Millions of American soldiers put their lives on the line every day and in the line of duty, many servicemen and women are injured. There are an estimated 22 million military veterans living in the U.S. as of 2014.
Many veterans are in need of a great deal of help. The same can be said of military families, who need help supporting their loved ones. Fortunately, there are organizations in the United States like the Wounded Warrior Project and Purple Heart Pickup who accept needed donations for military veterans and military families. The Purple Heart Foundation, for example, estimates that it helped more than 19,000 veterans secure more than $200 million in benefits just in 2018.
When it comes to donations, a little can make a huge difference. There are many reasons to donate clothing and other items for good causes. By donating, folks are doing a good deed for a lot of people who are greatly appreciative.
There are plenty of good reasons to donate to charity, but before you drop off items for donations or sign your name to a check, stop for a second. There are plenty of reputable charitable donations that do a lot to help folks in need. But it seems like every year, news stories pop up about swindlers running off with charitable donations. Before you donate, here are four things to think about:
- Find a cause you’re passionate about: If you’re passionate about helping veterans and military families, find organizations that help them. If you passion is animals, donate your resources or time to organizations that help animals. Bottom line: find a cause you’re passionate about before just blindly donating to it. Folks donate to charities because they feel like they can take a differences in the lives of people who need help. By donating to causes you’re passionate about, you’ll feel better about donating.
- Do research: If you want to donate to military families, do some research first. As previously mentioned, there are plenty of military charities that do a lot of good work for those in need. But if you’re not sure who to donate to, do some research. Look up a charity’s mission statement and what its recent accomplishments are. Sites like Charity Navigator can tell you all you want to know about a prospective charity including finances and accountability. Take a look at a charity’s board of directors too. You want to make sure a charity has stellar leadership and guidance so that the people who donate don’t get swindled.
- Only donate in person: A good rule of thumb when it comes to donating to charity: don’t ever donate over the phone. You want to deal with a charity’s representatives directly and by donating online for example, you’re able to keep better track of your donation.
- Charity as investment: Chances are at some point in the past, you’ve given money to a charity and never thought about it again after you’ve handed the money over. Thinking about your money as an investment into an organization rather than as a simple giving of money can change your perspective entirely.
You should look into establishing a relationship with a charity you’re interested in. That way you have a vested interest in their success and you’ll be more apt to lend your support to that organization again in the future. It is true that donations you make can be written off during tax season, but again, you should be making charitable donations because you genuinely want to and not for taking credit.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving to charity–in fact it’s something 95% of Americans do on some level. There are plenty of reputable charities out there for cause such as helping military families and veterans in need. Taking time to do a little bit of research into charities can help you find one or several that you’re passionate about and are willing to donate to as an investment.