Service members, law enforcement officers and veterans are known for their willingness to give – especially when it comes to supporting their brothers and sisters in arms. But, recent questions concerning lavish spending by one of America’s high profile military charities has many wondering ‘How do I make sure my money is going where I want it to?”
In March of 2016, investigations by CBS News and the New York Times criticized the widely famous nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project for spending millions on over the top salaries, extravagant parties and first class travel. The then-CEO and chief operating officer have been replaced and the new CEO, retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Linnington, has promised change. But a number of celebrity endorsers and everyday donators have been stung by the accusations and it has hurt donations – not only at Wounded Warrior Project but many other charities nationwide.
Despite the accusations and what appears to be overeager willingness to spend other peoples’ money, the majority of charities do outstanding work – including Wounded Warrior Project. But there is the ever-present possibility that even well-meaning leaders will fall prey to the possibility of becoming rich and living a life of fame. Before you spend your hard earned money, it is important to be confident that the $20, $50 or $100 you send will actually go to help someone in need not someone lining their own pockets.
- Make Sure the Charity in Question is Legitimate – many unscrupulous individuals will take advantage of widely known charities or current events to scam sympathetic people into making hasty donations, often via the telephone or internet links. Before you give, check out the charity. There are very few incidents which need your money right now, even the worst tragedies can be addressed for the few hours or days it will take you to confirm who your money is actually going to.
- Verify How Your Donation Will Be Spent – even large, long-standing charities can develop a taste for the lavish and fund that taste through donations. Checking the charities spending ratios can help you determine how much of your dollar will go towards the intended cause and how much will go to salaries, parties and related expenses.
- Check with the Regulatory Agencies – charities are regulated on both the state and federal level and are required to report spending habits, salaries and expenses. More importantly, agencies at both levels actively investigate reports of misappropriation or questionable spending. Checking with these regulatory agencies can help you make a more informed donation. At the state level, this could be the Attorney General, Department of State or another similar licensing department. On the federal level, the best point of contact is the Federal Trade Commission, which has been especially active in cracking down on fraudulent military, law enforcement or first responder charities.
Very few accomplishments feel as heartwarming as reaching a point in life where you can help others less fortunate than yourself, especially your brothers and sisters who have shared a similar experience and fell on hard times or suffered a loss. Researching how your donation will be spent is not selfish; it’s just another means of looking out for those who truly need your help.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.