Tuesday, June 09, 2015

WWP - not just any charity

That logo, it seems to message one thing.

Those commercials, another.

I'll stop at that. If you have seen the commercials, you know why I will not have anything to do with the Wounded Warrior Project.

They could be the best charity on the earth, helping those who need the help the most - but I would never give them a red cent.

I think that stands for itself. Google yourself and watch the commercials if you must. If you still don't get my issue, then it can't be explained to you.

If you can't quite grasp my reason, there is another reason why you should think twice - via Tim Mak over at TheDailyBeast, here are a few things for you to ponder.
The renting of private information is a betrayal of donors, argues Sandra Miniutti, the vice president of Charity Navigator, a group that rates nonprofits. “When a donor gives to you there’s a level of trust, that you’re going to repay that with respect, that together you’re working to make the world a better place, and that [the charity is] not going to flip and sell my personal information,” she said.

A top official for a another large veterans nonprofit was aghast when informed about the practice. “We have never rented out, sold, or shared our donor list,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Our donors would kill us if we did that…I can’t believe their big, midsize, and small donors would be too happy with that.”

Nardizzi’s group not only engages in the selling of donor information, but he’s apparently proud of it, brazenly arguing in its favor.
The Wounded Warrior Project CEO’s own salary rose by nearly $100,000 in the course of one year, to $473,015 in 2014. The group’s 10 most highly compensated employees made approximately $2.6 million in total that year.
In fiscal year 2014, it brought in more than $342 million in revenue—making it one of the largest veterans charities in America. That’s up from $235 million in 2013 and $155 million in 2012.

By comparison, the WWP raised more than the National Labor Relations Board’s requested budget, and just slightly less than the budget for the entire Peace Corps.

And the WWP is unapologetic about supplementing those fundraising levels by selling off donor information.

“Sound and common business practice dictates that organizations or companies mailing marketing materials to the public share and exchange lists,” said Ayla Hay, a spokeswoman for the Wounded Warrior Project. The charity declined to list the organizations it sold/shared personal information to, except to describe them as “numerous large, national veterans service organizations.”
The Wounded Warrior Project does not make obvious when individuals donate that personal information could be sold to third parties. There is no disclaimer on the form individuals use to donate online, nor on the form used to mail in a contribution.

In small print at the bottom of the page, the Wounded Warrior Project links to its privacy policy. On the second page, on the seventh point, the Wounded Warrior Project informs donors that the group may share “financial donor postal mailing lists with other non-profits and third parties.” In order to opt out of having personal information sold, donors must fill out a long form.
On the other hand, giving money to the $342 million Wounded Warrior Project takes just a few clicks.
They also do this;
According to a number of smaller groups, the Wounded Warrior Project, with annual revenues of $235 million, has been spending a good deal of time and money suing other veteran-serving nonprofits on the basis that their names or logos constitute infringement on their brand.

The Daily Beast reports that they talked with at least seven such charities. “They do try to bully smaller organizations like ourselves,” said a representative of one of the groups, who chose to remain anonymous. “They get really territorial about fundraising.” The rep said that they have been pressured to change their name, which includes the term “wounded warrior.”

“They’re so huge. We don’t have the staying power if they come after us—you just can’t fight them.” The term “wounded warrior” is, by the way, a generic phrase in the military community for an injured service member, used often within the various branches. But apparently WWP wants to own the name now and it appears willing to spend its donors’ and beneficiaries’ money to ensure that that is so.

Most recently, a small, Pennsylvania-based, all-volunteer project named the Keystone Wounded Warriors has become a target. Its annual budget is $200,000—which is, as the Beast points out, $175,000 less than the CEO of the WWP makes annually. But the small group had to spend two years and $72,000 in defense against the charge that their logo and name were similar enough to WWP’s to cause irreparable damage to its business, goodwill, reputation, and profits.

“That’s money that we could have used to pick up some homes in foreclosure, remodel them, and give them back to warriors. We spent that money on defending ourselves instead,” said Keystone Wounded Warriors executive director Paul Spurgin. “The lawsuit was just the coup de grĂ¢ce,” he added. “They want us gone.”
In a word; unseemly.

Everyone must make their own decision - but an organization that uses the same visuals, tone and background music for those who fight our wars, that are are also used for starving African children ... and at the same time squash local organizations using a huge legal budget.

No thanks for me.

I get a vibe from WWP, and it isn't good for the larger veteran charity ecosystem. If they continue on the path they are on, WWP will do for veterans' charities what the Prosperity Gospel did for evangelicism. 

$02, YMMD.

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