Red Cross vs. Salvation Army

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Difference between Red Cross and Salvation Army

Some wonder, which is better; the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. Many people are familiar with both of these organizations, however if you are not, here is some information that you may not already know and some of these facts could amaze you. Here are some things which people should know in order to understand better what they do and how they operate.

Social Services

Both Red Cross and the Salvation Army work to help those who need some help. They are considered to be a part of social services. They don't bill or make people pay for the services that they offer. They are a not-for-profit organization which means that they rely greatly on the donations that they get from individuals as that is how they get a large portion of their funding. Since they are not-for-profit, they can get more government assistance in the form of grants. However, this is a downfall as well due to the fact that if government decides to cut moneys, they are often cut in the sense of social services budgets. Both organizations must rely on those who contribute to fill in where the government can not.

Services Offered

Many people know the Red Cross as the people who draw blood and keep it on supply. The Red Cross helps with natural disasters offering clothing and shelter as well. While they both have many opportunities in which they serve, the Red Cross is more supportive of overseas work when natural disasters strike.

The Salvation Army has community centers which offer day care and church among other services, they take up a collection during Christmas where people donate money to those ringing bells outside of groceries and department stores, and they have a thrift store that sells mostly used clothing, furniture and household items.

International Services

The Red Cross goes to disaster stricken areas and stays for longer period of time. Not to mention, the Red Cross is who one calls when they need to get in touch with military personnel if there is an emergency.

The Salvation Army works more with people who are in the US. They do help with natural disasters and there have been such instances where there have been national disasters and they have loaded up teams to go help in affected areas. They have taken up food collections and clothing collections as well as money collections.

Similarities and Differences

They have many things that set them apart from one another, but they both help people in the time of need.

Both step up during times of a natural disaster. Red Cross does more natural disaster work while Salvation Army works to help low income families. Salvation Army and Red Cross are full time social services organizations which work for the good of those in need throughout the year.


comments 32 Comments

  • Brad B . 3+ yrs. ago

The red cross keeps money for themselves,and barely any goes to people in need. 90% of all collected from Salvation Army goes to the people. THAT is the most important fact!

  • Pat Kerber . 3+ yrs. ago

Liar. 89.6% of donations to the Red Cross go to the victims. Get your facts straight before slandering organizations.

  • Tory . 3+ yrs. ago

The Red Cross keeps 9% of monetary donations for their overhead. That's not that bad but the problem is that the Red Cross is limited in what it can do. Their main focus is on taking in money and buying material supplies to transport to hard hit areas. Things like blankets and tents. The problem however is that blankets and tents are not always what's needed and in many cases the supply of said is insufficient. In other words the Red Cross has lots of money but the market doesnt have enough goods to purchase. Further, the Red Cross is like a triage operation. They com in fast and leave early. Other organizations like the Salvation Army (and many others) come in and stay, often becoming part of the community or were already part of the community.

They end up giving much of it away to other relief agencies who are in a better position to help. The Red Cross has its place but people tend to blindly give without really thinking about where its going.

  • Francis P. Sforza . 3+ yrs. ago

To all the Pat Kerber's in America check out 'WILLIAM BOYCE THOMPSON/RED CROSS', the "FED'S" first 'PRIVATE BANKING SHILL', he was Woodrow Wilson's-&-his-alter-ego, Colonel Edward Mandel House's choice to "FRANCHISE-THE-RED-CROSS-USING-OUR-MILITARY" to infiltrate RUSSIA using "TECHNOLOGY" during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 while Czar Nicholas II went by-by … the Russians called W.B. Thompson the 'American Czar' & they gave him 'NICKS' opera seats to return favors. G. Edward Griffin wrote the book, "THE CREATURE FROM JEKYLL ISLAND". It's about the most blatant scam in history, cause of wars, boom-bust cycles, inflation, depression, prosperity. What it tells us is what our-Lovely-Orange-Pelted-TRUMPSTER-PRESIDENT has been saying all along … "WE'VE BEEN IN BED WITH THE RUSSIANS FOR A 100 YEARS" & now TERRORISM-&-THE-MUSLIMS-REPLACE-COMMUNISM … HELLO

  • Jay . 3+ yrs. ago

Check your meds, dude. The dose seems light.

