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Wise Giving Wednesday: Memorial Day Giving

May 22, 2019

Memorial Day helps to honor those who gave their lives serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Many Americans will seek to help show respect for this day 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. With over 45,000 organizations in the United States that address these issues, that choice can be a challenging one.  To help donors make a wise giving decision, we offer the following advice.

  • Some groups have similar sounding names. Some veterans’ charities include virtually the same words in different order or slightly different form. So, be alert and 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 their name alone. Look for a clear description of the organization’s programs in its appeals 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, do not hesitate to ask for written information or visit the group’s website to find out about its programs and finances before making a giving decision.
  • Be Wary of Excessive Pressure.  Don’t be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation to a veterans organization. Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.
  • Learn How Donated Items Will Be Used. 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 Outside Sources Before Giving: In addition to charity reports on BBB’s Give.org, check with your state government’s charity registration agency, usually a division of the Attorney General’s office.

While many of these groups are relatively small organizations and bring in less than $100,000 a year, there are still quite a number of larger veterans and military service groups. Below is a list of the ten largest (in terms of total revenue) BBB Accredited national veterans charities (i.e. meets all 20 BBB Charity Standards). Of course, charities devoted to the various needs of veterans and their families deserve our support throughout the year and not just on Memorial Day.

  1. Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
  2. Wounded Warrior Project
  3. Disabled American Veterans
  4. USO
  5. Operation Homefront
  6. Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
  7. Homes for Our Troops
  8. Gary Sinise Foundation
  9. Soldiers’ Angels
  10. Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes Foundation

Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring an interview with Pat Craig, Executive Director of The Wild Animal Sanctuary (a BBB Accredited Charity).  The organization operates a refuge in California for lions, tigers, bears and other large carnivores rescued from illegal or abusive situations.


Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to www.give.org/charity-inquiry if you are  interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance