Veterans Corner

To Give or not to Give

One of the questions that we are frequently asked is “With so many Veterans programs asking for money, how do I figure out who to donate to?” This is a very good question.

Right now it is estimated there are nearly 45,000 non-profit organizations seeking funding for Veterans causes. Some have very wide ranging services, such as the service organizations like American Legion VFW and Disabled American Veterans, some have a very specific targeted fund or event they are working towards, and regrettably many are just plain scams.

Now, there are some very easy things a person can do to try to screen out the nefarious abusers. There are numerous websites dedicated specifically to rating non-profits and they use a number of criteria.

In general we might look to see how much of the money they raise is used to pay salaries and administrative costs and this is most typically expressed in terms of percentage, the lower the percent, the better the rating.

One caution, if an organization is exceptionally large and they are raising tens of millions of dollars, that low percent still could mean one. If you have a bit of internet savvy you can always search for a non-profit organization’s IRS forms such as a Form 990T. This will most often tell you exactly how much is being paid and to whom it is being paid.

From my chair here in the County, whenever I get this question I steer folks towards local causes, and there are plenty.

In the end, if your gut instinct tells you something isn’t adding up, call the organization or individual running the event and ask them questions. In the end it’s your hard earned money and you shouldn’t ever have a doubt about where it’s going.

Thanks For Your Service and God Bless America

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