When you give to Mercy Corps and Medical Teams International, where does your money go?

April 22, 2011

Nonprofit Association of OregonFew events move the heart and pocketbook like a natural disaster. After the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, millions of dollars began flowing to two local nonprofits on the front lines of disaster relief: Mercy Corps and Medical Teams International.

But what exactly happens to the donations? How much goes to relief, how much to expenses? And what kind of relief? The answers are more complicated than you might think.

"It's standard practice and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles for nonprofits," said Deborah Steinkopf, director of development and communications at the Nonprofit Association of Oregon.  "Anybody who works at a nonprofit and is associated with delivering programs is considered part of 'services.'"