Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"They get away with it because it’s a hero charity"

Giving Season Needs Wise Giving
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 22, 2017

“They get away with it because it’s a hero charity. It’s an emotional give.” Daniel Borochoff

Tomorrow we'll all gather around a table and share a meal while giving thanks for all we have. At least most of us will. Some will be alone with nothing more than memories of spending time with people they cared about.

For veterans, this can be a very lonely time, especially if they are no longer in contact with those they risked their lives with. It is also a very cold time it they happen to be homeless.

Family and friends no longer around, veterans tug at our hearts and pull at our wallets because, frankly, had it not been for them being willing to sacrifice their lives, we wouldn't have nearly as much to be grateful for.

I tried to see how much is donated to those service organizations, but so far, no luck. I did discover a few very interesting articles on the topic.

Back in 2013, there was a report in the New York Post about a charity stealing from donors. Within the article, there was this message all of us need to consider.
Daniel Borochoff, president of Charity Watch (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy) has testified before Congress and written extensively about abusive veterans’ charities. 
“They get away with it because it’s a hero charity. It’s an emotional give,” Borochoff told me by phone the other day. “People make snap decisions. They don’t do their homework.” 
Borochoff said that many veterans charities don’t spend their funds directly on vets.
If you look up a tax exempt like mine, it comes with with 100% for administrative but notice the minus and see that I don't even get enough in donations to break even, so as embarrassing as that is, it is actually worse because there is a lot more I do not claim. Hey, only so much that my ego can take.

Anyway, considering I do this work about 45 hours a week, plus work for my paycheck 32 hours a week, you can understand why I get so angry with all the people running around the country claiming they deserve your money just because they say so. Make them prove it!

I suck at raising money. They are great at it. I'd rather be great at what I do because of the results I see all the time when the work is done the way I read it in a book that we should, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give." Matthew 10:8

It doesn't cost me much to do my "job" so I don't mind losing a couple of thousand a year. I am grateful I have a job that pays my bills.

Maybe that is the thing others should take into consideration. If folks make it their "job" to support themselves talking about how many veterans they think are committing suicide, their income will end when veterans stop ending their own lives. Right? Think about it.

Time to start doing some educated giving if we are ever going to really help veterans.

Find out which veterans they help as much as you research to see what they actually do with the money. For instance, do they claim to be helping all generations, especially it they are talking about suicides, or just the OEF and OIF veterans. Aside from having their numbers wrong, 65% of the veterans committing suicide are over the age of 50. So make them account for the number of veterans they are claiming matter to them. Then get them to explain why they won't help the majority of the veterans needing help the most and waiting the longest for it.

Here are a few more articles on the subject.
U.S. Veterans Organizations by the Numbers
Guide Star November 2015
Where Are They? You’ll find veterans organizations in every state of the union. California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and Illinois have the most (more than 2,000 per state). Rhode Island, Alaska, Delaware, and Hawaii each have fewer than 200 veterans nonprofits located in them. More than 1,000 veterans organizations are in the Washington, DC, metropolitan statistical area (MSA). The Chicago MSA comes in second with more than 745, and the Philadelphia MSA comes in third with 583. read more here
A Donor's Guide to Serving the Needs of Veterans and the Military

Charity Watch
Published 01/26/2015
Over 3.8 million war veterans were receiving disability compensation from the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department (VA) as of March 2014, according to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics (NCVAS). This is out of over 21.6 million U.S. veterans in 2014, based on NCVAS projections. 

Even though the government, tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations, and millions of caring Americans try to provide support for veterans and military families, many are not receiving the help they need. Much of the blame for this lies with the U.S. government, which provides the lion’s share of services to past and present military personnel and their families. 

A smaller share of the blame lies with the growing number of poorly run and inefficient charities claiming to serve veterans and the military. The inefficiencies of the VA and the existence of so many wasteful nonprofits make it all that much more critical for donors to choose wisely when contributing to a veterans and military charity. 

Donors who want to make contributions towards charitable programs that serve the military and veterans face an almost overwhelming volume of choices with, by some accounts, the existence of over 40,000 nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving the military and veterans and an estimated 400,000 service organizations that in some way touch veterans or service members. 

Even the 2013/2014 Directory of Veterans and Military Service Organizations published by the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs as an informational service for veterans seeking support lists over 140 national nonprofit organizations. Additionally, the number of new veterans charities has increased relatively rapidly over the past five years or so, growing by 41% since 2008 compared with 19% for charities in general, according to The Urban Institute as reported in a December 2013 The NonProfit Times article. 

With so many veterans and military organizations competing for charitable dollars, it may take a little extra effort on the part of donors to be well-informed, but that effort is essential given the great need for donations to be used as efficiently and effectively as possible.