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Better Business Bureau ®
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Metropolitan New York, Long Island, and the Mid-Hudson Region
BBB Tips for Veterans Day Charitable Giving
November 07, 2013

Veterans Day is a time to honor veterans and active duty military for their service to our country. It is a day that inspires flags, solemn ceremonies, heartfelt thanks, and charitable solicitations. Donation requests from veterans and military-affiliated charities are always high around Veterans Day and throughout the holiday season. To ensure that your contribution will be used as you would wish, do a bit of research first by checking your charity with BBB on www.ny.give.org.

“Many veterans charities operate with integrity, but we continue to see some in New York that we believe are questionable,” said Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of the BBB Serving Metropolitan New York. “It’s a great idea to honor those who have served our country with a gift to a veterans charity, but check the charity with BBB so that you can feel confident about your donation.”

Here are some 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 BBB charity monitoring resources such as www.ny.give.org, you can also check charities that solicit in New York State with the New York Attorney General’s Charities Bureau.