Veterans' charities more accountable

Veterans' charities more accountable
MGN Online
Military News
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 10:46am

Compared to six years ago, a larger percentage of nationally soliciting veterans and military-affiliated charities are disclosing information and meeting the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, according to BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the national charity monitoring organization. In the past two years, 64% of veterans and military-affiliated charities contacted by the Alliance provided the requested information and materials needed to complete an evaluation in relation to the 20 BBB Charity Standards. In 2007, only half (50%) provided this information.

In addition, the Alliance found there was a 12 percentage point increase in the number of veterans and military charities that were able to meet all 20 of the BBB charity standards (i.e., BBB Accredited Charities). The number of such groups that met standards jumped from 20% in 2007 to 32% in 2013.

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips on giving to veterans and military-affiliated organizations:

  • Mistaken identity: Watch out for name confusions. Many veterans’ charities include virtually the same words in different order or slightly different form.
  • Clear program description: Look for a clear description of the organization’s programs in its appeals and on its website. If the charity says it is helping veterans, does it explain how (financial assistance, shelter, counseling) and where it is doing so?
  • Telemarketing cautions: Telemarketing can be a costly method of fundraising unless carefully managed. If called, do not hesitate to ask for written information on the charity’s programs and finances before making a donation decision.
  • On-the-spot donation decisions: Be wary of excessive pressure in fundraising. Don’t be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation. Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.
  • Donating used clothing and other goods: Find out how the charity benefits from the collection and resale of used clothing and other in-kind gifts. Sometimes the charity receives only a small portion of the resale price of the item or may have a contractual arrangement to get a flat fee for every household pick-up, no matter what the contents.
  • Check with outside sources before giving: In addition to charity monitoring resources such as give.org, check with your state government’s charity registration agency, usually a division of the attorney general’s office.

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