to grow more food, start and run savings groups, and help churches act in their communities. Sometimes, the money is also used to buy new seed varieties, fertilizer, and other farming inputs. We don’t believe in giving handouts, as that is not a long-term solution.
In some situations, a project may be eligible for funding through our account at the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (for more info on what that is click here). In those situations, for every $1 we put into our account, we can take out a multiple – sometimes 2X, 3X or 4X – depending on the situation. We then send that money to our overseas partner.
Of course, a portion of money donated is used to cover operational expenses. These expenses are necessary to ensure that your money is being spent wisely, projects are monitored, and reported on (i.e. to make sure we actually make a lasting difference!). We also need to pay for rent, internet, electricity, legal, staff salaries and other necessary costs. Lastly, some of your money gets reinvested into fundraising, to make sure we can raise more money for life-saving work. On average, 15% to 18% is spent on these costs.
Finally, depending on the year, some of your money will go into a reserve fund. This fund ensures that we can start responding immediately to urgent emergencies when they arise without having to wait for funds to be raised.
To see our latest financial statements, visit here.