Better Business Bureau, Milwaukee, Wis. – Memorial Day reminds us to honor and mourn for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. To show respect for this federal holiday, some will choose to contribute to charities that address a variety of issues and needs facing veterans, military service members and/or their families. BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following advice to help donors make wise giving decisions to such organizations.
Watch Out for Name Confusion. Some veterans charities include the same words in a different order or slightly different form. So, be alert and make sure the organization you are considering is the one you want to support.
Identify What They Do. Don’t assume what the veterans organization does based on their name alone. Look for a clear description of the organization’s programs in its appeals and on its website.
Be Cautious on Phone Appeals. If not managed properly, some telemarketing campaigns for veterans organizations can be an expensive way to raise funds with very little going to the organization. If called, do not hesitate to ask for written information or visit the group’s website to find out about its programs and finances before making a giving decision.
Be Wary of Excessive Pressure. Don’t be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation to a veterans organization. Charities will welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.
Learn How Donated Items Will Be Used. 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 Outside Sources Before Giving. In addition to charity reports on BBB’s Give.org, check with your state government’s charity registration agency, usually a division of either the Attorney General’s office or Secretary of State’s office.