None of us are hard-hearted and, as veterans, we are concerned with the health and welfare of our shipmates and fellow soldiers. Especially when they fall on hard times.
Increasingly, charity organizations claim that the proceeds of their fundraising goes to help veterans in need. Helping out veterans is a big business, even for groups who aren’t out to line their own pockets, with many bona fide charities set up to help servicemen. But not all of them are legitimate, and because of the way charities can donate money, many times, very little of your donation ever reaches the veteran who needs it most.
To be classified as a charity, a percentage of net gains must be donated to the organization for which the charity is set up. The percentage varies and is determined by state laws, but legitimate charities are happy to direct you to the information, either through their website or through charity watchdog organizations. If the person soliciting money won’t help you find the information or doesn’t have a way for you to check on it, they are probably not legitimately helping raise money for charity.
But being able to look up the information later doesn’t help you make a decision when someone has their hand out asking for money to help, now. Nor does it help if someone is collecting money “for” a charitable organization with no intention of ever giving them the money. This can be a difficult situation, as there are no hard and fast rules on determining if someone is soliciting money for a group, and many times contacting the charity doesn’t help because they don’t track their solicitors. For example, DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Charitable Service Trust is an incredible charity that supports physical and mental rehabilitation programs for veterans, but if you wanted to find out if a specific person is collecting money for them, it can be difficult, if not impossible, because of the way the charity operates. More information and control over their charity means that more money must be spent for administrative purposes and less money is spent on helping out veterans.
States are cracking down on charity scams the best the can, but it can be difficult to tell who is authentic and who is not. Until scam artists and criminals can’t make money off of another person’s need, it will be impossible to keep some people from falling for hard luck stories designed to evoke sympathy and feelings of shame if you refuse.
It is a hard decision to make, but the best way to make sure that your money is going to the vets that need it the most is not to drop a few dollars into the hand of a man outside the grocery store collecting money for vets, it is to take the time to research a charity and make sure the money, your money, is being spent on groups and causes that you believe in.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of this website. This author accepts all responsibility for the opinions and viewpoints in this article.