At the national level, a strict distinction has been instituted between governance and management. The president is a volunteer whilst the general secretary and the other members of the managing board are employees. The general assembly meets once a year, the governance board meets quarterly, and the managing board once a week.
The Austrian Red Cross has about 3,600 employees and nearly 39,000 volunteers. Volunteers count for more than 80 per cent of all staff and play a role notably in the fields of rescue and ambulance services, disaster relief service, youth, neighbourhood help and visiting services, and blood programmes. Importance is given to ongoing training and education of both employees and volunteers and is organized at all levels of the society.
Total expenditure in 1998 amounted to approximately CHF 460 million. The major sources of income are its revenues from services. The ARC holds service contracts with, among others, social security institutions and local communities and gets paid for the services it renders. Such service contracts are held for rescue and ambulance services, and blood supply and ensure self-sustaining operations. Contributions from members and donors constitute more than 10 per cent of the society's total income.
The ARC has buildings for its headquarters, regional branches, community branches, districts and blood centres. It owns about 1,800 vehicles for the rescue and ambulance services, blood donations and home services.
The Austrian Red Cross puts utmost importance on the permanent development and improvement of its different activities.
Several activities are implemented in partnership with other organizations or institutions. A project of particular importance is Nachbar in Not (‘Neighbour in Need’), a joint programme of the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Agency), Caritas and the Austrian Red Cross. Through this project, which was launched in 1992, more than CHF 200 million has been raised from Austrian citizens and shipped, mainly in the form of food supplies, hygiene articles and medical products, to people in need in the Balkan countries. The society is also currently involved in a programme granting legal aid to asylum seekers and refugees, in partnership with UNHCR and Caritas Austria.
The society is an active member of the International Federation and collaborates with its counterparts in neighbouring countries. The Austrian Red Cross has shared its experiences in fund-raising, for example, with the Slovenian and Slovak Red Cross Societies. The society cooperates with EU and other societies, to establish emergency response units (ERUs) and has taken a leading role in the development of water and sanitation and telecommunication ERUs.