The report highlights a catalogue of failures including spending more efforts on PR and fund-raising than actually helping people, e.g. by driving empty trucks around for the benefit of news crews:
Top Red Cross officials were concerned only “about the appearance of aid, not actually delivering it,” Rieckenberg says. “They were not interested in solving the problem — they were interested in looking good. That was incredibly demoralizing.”
Allow me to scan the article in search of a possible cause. Ah, here we are:
The Red Cross has endured patches of trouble in the recent past. It faced allegations of financial mismanagement after Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina and a series of chief executives were forced to resign. Congress forced an overhaul. The Red Cross recruited [Gail] McGovern to the top job in 2008.
McGovern had spent her career as an executive at AT&T and Fidelity and was teaching marketing at Harvard Business School. “This is a brand to die for,” she said in an early interview as the Red Cross’ chief executive.
A failing organisation recruits as their CEO a telecoms marketing power-skirt now working in academia. What could go wrong?
While often praised as a stabilizing presence by those outside the Red Cross, McGovern initiated a series of changes inside the organization that roiled the venerable charity. She executed layoffs and reorganizations that closed local chapters and centralized power at national headquarters in Washington.
With the glaringly obvious exception of fundraising, would you like to take a punt on whether McGovern was more interested in processes or outcomes?
Residents across Texas are expressing their outrage at The Red Cross after Hurricane Harvey victims and relief volunteers witnessed mismanagement and apathy from Red Cross workers … At Wednesday morning’s Houston City Council meeting, Councilman Dave Martin, who represents flood-ravaged Kingwood, had a very clear message to prospective donors of The Red Cross.
“I beg you not to send them a penny,” he said. “They are the most inept unorganized organization I’ve ever experienced. Don’t waste your money. Give it to another cause.”
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett was also uncomplimentary of the organization. Judge Emmett admitted that he asked a local nonprofit to manage the shelter at NRG Park, because he didn’t trust The Red Cross to do a good job.
And government officials are far from the only ones voicing their disapproval. We’ve seen story after story of Red Cross mismanagement expressed by both evacuees and volunteers across Texas. In fact, we’ve been hard pressed to find a positive story. When we do find one, we will update this article.
This comes as absolutely no surprise. The major charities long ago became vehicles for the ambitious middle classes to climb the greasy pole and enrich themselves while basking in the virtue which comes when people assume you’re working for a good cause. Why anyone still donates to them is a mystery to me.