When you donate to help veterans, you want your donation to go to a charity that truly helps veterans and their families, Doing a little research and asking questions will help you get there.
There are many charitable organizations that do an excellent job supporting our nation’s veterans with education, training, counseling, financial assistance, and more.
But there are a few organizations that take advantage of people’s generosity. They use images and tell compelling stories that appeal to our hearts and patriotism, but lie about what they do and how they spend donor money.
They often use names that resemble recognized charities or include words such as veteran, foundation, operation, hero, wounded, disabled, or homeless. The fact that these words are included in the name of the organization does not mean that they really help veterans.
You want to make your donation count. Read these tips to help you donate wisely.
Check out reports and ratings through trusted organizations like the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance , Charity Navigator , CharityWatch, and GuideStar.
See if the organization is registered with your state’s charity regulator. In most states, charities must register before asking for donations. You can find the contact information for your state’s regulator at nasconet.org .
Use the IRS Tax Exempt Organizations Search link to see if your donation is tax deductible.
What is the website, address, and mission of the charity?
How much of your donation will go directly to services that help veterans rather than for fundraising purposes?
How much of your donation will be used for the specific programs you want to support?
If supporting veterans in your own community is important to you, ask how the charity in your area spends the money.
And what about donation requests made through social media and collaborative fundraising websites?
Many of the donation requests made through social media and fundraising sites are legitimate, but some are scams. For example, there are people who misuse photos and true stories of veterans to get you to make a donation, but the money goes into their own pockets.
Before donating, research the charity you are considering. Also, if tax deductions are important to you, remember that donations to individuals are not tax deductible.
The safest way to donate on social media or through collaborative fundraising sites is to donate to people you actually know who contacted you about a specific project. Don’t assume that donation requests made on social media or fundraising sites are legitimate even if they are shared or liked by your friends.