  • caryn v zandt . 3+ yrs. ago

THAT'S NOT A FACT. IT'S RUMOR. And you're helping to spread that rumor. Check the real facts, first. All organizations have flaws you can leap on, but how does th De Red Cross compare to what YOU have done in disaster relief? I, on the other hand, have actually worked with both agencies in disaster relief. They were both there all the time. Where were YOU?

  • Chris . 3+ yrs. ago

Ask the people of Port Aransas and Rockport Texas where the Red Cross was after hurricane Harvey! A couple of people doing an assessment for 1 day in Port A and little or no presence in Rockport. The rebuilding there started with the citizens and voluteers (yes I was there many weekends, helping clean up and brining down supplies). The focus was on Houston and their area but unfortunately they did not bother coming down where the was little or no press.

  • M Martin . 3+ yrs. ago

My father helped dig out earthquake victims in Calif years ago. The Red Cross was there CHARGING the relief workers 25 cents for a cup of coffee which could be purchased for 5 cents anywhere at that time. They don’t get money from anyone in our family. Do we donateso relief workers can be fleeced by them.

  • Kerry Marris . September 2021

This is such an insane lie. I don't understand why you would make up something like this that's demonstrably false. If nothing else, who the **** sells coffee for 5 cents? What a complete fabricated lie.

  • Sally Erickson . December 2021

Brad I am not for or against the Red Cross but you have your figures wrong. Only 10 cents of every dollar given to Red Cross goes to admin. fees. That is a very good for a large charity.. 90% go to help the people. Please do your research before you write things down for others to view. Check out Charity watch or charity navigator for CORRECT information. Thanks!

  • tracie rose . 3+ yrs. ago

A friend was in a flood many years ago in Northern California. the Salvation army gave vouchers for purchasing new clothes, beds, food, linens, essentials. The Red cross set up a booth and handed out free coffee. That was the extent of the benefit from the red cross.

  • Ben . 3+ yrs. ago

The Slavation Army operates in 126 countries and is based in London. This article makes it sound like it's primarily a USA thing. The Salvation Army also owns hospitals in various parts of the world. They also do better tracking their finances. Red Cross has always been vague on where their money is spent.

  • Jeri . 3+ yrs. ago

After my entire neighborhood burned down in Southern California, the Salvation Army turned out to be way more respo dive and helpful to the needs of our community. Y far!! I o my do ate to them now.

  • Annmarie Zan . 3+ yrs. ago

Okay, here are the facts from someone whose has direct experience during a tornado. The Red Cross supplied coffee and donuts and a "disaster kit" that consisted of half a washcloth, women got s toothbrush and men got toothpaste women also got blood red nail polish and lipstick that was it. The Red Cross was also the first disaster agency to leave taking a lot of the money collected with them "for the next disaster " the Salvation Army provided free hot meals, replaced prescription medications, gave vouchers for clothing and building supplies and opened their shelters to people needing it. They were the last agency to pull out. They also offered prayers for anyone who wanted them but they did not force the issue. I was so impressed that I have become a volunteer for the Army

  • Stan Kaplan . 3+ yrs. ago

My mom always prefered the Salvation Army to the Red Cross. She was born in 1920 and lived through WW2. She worked at Remington arms in Bridgeport, Conn. Making ammo for the troops. She had nothing good to say about the Red Cross and liked the Salvation Army, I'm going with her judgement.

  • Robert Johnson, MD . 3+ yrs. ago

As a retired Army physician who has had extensive experience in disaster management, I would say first that the American Red Cross(ARC) and the Salvation Army(SA) are very different organizations. the ARC is a huge charity that provides standardized services in disasters, including some material support as well as volunteers who can advise victims on available resources. The SA is an Evangelical Christian church that has specialized in caring for the poorest and most damaged members of our society. Remember when Jesus said "when you fed the least of my brothers and sisters you were feeding me"? That is the ethos of the SA. The CEO of the ARC makes $517,000/year. The CEO of the SA makes $13,000/year plus a parsonage and some allowances and benefits. On the ground, you will see the SA folks purposefully looking for and caring for those with the most profound needs. The ARC is more like a global disaster service machine. It does good work, but at arms length. They both have their place. I have chosen to support the SA with my disaster dollars.

