Both the CEO and COO from the nationally recognized Wounded Warrior Project have recently been fired after reports by CBS that donations were being used for frivolous spending. Supporters of WWP are understandably upset and are demanding accountability. Here are some comments left from individuals chiming in after hearing the story:
This is not the first time that a large non-profit has been let down by supporters, and it will not be the last. In fact, some of large charities are wasting donor dollars to grow and will likely continue doing so. The most recent report "Pennies for Charity" from the Attorney General highlights the fundraising activity of for-profit telemarketing companies hired to raise money for their nonprofit clients. The report summarizes 2014 activities and indicates that just 48% of the $302 Million raised in 2014 actually went to the organization that was being solicited to generous donors.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from organizations that choose to use donations foolishly?
First, it is important to note that these situations that make the headlines are not common practice among the nonprofit community. Stories about these bad apples do tend to overshadow all of the good work being done by the overwhelming majority because, to be frank, it is what generates more clicks and equates to more advertising dollars. Unfortunately we live in a world where the majority of the news we consume is driven by negative emotion.
“The most powerful predictor of what spreads online is anger.”
Fortunately all hope is not lost. There are several fairly simply steps that you can take to make sure that your donation is making its intended impact.
Scams like this will not stop, but do not use this as an excuse to deny worthy charities. Instead, take the steps that we described and be confident in your choice to give because you have done your homework. Choose change, Pay It Forward.
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