Where does your money go?

Where does your money go?

The ICRC's budget is financed entirely by voluntary contributions. Every donation is important to the ICRC, and we are grateful for each contribution we receive. Your generosity will help us alleviate the suffering of conflict victims worldwide and is a source of encouragement to the ICRC in Geneva and its delegates in the field.


 93.5% of donations are used directly for the ICRC's work in the field.


90 francs
can feed a vulnerable family, who have fled from conflict, for two months.
150 francs
can provide a community with 80 jerry cans to store and transport vital fresh water.
500 francs
can provide temporary shelter for 40 families displaced by conflict.

Download our booklet to see how we spend your donation


The ICRC is funded by contributions from the States party to the Geneva Conventions (governments), national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, supranational organizations (such as the European Commission) and public and private sources. All funding is voluntary.

The ICRC does not wait to receive funds before it responds to urgent needs in the field, and counts on the goodwill of its contributors to provide the funds as quickly as possible.


Your donation will help us meet the most important needs in a conflict zone. You have an opportunity to specify which country or programme you want to support when making a donation; however, we cannot accept donations for a specific school, village, project, group of individuals or a specific area in a country. Experience shows that the more restrictive the earmarking policy (whereby donors require that their funds be allocated to a particular region, country, programme, project or goods), the more limited the ICRC's operational flexibility, to the detriment of the people that the ICRC is trying to help.

On our online donation platform, we kindly ask you to choose among the countries proposed on the donation form or on the check form. All donations allocated to another country will be allocated to the ICRC's most in need activities, as the ICRC might not conduct any activity in the country you mentioned or its activities might already be funded.

The ICRC undertakes to use your donation for the operation you choose. Your donation will be entirely allocated to that country less 6.5 % (overhead). As a contribution to the costs of headquarters' support for operations in the field, an additional 6.5 % is added to the cash and services expenditure for each field operation.


At the end of each year, the ICRC launches two budget appeals, to cover its activities in the field and at the headquarters during the coming year. Operational information and statistical and financial tables (based on the original appeals) are combined in an Annual Report.

To ensure that donors' contributions are put to the best possible use, the ICRC applies elaborate management tools. Planning, monitoring and evaluation procedures are subject to constant review. ICRC auditors, both internal and external (Ernst & Young), keep a sharp eye on finances. Their skill and vigilance ensures that donors are provided with reliable information on the utilization of resources. ICRC's accounts are prepared in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Find the answers to frequently asked questions about donating to the ICRC, including where your money goes, earmarking, online donations, tax and privacy.

  • Where does my money go?

    The ICRC undertakes to allocate your donation in its entirety to the operation that you have chosen. The cost of the operational support provided by Geneva headquarters to the field delegations is calculated at 6.5% of the delegation's expenditure.

    In other words, from a donation of 100 Swiss francs, 93.50 francs are used directly to finance our field operations to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict and other violence.

  • Where can I find out about the cost of the ICRC’s work and how it’s financed?

    Please see the Where does your money go? and Finances and budget sections. You can also read our latest Annual Report online.

  • What is the amount of administrative costs at the ICRC?

    There is no agreed-upon definition of the concept of administrative costs for international organizations. The ICRC has therefore taken the US fiscal and accounting criteria applicable to international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as its yardstick.

    In 2009, for example, the ICRC's administrative costs (calculated using the method mentioned above) represented 9.69% of total operational expenditure. The costs considered to be "administrative" are the cost of the headquarters units, i.e. the president's office, the directorate, human resources, fundraising, finance and administration, information systems and archives. Note: administrative costs do not affect the way in which your donation is used – it will be allocated directly to the field operation of your choice.

  • How can I make sure my donation benefits the ICRC as much as possible?

    The ICRC promises to use your donation for the operation you choose. You can choose any of our programmes or countries where we are conducting our principal activities. 

    If you specify a sphere of activity or programme which is not listed, the ICRC reserves the right to assign your donation to an operation of its own choosing.

    In addition, we cannot accept donations for a specific school, village or group of individuals. Your donation will help to meet all the needs in the conflict zone specified, but your choice is restricted to a country or type of activity. Experience has shown that the more restrictive the earmarking policy (tying donations to a particular area, category of person, etc.), the more limited the ICRC's operational flexibility, to the detriment of the people we are trying to help, and additional administration is also involved.

If you have any questions about making a donation to the ICRC or the work we do, then please contact us on +41 22 730 21 71 or click below.

Subscribe to the ICRC newsletter