Friday, January 29, 2016

The wounding of Wounded Warriors

"This charity is capable of doing so much good. However, like many large charities, the opportunity for mismanagement is also there."

First a bit of disclosure. My wife and I contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project. We have for years. Not a huge amount, but we are sustaining members of the Project. I believe they do very good work for veterans in need. I also believe however, there is some house cleaning which needs to be done. And soon.

The Wounded Warriors Project is legit. It is a 501(c)(3) registered charity. It has a federal ID number. And it has great media. Its ad campaigns can often rip the heart out of your chest they are done so well. And they are expensive. So much so, that the cost of media and administration for Wounded Warrior Project is 40%. That is outrageously high for any charity.

Last night Bill O'Reilly talked about the dust up over the Wounded Warrior Project. He is a big time supporter. He said he went on Charity Navigator and they looked fine. When he said that, you got a rare dose of spin coming out of the No Spin Zone. How do their metrics look in general? Good. In fact, overall they received a score of almost 85%. Accountability and transparency, 96%. However, financials were only slightly over 78%. And that is a problem.

We also donate to the Fisher House Foundation. This is a horse of a different color. What the Fisher House does is offer free or low cost housing to families who need to be by their recovering veteran at a veteran's medical facility. They have 67 facilities and serve over 25,000 families. It is a big load. And with all of that, Charity Navigator has given them a rating of 97%. And 91 cents of every dollar raised goes directly into providing services. Compare that with 60 cents out of every dollar for Wounded Warriors.

Am I going quit giving to the Wounded Warrior Project? Nope. Am I going to write them a letter advising them to get their "poop in a group"? You bet. This is too good of a charity, it services too many vets who really need their help, to drop them. But I want that 40% for administration and media to be cut down to 20% by the end of the year. In the future, I would like to see it coming down to 10 to 15%.

Charity Navigator is a great tool to use. So is e-mail or snail mail in communicating with your charities. If you think you are being duped, drop them like a bad habit. If you think they have just taken a wrong turn, contact them and tell them of your concern. Tell them if they don't course correct shortly, you soon will part company. That is my plan, and I will do it. 

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