Tips for Giving to Veterans Charities this Fourth of July

July 01, 2010

By: Jennifer Greening | Charity Analyst

Fireworks and picnics mean that Fourth of July is quickly approaching, and with this particular holiday usually comes an increase in veterans and military charities soliciting for contributions to help members of the military or veterans. While most veterans’ charities are doing great work in our community, unfortunately, there tends to be a high rate of abuse by charities soliciting for veterans causes compared to charities soliciting for other programs / services. Before you give this holiday weekend, BBB urges you to do research to find charities that will spend your money wisely.

· Watch out for similar names, because many veteran and military charities have similar-sounding names. To make sure you are donating to your preferred charity, verify their contact information, such as a mailing address or phone number. If you find contact information through your research that differs from what was provided in the solicitation that may be a red flag.

· Charities should be willing to accept your donation throughout the year, so don’t feel pressured into giving just because of a holiday.

· Don’t’ be afraid to ask questions before making your donation. A charity that refuses or is unable to answer your questions should make you concerned. Some questions to consider asking a charity before donating are:

o Is my donation tax-deductible? Not all soliciting organizations able to accept a donation that is tax-deductible. You can verify this information by contacting the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

o How much of my donation will go to programs? Beware of charities that state that 100% of your donation will go to programs. Almost every charity has administrative and fundraising expenses.

o How will my donation be used? Ask for details: when, where, who. Be cautious of appeals that are long on emotion, but short on details.

And don’t forget to check out the charity’s BBB Wise Giving Report.

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