How can groups that collect money from the public maintain their charity status when they spend the bulk of that money on overhead and waste?
There are two issues: Fraud and waste. States and the federal government can shut down frauds. However, there are hundreds of thousands of registered nonprofits. The government can only investigate a small percentage of them. Additionally, scams pop up all the time to take advantage of disasters, wars, and other incidents before disappearing as quickly as they appeared. Waste is a bigger issue–and a tough one. The government cannot tell charities how to spend money. It is up to donors to decide who is worthy of their gifts. With many thousands of charities in existence, only the more sophisticated donors or those willing to take time to understand tax returns will be the ones who can avoid funding groups guilty of donor fraud and waste. The RAM Foundation has done the research and is making our veteran group ratings available without cost to help donors make proper choices.
What’s the difference between Charities for Vets and other charity evaluators? Like other charity rating services, we look at a charity’s general financial integrity and strength. One major difference is that we do not grade on an academic rating system that ranges from A to F or 0-4 stars. Our system employs “Pass / Fail” grade for all relevant factors. Using this stricter “Pass / Fail” approach, we have listed 34 charities as worthy of support. A few qualify as “Highly Recommended” based on their metrics. We also look at factors, such as state fundraising campaign reporting, that other evaluators do not cover. One major difference is that we widely advertise our full web site availability. It is obvious, with so much money contributed to poorly run charities, that donors need to know of our service. Read more about our methodology here.
I don’t see a group listed. Where are they? There are hundreds of charities dealing with veterans and military issues. We started by rating some of the larger and more popular charities.
I disagree with a rating. What can I do? If you’re a representative of a charity we rate, contact us with your affiliation and address at [email protected]. If you’re not, you can send general feedback to: [email protected].
How can I help you? The best thing you can do is become a RAM Warrior with a monthly, tax-deductible donation. Donations help us spread our message about veterans charities. You can also share our website with friends and family and encourage them to visit and share our website. Donate to support our mission here.
How will we know if the RAM Foundation is successful? The 2020-21 tax returns that we have analyzed show 73% of donations going to Not Recommended charities. Success will be visible by reducing that percentage while increasing the current 27% donated to Recommended organizations.
How many people can you reach with your message and ratings? On social media $100,000 worth of promotion will result in more than three million people viewing one or more of our videos. Many will go to our website where they will learn about failed promises and specific “Recommended” or “Highly Recommended” veteran charities worthy of their support. We will also be promoting our site using Google Keywords, so when someone searches for a charity in our database, our rating and site will come up high in the search results.
How do you determine a charity’s top program(s)? We identify the top program(s) that a charity offers by examining its IRS 990 form. If we discover that the organization spends at least 30% of its total budget on a specific program, we feature it in our programs index. If a charity does not allocate at least 30% of its budget towards a program it claims to offer veterans, we don’t count it as a “top program”.
I donate to or work for a charity that I don’t see listed. How do I request to have this charity rated? While there are hundreds of military charities in existence, we do our best to rate as many as possible. We look at the budget and reach of each veteran charity ahead of rating them, and typically rate charities with budgets of approximately $1,000,000 or more (with a few exceptions). Our next edition of ratings will likely be released towards the end of the year. To request a rating, please email [email protected]. We can’t guarantee that it will be rated, but we will certainly consider it.