  • Patricia Riley . 3+ yrs. ago

when my husband was in Viet Nam he was told if you want to leave and be home for the birth of your baby turn to the Salvation Army not the Red Cross. The S.A. is for the little man. He made it home and never returned to Nam.

  • Charles . 3+ yrs. ago

My friend who was in Vietnam said if he wanted a Red Cross package (meant for U.S. Troops) he had to to invade a VC Village/kill a high-ranking VC to get one, because the South Vietnamese were so corrupt, they'd sell or give OUR RC packages to the enemy (cousins) to keep from being attacked for a short time!

You cannot trust the Vietnamese or the Red Cross either.

  • Sarah Whitton . 3+ yrs. ago

Let's hear the truth..what part (%) of Red Cross monies and Salvation Army monies goes to the need and people and what % to employers and ect?

  • Thom . 3+ yrs. ago

All I know for sure is that while watching a televised award ceremony after a huricane the red cross was booed by huricane victims; while the salvation army was cheered!

  • Mike Patton . 3+ yrs. ago

I have heard too many things about Red Cross; between the two I would pick Salvation Army any day.......... I used to give blood to the Red Cross until I found out that they sold the blood I gave them for free (not counting the occasional T shirt that was way too large for me or for the juice and cookies.

  • Nancy Bartholomew . 3+ yrs. ago

During World War II, while serving in France in November 1944, my husband (to be, an infantryman, was shot by the Germans. He was taken to a Field Hospital for surgery and after weeks of rehab in England, he was sent to a hospital on Long Island, NY. While there, he received a telegram that a very close relative had died. He was given an emergency leave, but he didn’t have enough money for a train ticket to Pittsburgh. He asked the Red Cross for help, but was denied. He went to the Salvation Army and they not only bought his ticket to Pittsburgh, but a return ticket to his base on Long Island. Ever since then we will not donate to The Red Cross, The Salvation Army only.

  • Wayne . 3+ yrs. ago

My niece a nurse, PA was in St. Thomas with other PA's on a medical convention, they stayed on the 3rd floor, the 4th floor got blown off and they moved to the second floor and rode out the Hurricane, after wards with all the damage etc. they went to the Red Cross for food and water, they got refused because they were classified at tourist!!!!!!!!!!! Only locals would get their services!!!!!!!!! Can you imagine that, US citizens being denied from the Red Cross. I always donated to the Red Cross, NO MORE. It will be the Salvation Army from now on.

  • Maria L Martinez . 3+ yrs. ago

In 1985, I was assigned by the company I worked for to start a collection from my coworkers for the victims of the earthquake. I sent a memo stating that all donations would be delivered to the Red Cross and that the company would match our donations. Several days went by and my disappointment grew each day more, none of the people I expected to donate the most were doing it. Then, a gentleman who had served in WWII approached me. He told me that if the donations were sent to another organization he and he was sure many of his colleagues would help .

I sent another message stating that the donations would be sent to the Salvation Army. The donations started coming from all of them the same day. The reason? Most of them were veterans, and all of them were very disappointed by the help (or lack of it) they had received from the Red Cross during their time of need!

  • Ragiese . 3+ yrs. ago

In a cold Korean Fox hole with no proper boots or clothing the red cross SOLD cigaretts to the army men. Salvation army gave the men the only comfort a smoke offered.

  • arch . May 2022

My uncle and aunt were in Honolulu on December 7, 1941. My aunt did not know where my uncle was after the Japanese attack. While searching for my uncle, the Red cross was charging her foe coffee and doughnuts. The Salvation Army gave them to her free of charge.

  • Glynis Farr . March 2022

I have to agree with Donna‘s comment above. My dad was also in WW 2 when was injured in the Italian campaign and he said that the best help that he received was from the Salvation Army and not the Red Cross and he for the rest of his life donated to the Salvation Army versus the Red Cross and I’ve done the same.

  • Michele McMullen . November 2021

My dad was a police officer and during the riots in 1968 the Salvation Army came in and gave the officers food and coffee for free. The Red Cross came in and had coffee but charged the officers for it. So that’s why he preferred SA.

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