Where your money goes

Accountable to you
Oxfam's sanitation co-ordinator Julia Moore
Oxfam's sanitation co-ordinator Julia Moore at work in a refugee camp in Liberia. Photo: Aubrey Wade/Oxfam

Emergency appeals

100% of your donation goes to that specific response fund, providing vital and practical supports such as clean water, sanitation and cash vouchers for food. 

The specific response fund also covers the inevitable costs (a small percentage) of running emergency appeals, e.g. shop posters and fundraising buckets. These activities mean we can raise even more money for the emergency response.

Every other €/£ received

For every other €/£ received, 81% goes on our core programme work, 12% is spent generating future funds and 7% is spent on administration and governance. 

81%: Ensures we can provide:

(i) Emergency responses

(ii) Long-term development programmes 

(iii) Campaigning and advocacy that changes the policies and practices which cause poverty in the first place.

12%: Ensures we are doing everything we can to raise funds from different types of donors and to let the public know about our work. This has a high return on investment because it encourages people to support what we do, meaning we can reach even more communities.

7%: Ensures we work in the most effective and efficient way, and that the money donated is spent wisely. Our financial reporting is carried out to the highest international standards and our full set of independently audited accounts are available below.

Our financial reports

How much is your CEO paid?

The CEO is paid €110,000/£89,000. There are no benefits (e.g. no company car) or bonuses. The CEO has to account for all of our work here at home (including managing 140 employees, 2,000 volunteers and a retail network of over 50 shops plus national advocacy) and overseas (including emergency responses and long-term development programmes), all of which require strong management experience.

The CEO is also a member of the Board of Oxfam International, which means sharing strategic responsibility for the entire Oxfam global network in more than 90 countries. This is a lot of responsibility given our size and scale and the life-saving work that we do.. 

Do you pay top-ups or bonuses? Do you give staff perks?

We don’t give ‘top-ups’ of any kind to staff. Our staff members receive a basic salary, without any perks or bonuses. Regarding pensions, all staff have the opportunity to join a defined contribution scheme. The rules of the scheme are the same for all staff regardless of position. As with all defined contribution schemes, staff can also purchase additional voluntary contributions privately at no cost to Oxfam.

Why do you pay staff? Why isn’t Oxfam Ireland run entirely by volunteers?

Volunteers play a huge role in Oxfam and without them we simply couldn’t carry out our work with people living in severe poverty around the world. We have 2,000 volunteers, compared to around 140 staff members. Along with volunteers sharing their time and skills with us in our shops, offices and at events, all our board members are volunteers.

Given the huge scale of our programmes overseas and also our operations at home such as our 50+ shops, we have a relatively small team of full and part-time staff who ensure that we work in the most effective and efficient way, and also ensure that the money donated to Oxfam is spent wisely. The people employed by Oxfam are those who are best qualified and experienced to do the job. Our work has a huge impact on people’s lives, so it has to be professional, consistent and of the highest standard.

Funds raised in shops

Our shops have an average net profit of 22%, much higher than the high street average of 5% and despite us having many of the same costs, e.g. rent and utilities. This is the net profits made on the sale of donated goods and other products such as Christmas cards. 

Our retail network is a vital source of funding and last year it made a contribution of around €2m/£1.5m.

Unwrapped gifts

88% of the price goes directly into one of four specific programme funds (saving lives, livelihoods, women’s rights or health and education, depending on which gift you bought). The remainder covers the cost of running the appeal, such as printing catalogues and advertising. 

Born Again

The net profits (around 35 to 40%) go directly to Oxfam. The rest of the money is spent on sourcing, refurbishing and distributing the computers.

Christmas cards

We organise the sale of our Christmas cards in-house and sell them in our shops – we don’t sell them via third parties. This means that 70% of the price goes towards our work (a much higher than average percentage than many other charity cards) and 30% covers the inevitable costs of printing and distribution.

Other commonly asked questions about our work

How do I know my donation isn’t going to corrupt governments?

We don’t fund governments. Your donations go to our own Oxfam programmes, or the programmes of carefully selected and monitored local partner organisations. We have extremely tight financial procedures in place and apply these same high standards to all our partners. Along with regularly auditing partners, if required we also help them to strengthen their own financial reporting procedures. 

Why are the governments in the countries where you provide essential services like water, health and education not doing this work themselves?

We provide essential services such as water, sanitation, health and education in the following circumstances:

1. In emergency situations such as natural disasters when local infrastructure has been damaged/destroyed

2. When the services provided by governments are inadequate, i.e. of poor quality and not reaching the most vulnerable in the society such as poor women and girls, people affected by HIV, people with disabilities, etc. 

We don’t just simply provide the services in these situations – we build the necessary infrastructure and train local people to run them, along with showing governments and state bodies best practice in the provision of essential services.

We believe that states have a responsibility to provide these services and citizens have a right to receive them. That’s why a lot of our work focuses on supporting communities to stand up for their rights and demand these services from their governments. 

How do you know if your programmes are actually effective?

All our programmes are continually monitored and evaluated to determine their impact and effectiveness. We do this through financial and project reporting, including regular monitoring visits, partner audits and formal evaluations. 

We give particular emphasis to feedback from community members when assessing the success of our work. All our programmes are designed to improve their capacity to meet their own needs so that the benefits of the project continue long after we leave. 

What about helping people in Ireland, i.e. charity begins at home?

Supported by people across the island of Ireland for more than 50 years, our Oxfam shops play a key role in connecting communities here with others overseas. They’re a place where local people can donate the things they no longer need in an eco-friendly way, buy clothes and other items at reduced prices and learn new skills through volunteering. In February 2014, following severe and unprecedented flooding, we donated a week’s proceeds from shops in six affected counties to local flood reliefs.

Do you have any religious or political affiliations?

We are an independent and secular organisation not connected to any religion and carry out of work free from any party-political agenda. Our guiding principles are based on advancing human rights and we provide help and support to people of all beliefs and none.

Why can’t I donate clothes or other physical items to your emergency appeal?

The most effective way to help our work with clothes and other physical items is to bring them to your local Oxfam shop or donation bank. The proceeds of our shops fund our three areas of work: emergency responses, long-term development programmes and campaigning/advocacy.

We source culturally appropriate clothing and other much-needed emergency items from the affected regions themselves in so far as possible, because this is the most cost effective, time efficient and energy saving way of bring the right aid fast and effectively. 

Shipping or flying a random and unsolicited selection of items from Ireland, however well intended, can be unnecessarily expensive, and may result in the transport of items that are unsuitable to the local context and thus never used. It can even result in the duplication or oversupply of certain items and undermine the local price of goods and livelihoods of the very producers and retailers whose livelihoods we strive so hard to support after an emergency, causing even greater injustice and vulnerability. We call this the 'Do No Harm' approach.