Wise giving for Veterans Day

Wise giving for Veterans Day

Around Veterans Day many Americans will seek to remember and honor veterans by contributing to charities and other nonprofit organizations that address a variety of issues and needs facing veterans, military service members and/or their families.

It becomes challenging to make wise giving decisions when we hear stories of disabled veterans needing assistance or similar pitches to make donations to charities that promise to help needy veterans. Better Business Bureau reminds donors to look beyond stories that appeal to emotions before making a donation.

In the past BBB issued several warnings about charities that failed to live up to their promises of providing assistance to veterans in need. Some charities devoted more money to raising funds than to helping veterans, and others weren’t willing to reveal how their funds were spent or the amount of assistance they offered.

BBB charity reviews let donors know whether a charity has complied with BBB standards for charity accountability, 20 standards designed to show a charity is transparent about its operations and fundraising and that it follows good governance practices. Charities that meet all 20 standards may qualify as BBB-accredited charities.

Here are some tips to help donors make informed decisions before contributing:

Look at the name carefully. It’s easy to be confused as many veterans charities include the same words in different order or slightly different form. So make sure the organization you are considering is the one you want to support.

Find out what they do. Don’t assume what the veterans organization does based on its name alone. Look for a clear description of the organization’s programs in its appeals or advertising and on its website.

Be careful about phone appeals. If not managed properly, some telemarketing campaigns for veterans organizations can be an expensive way to raise funds with very little going to the organization. If called, ask for written information on the charity’s programs and finances before making a donation.

Be wary of excessive pressure. Don’t be pressured to make an immediate donation to a veterans organization. Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it. Watch out for appeals that bring tears to your eyes but tell you nothing about how your donation will be used.

Learn how donated items will be used. If the organization is soliciting donations of clothing and household items, find out how the charity benefits from the collection and resale of used clothing and other in-kind gifts. Sometimes the charity only receives 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.

Donate directly. Whenever possible, donate directly to a charity and not through a fundraising telemarketer or a direct-mail solicitation. That helps ensure most of your contribution goes directly to the charity.

Questions to ask. When considering support for a cause-related marketing campaign, find the answers to these questions: What portion of the purchase price will benefit the charity? What is the duration of the campaign? What is the maximum or minimum total contribution? If the information is not on the item, check the organization’s website.

To learn more about BBB charity reviews, to get more giving guidance and tips, and more, visit www.Give.org, then click "for DONORS."

Visit www.bbb.org/canton or call 330-454-9401 to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, read tips, follow us on social media and more.

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