Tips for Wise Giving This Memorial Holiday

May 26, 2016

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and to pay tribute to those in the armed forces who gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation. It is also a time when veterans and organizations associated with the military make donation requests. While the majority of these requests are legitimate, potential donors are cautioned that some are not and should do some research before giving.

As potential donors respond to appeals from such organizations, your Better Business Bureau serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties and BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following advisory tips:

  • Mistaken Identity: Watch out for name confusion. 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 it 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.
  • 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: Visit to check out a charity’s trustworthiness by verifying if it meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Also check with your state government’s charity registration agency, usually a division of the attorney general’s office.


BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of nationally-soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, fundraising, appeal accuracy, and other issues. National charity reports are produced by the BBB WGA and local charity reports are produced by local Better Business Bureaus – all reports are available at