A lot of Americans donate money each year to charities that are close to their heart. Many of these go to charities that support and help war veterans. Working one on one with war heroes or the widowed spouses of the brave souls, ensuring their employment after retirement from the forces and helping them take care of their family expenditures such as children’s education, are some of the activities that such charities do. This is their way of honouring those who serve and defend the country selflessly. However, given the large number of charities operating worldwide, it becomes a daunting task to choose one and determine how authentic it is. Nobody would want their money to go to a lost cause when the intentions are for a good reason. There are enough tell-tale signs, which when followed, will help vet the legitimate charities. Here are tips which can help in making an informed decision.
- Learning about the charity organisation: Most charities would have a statement of activities that they do. Reading it and acquainting yourself with the group’s missions and agendas can help you gain insight into the activities and whether it genuinely supports the betterment of the veterans.
- What share of the donated money is used to support the veterans: There is a big problem when it comes to hired fundraisers as they, more often than not, end up siphoning most of the donated funds, leaving very little for the real purpose. This defeats the very purpose of charity. Be sure to identify the other administrative costs that are usually hidden from the donating personnel.
- Checking out the IRS 900 forms: Though this may not be a pleasurable activity to do, it certainly helps to figure out how the donated money was spent.
There are also a few dos and don’t s that have to be kept in mind while choosing a charity.
- Don’t give cash. Charities accept donations in cheques so that accountability is maintained.
- Don’t give your bank account details or credit card details. Legitimate charities would never ask for them.
- Don’t give in to the pressure of donating to a specific charity.
- Do insist on getting answers to all your questions.
- Do check with local authorities about the charity. Legitimate charities are always registered.
The tips mentioned above will help vet charities close to your heart without giving you heartburn. Though it is not a fool proof way of choosing a charity, these tips will help find charities with which you can trust your money and ensure that the help reaches the right people at the right time.