Wise Giving Wednesday: Wounded Warrior Project
Each year, some of the nationally soliciting charities on which we report, face public allegations. These can range anywhere from questions about the accuracy of financial references in their communications to concerns about how the charity carries out its work. Although these allegations rarely rise to the level of warranting government agency investigations, the public often assumes wrongdoing has taken place unless shown otherwise. The court of public opinion can be quick to judge without knowing all the relevant facts.
In view of the volume of public inquiries we are receiving about Wounded Warrior Project and the continuing media spotlight placed on this organization, we thought this would be a good opportunity to share with donors how we address these types of concerns.
Once a media story that raises concerns is published about a charity, we correspond directly with the charity to get additional insight in order to make our own determination. This is done by having the charity answer a series of questions and provide other documentation relevant to the allegations that affect the issues addressed in the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability . This enables our conclusions to remain objective and helpful for our report users.
After the stories appeared about Wounded Warrior Project, we initiated that work. No changes were made to our report on WWP at that time other than a notice that we were contacting the charity for additional information about the recent public allegations that had been made so that we could determine whether the charity continued to meet the BBB Charity Standards.
Last Wednesday, WWP sent us a detailed response to our questions which we are currently reviewing. On Thursday, we learned that WWP’s board of directors received a report on an examination conducted by an outside forensic accounting service and a law firm, and that WWP’s CEO and COO had left the organization. Naturally, this new information, based on actions taken directly by the charity’s board, required us to entirely reopen our evaluation of WWP and suspend the organization’s use of the Charity Seal.
Again, we are making no assumptions based on the public allegations and will continue to correspond with WWP to reach our own conclusions. Our goal is to make a fair and correct analysis based on facts rather than a quick judgment based on third party sources. Although this takes more time, we are confident that this procedure will help both donors and charities in verifying and addressing accountability issues.
On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Chuck Scofield, Chief Development Officer of Share Our Strength (a BBB Accredited Charity). Among other things, Share Our Strength carries out a No Kid Hungry campaign that seeks to engage the public to make ending child hunger a national priority.
We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:
Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.
H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance