The Wounded Warrior Project suffers fallout following the ousting of two top executive in the wake of a spending scandal!
Chief Executive Officer Steve Nardizzi and Chief Operating Officer Al Giordano were fired, their board of directors said, as the organization cracks down on employee expenses and strengthening controls that have not kept pace with the group’s rapid growth.
The crap hit the fan and it has managed to smear itself over the wall of support for veterans. That wall of support is cracking! Donors who previously gave funds to the Wounded Warrior Project are seeking other causes and/or groups to support. Veterans are worried that the generosity of the American public will dry up. And they should be worried!
The need for donor based support has not diminished. (The bureaucracy at the VA is still screwed up and can’t find it’s ass with two hands when it comes to effectively caring for the veteran!) There is a real and significant fear that the services and support that legitimate organizations provides will erode due to decreased funding.
Donors and veterans reacted strongly, including some who described themselves as monthly donors. The nonprofit’s Facebook page was filled with angry comments by people rethinking whether they should donate again.
“We have no idea. I think that’s the question every organization in the military and veteran support space is asking today,” said Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Families Association. “We would certainly hope that the American public says we still need to support military families and vets through nonprofits, because there’s so much need. But nobody knows how this is going to affect donor behavior at this point.”
The Old Man has been part of fundraising for a long time. For many years I supported and was involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I held off joining until I was satisfied that the majority of my contribution was going where it was intended to go: research and patient support. Once I had done my due diligence and was satisfied that the fundraising dollar was being spent properly, I joined. The Old Man contributed both time and money for several years as a community liaison for MDA. I worked with the veterans community and the community at large to build awareness and ask for support for the goals of MDA. What I learned is that there is a right way to approach fundraising. Transparency in all that you do builds trust!
The Wounded Warrior Project was started in 2003 by John Melia, a former Marine who said donors who supported the group since its humble beginnings “have every right to be angry about the lack of stewardship shown by the immediate past leadership of WWP,” and “the new leadership of the WWP must do everything in its power to restore its relationship and regain the trust of those it serves and its donors.”
It does take money to run a an organization that supports the needs of veterans. Don’t think that 100% of every dollar you donate goes to that support. Just letting you know about the organization and the goals and objectives takes money. You need to spend money to get money! Legitimate organizations understand this. These groups file reports that are right up front about the actual dollars and/or percentage of dollars that are spent on “administrative” costs.
Randi Law, a spokeswoman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars said that in addition to calls about donating, the group was also fielding queries from donors with fresh questions about the VFW’s finances and operations in light of the Wounded Warrior Project scandal. “We’ve had a few calls,” she said. “We happily tell them that about 5 percent of overall donations raised are going towards administrative costs. We try to be very transparent in our efforts.”
It’s all about transparency. Being honest and upfront about the dollars you are asking people to contribute.
The Old Man expects that there will be continued fallout.
Do not let that stop you from contributing the dollars you set aside to help veterans!
U.S. Representative Bill Johnson met with some veterans in Salem Friday. He said trust plays a role in giving to charities.
“When Americans donate money to charities that profess to be taking care of our nation’s heroes, that’s where they expect that money to go,” Johnson said.
If you’re looking for a way to find out which military charities are legit, you can check out Charity Navigator’s online guide.
The Old Man is confident that the Wounded Warrior Project will get past this and gain back the trust of the American public who support their efforts. The WWP is too important to let this slide!
Thanks for reading !