Newer Ratings for Veterans Charities

by R. Anderson

Are there newer ratings for veterans charities?

I read the AIP veterans charity watchdog report and veterans charities ratings website you listed and I see it was done in 2007. Have there been any studies since then?

That does not seem a very fair way on which to base these scores. Lots of things change in 5 years.

R, we receive many similar requests from readers, so we appreciate this opportunity to clarify the issue. The veterans charities ratings we published were not done by us, they were done by the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP), now known as Charity Watch.

Below the ratings, you'll find a link to the entire report, which was prepared in advance of a Congressional hearing in December 2007, when AIP President Daniel Borochoff testified about their findings regarding certain veterans charities.

AIP rates approximately 600 charities, but it covers all kinds of charities, not just military or veterans charities. So each report has only a handful of veterans charities ratings.

There are thousands of veterans charities today, and it would be a full-time job for an army of investigators to review them all. Sadly, I don't have an army of investigators available.

At the bottom of that page, there are links to a number of charity watchdog sites. You can probably find reviews of the charity you're interested in at one or more of them. If not, the link to Charity Navigator should allow you to access their latest tax returns, which you can then review for yourself.

Some of the charities post their financial information on their web sites. You'll want to review the tax return and the audited financial report. There are sometimes very interesting (and telling) comments in the notes accompanying the audited financials.

IRS regulations require charitable organizations to provide you with a copy of their three most-recent tax returns upon request. In our experience, however, you'll be ignored more often than not. If that happens, you can report the charity to the IRS for failure to comply with the regs.

I do appreciate your optimism, but we don't find drastic changes in the way they do things in just five years. If they were funneling huge amounts to professional fundraisers five years ago, they probably still are, just the amounts have changed.

Thanks again for giving us the opportunity to clarify this issue, and thank you for your support of our veterans.

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