How to Choose a Military or Veteran CharityUpdated: March 23, 2021
Nonprofit organizations change the lives of those who need the support of others, making it a necessary effort for both those in need, and those with the humility and ability to give. Many Veterans and military families rely on the charity of non-profit organizations that rely on donations to help others. However, when donating to help Veterans and servicemembers, it is important to support the most responsible charities.
The most deserving are charities who focus donations on serving those in need, and focus less on their own paycheck or overspending on fundraisers. With the many non-profit organizations available, it can be difficult to judge which to donate to. With this in mind, we have created a guide on how to choose a non-profit to donate to, as well as a list of some of the most responsible charities that donate to support Veterans and service members in the US.
Read the nonprofit’s about page or mission statement. This will help you understand the organization’s goals and who they offer support for. The charity may offer more than one program so browsing the website should provide information on exactly what the charity does.
Is the charity exclusive to who they support? Then ask yourself: how important is it to you that the charities you support are or are not exclusively helping military and veterans. Many great military-supporting programs are not exclusive to the military.
Research the financial responsibility of the non-profit organization you are choosing by a quick search on CharityNavigator.org, which rates programs based on their financial responsibility. There is a section specifically for nonprofits affiliated with the military, but some are museums and programs that include military as a part of their institution. It’s not bad to support programs such as these, but it’s necessary to be mindful of what you are passionate about, and how you would like to impact the community you’ve chosen to donate to. Two other sites that you can use to research the integrity of a non-profit are guidestar.org and give.org.
Research to see if your contribution is tax deductible. If it is, keep records, receipts, and communication about your donation so you can fill out Form 1040, where you will itemize deductions in section A come tax season. For more information on tax deductible donations, the IRS provides guidelines and Charity Navigator shares more great advice on the matter.
Find the charity that is meaningful to you and give! You’ve done the research and completed the steps above so you can feel good about your decision and even better about giving to the charity of your choice.
If you are not sure about the charity for Veterans or military that you were originally going to donate to, shop around and see if there is another that you are more comfortable with. Researching these non-profit organizations is easy with the steps above, and your money is valuable so make sure you are comfortable with where it goes. When you donate to help Veterans and servicemembers enhance their lives, your contribution is appreciated by many, no matter the size. For a list of Charities supporting Military and Veterans, visit our list of Veteran & Military Charities.