TaraCrooksUSAA's avatarTaraCrooksUSAAMoney Matters Blog | ‎11-09-2013 07:52 AM

Do Your Research Before Giving Thankfully

shutterstock_110715041.jpgIf you’ve ever received one of those mailers in your mailbox, with the nickel attached to it and a giant arrow saying “this nickel could help a Veteran”, and thought “then why didn’t you keep your darn nickel?”, then we might be soul mates. Nothing infuriates me more when it comes to charities.

 

Don’t mail me a nickel. Don’t mail me a t-shirt. I don’t want a bag. What I want to know is that my money is being put to good use. When I get those mailers or hear you talk about all of the giveaways all I see is that my funds are mailing nickels and printing t-shirts and bags. I am so extremely tempted to turn around and mail them back what they sent me with a note (anger management needed).

 

Recent news of scandal in one of our most loved and trusted military charities hasn’t painted a glowing light of giving either. All of this makes it very easy to make assumptions that giving isn’t “worth it”. I urge you not to take that route. We’re about to round into the most giving time of the year. It breaks my heart to see so many in need these days. If you’re fortunate enough to be in a position where you can help another in need, count your blessings and pay it forward. Trust me there are many ways to give back to your community – especially our military community.

 

I, just like you, am very fond of my earned income. I don’t want it going to some highly paid executive while the person(s) I intended to help gets a mere nickel. You really do need to do your homework. How do you really know if what you are giving is doing the greatest good?

 

Here are some tips from Charity Navigator on giving:

 

  1. It is important to seek out fiscally responsible charities as they are more efficient with donations and have greater flexibility to pursue their goals.
  2. Look beyond inspirational anecdotes and seek out evidence of the overall results of a charity’s work.
  3. Ensure that the charity’s work is aligned with your philanthropic interests.

 

Do you have a favorite military charity? Share it with us in the comments below.

 

A few great places to start your research:

 

 

For a complete list of military charities visit: