Veterans Day brings out the flags, the solemn ceremonies, the heartfelt thanks… and charitable solicitations. According to BBB Wise Giving Alliance, donation requests from veterans and military-affiliated charities are always high around Veterans Day and throughout the holiday season. To ensure that your donations go just where you want them to, do a bit of research first. Review BBB’s charity reports on give.org or order a copy of the Wise Giving Guide.
BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips on giving to veterans and military-affiliated orgaizations:
· 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 charity monitoring resources such as give.org, check with your state government’s charity registration agency, usually a division of the attorney general’s office.
To obtain a free copy of the 52-page Wise Giving Guide, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail a post card or note to: Wise Giving Guide, 3033 Wilson Blvd, Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22201. Be sure to include your mailing address.