One of the things we get asked about quite a bit here at Warrior Media Solutions is what Charities in the Veteran space are legit and worth donating to. THere seems to be an endless amount of folks willing to capitalize on a current event of hot button issue that well intentioned people are easily inspired to donate to because they want to be a positive spark of change or help. There are several different things a person can look for on a quick surface level to determine immediately whether or not a cause is worthy or legitimate. Here are a couple of quick things to look for before one blindly puts money in or helps spread the word passing the information on towards friends and family that will also give.
1) Does the Charity have a 501c.(3) rating from the Internal Revenue Service(IRS)? This rating is a determination by the IRS that the Non Profit Corporation has registered, submitted operating procedures and have a mission statement that is acceptable by the IRS selection criteria. All charities that have this determination happily display the information and will make their financials available to the general public and this is also required by the IRS. (by Law)
*When group or organization do not have this status they can not issue a tax deductible receipt to the donor so instead of “DONATING” money you are simply “GIVING IT AWAY”. Donors have the right to question stewardship of funds as they are stakeholders while some one that merely gives can accept the fact they might have been had.
2) Is there a TANGIBLE connection between the charity and the cause? Some will claim they are the OFFICIAL fund but provide no contact information to prove connection.
*Just last night on our face book feed a very well intentioned patriotic lady attempted to post a link to a charity about the imprisoned United States Marine SGT Andrew Tahmooressi Click on this link to see site —> http://andrewfreedomfund.com/
You will notice there is only a link to donate and to share the page via social media. A video on the landing page is of the Marines Mother which presents a picture of validity and keeps everything looking OFFICIAL but there is no contact page and a simple reading of the text/story shows that the information is slightly exaggerated and leads the reader to get emotionally connected to the cause.
One the only using/clickable link the DONATE button it takes you to a page where you can make a variety of “DONATIONS” via credit card etc however again no contact information and at the bottom a small warning about non tax deductible status which again leads consumer to believe this is the proper conduct of a fund. Here is the fine print at the bottom of the page:
By submitting the form above, I acknowledge that:
- Contributions to the Fund are not tax-deductible, and you may incur federal gift tax liability. However, an individual donor can make an annual tax-free gift of up to $14,000, and a married couple can make an annual tax-free gift of up to $28,000. However, you should consult your own accountant or tax advisor regarding your personal financial situation and any potential tax liability as a result of making a contribution to the Fund.
- IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, I inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.
This disclosure makes consumer liable and not the charity for its behavior. In essence making the contribution here no different than the handful of change to the junkie on the corner pan handling.
The reason this one stood out to us here is because of Our friends and Partners at Serving California along with their Director of Veteran Affairs Chad Robichaux have been closely involved in this case and have been truly working with SGT Tahmooressi’s mother to secure a legal end to the situation. You can get actual and timely updates by Going to Serving California and ready their press releases and testimonials of activity. Full transparency is provided on their site so the consumer knows the validity and security of the site and service.
Also seeing a Charity that has awards for proper stewardship and mission accomplishment like our friends at Veteran Outdoors who were a “Top Rated Non Profit” in 2013. These are indicators of Charities that you can feel good and comfortable donating to.
There are however other recognized and wildly popular charities like Wound Warrior Project whose brand is so popular and powerful that people think they are the only entity that assist wounded warriors while in fact they have one of the worst reputations among the wounded community. While being known for high executive salaries and mistreatment of those they profess to assist. There seems to be a lot of press supporting those claims.
Bottom Line Folks, if you have a cause you are passionate about by all means SUPPORT IT!!!!! If you are unsure about its validity take the few moments to see if its a real charity and if you can actually talk to the person taking your money in some capacity so there is a level of accountability. One should feel good about their support and not taken. Like the title tells you the Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions