We will always complain about our jobs, our lives, the people around us and the organizations in which we belong to. Truth is that we will never be fully satisfied with anything. We’re human and it’s in our nature.
I am not posting for Wounded Warrior Project or any other organization, but making a statement about charities in general. I do however mention WWP as an example and have shown research from my behalf for this purpose so please all stop and think a moment……
There are fly by night charities who collect money and never really were working for their stated mission—-But the honest and productive charities, operate in a business-like manner. They are regulated by various city, state, and federal laws just like any business. I do a lot of charity volunteering. But I volunteer as my time permits because I have to work and make a living. If I had the time I’d volunteer for all non-profits that deal with injured veterans such as myself.
Volunteering and actually being employed by a charitable organization are two different things entirely. As a business,the operation of a charity you want needs to have the best people working for you and those people come at a cost. As an employee of a charitable organization, you need a salary and it needs to be a salary you can make a decent living at. Just because the business is a charity these two facts are not negated.
One immediately thinks — oh the CEO of that charity is making way too much money—that is a charity after all. Well yes, its mission is charitable but why does that mean the CEO should not get paid a competitive wage? Would you quit your job and go to work for a charity while working for half the money you make now with no benefits? The question should be is the CEO doing a good enough job for the charity to deserve that salary.
Current standards dictate that charities should be at about 30-35 percent expense at the highest. WWP seem to be a little over that, but they have an overall rating of 85%. If a charity is going to fulfill their mission successfully there is going to be expense. Are the expenses legit? Is there oversight? That is what you need to know. As WWP record indicates they have good transparency in their operations, my suggestion would be to find corporate sponsors who will pay the expenses, and then 100% of their donations would go directly to their mission. Then there is no question of where your contributions are spent.
The facts are, a successful charity needs to be a successful BUSINESS. There are a multitude of charities out there, and being able to distinguish yours from the crowd and raise money in an economy where people are giving less and costs are increasing takes skills. As is the case in any industry, the people with the best skills will (and SHOULD) be well compensated for their superior skills. This charity has gone from nothing to one of the bigger charities in America in a very short time. As I’ve read in some reports, a 51% increase in contributions in a single year is phenomenal.
I am a US Army veteran/Soldier and have people I know personally who were helped enormously by charities like Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and many others just like them.
$375k for the head of the charity may not be too much if he/she is extremely skilled in finance and the management of money and the organization involved in distributing the funds to the needy. That knowledge and management talent isn’t easy to come by.
Administrative costs may seem high but in reality those who work for WWP are paid less than the national average across the board.
WWP hire professionals who are committed to serving those veterans who have given so much. WWP has an unusually high job satisfaction rating among their employees. Most of their employees’ are educated (bachelor’s degree) and many have advanced degrees and deserve to be fairly compensated. My research indicates the average salary is 20%-25% below the national average. The Executive Director’s salary is well below that considering the size of the organization, the number of employees, and the revenue generated (0.32%). Our wounded warriors deserve the best and that’s who you find working for WWP. I only wish those bureaucrats at the VA had the same loyalty and passion toward our veterans as employees at WWP have.
One of WWP’s purposes is: “To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members”. Right now they spend about 23 cents for every dollar raised through their fundraising efforts. They have a great marketing strategy that also raises awareness, and show us the injuries we can’t see, specifically Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, making that same 23 cents look like a bargain.
What organizations like WWP and other organizations do for veterans does not come as an easy job as many seem to believe. If you’ve ever dealt with a wounded warrior coming back from the sand box with severe PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury and other physical wounds then you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve been to my fair share of events directed for wounded veterans and have been disgusted in the past. For many years I’ve avoided all these events because of the treatment veterans have gotten. Not only do you as a wounded veteran have to PAY out of pocket for travel but you also have to pay to enter in the event. For a wounded veteran this is the last thing you want to do in order to be a part of an organization. On average an event costs a veteran or civilian $15-$50 to enter. Normally you’ll get a free T-Shirt and other small goodies in a bag which 9/10 were donated to the organization to give away as an incentive for showing up. Many veterans don’t really care about a goodie bag to be honest. The free shirt, yes it’s nice. Meantime you just spent $15-$50 for the event, food costs and travel to the event. Some veterans travel allot to attend all these events in order to have some kind of normalcy in their lives. Trust me I know I’ve seen this first hand. A veteran that attends one event per year will roughly spend $5,000 per year or more in expenses. For many veterans this is ¼ or more of their annual salary. This is outrageous!
In light of things, organizations like WWP help cover these costs in order to attend their events. Although many civilians don’t see this first hand, the veterans do. Organizations like WWP has saved veterans thousands of dollars a year and has changed their lives in many ways. Not only do these organizations have events to attend but also provide the help necessary for injured veterans to cope with their disabilities. Definitely not something I can speak highly of with our Veterans Administration. A real organization that cares would check up on their warriors when they ask for help. The VA will not do that. Very seldom will you have a doctor at the VA or smaller organizations that actually cared enough to check up on the veterans under their care. A phone call to find out how they are doing, why haven’t they attended their appointments or events, how their financials are, and so forth. When a veteran looks for help it is important that we have organizations out there to help us. That’s the mission of organizations like Wounded Warrior Project and many others.
In conclusion, I just want to express how much it really hurts veterans when their organization continues to be bashed or not supported. In their eyes they’ve been helped beyond what words can express. But when someone comes along with a sledge hammer it’s like shattering all hope for those veterans. It’s not about what the organization does financially but how they’ve helped veterans get over that hump or out of a dark place. When I say this I’m speaking about any organization that has been questioned or not supported over public opinion or personal opinions. It’s not the organization that makes the organization, it’s the veterans associated with that organization that make it successful. If the organization did not do for the veteran then the organization would seize to exist.
I know many of you will disagree so please comment away. I’d love to hear your opinion. Both positive and negative stories are honored. Please be real, if you haven’t personally been involved with a non profit and only are going by public opinion to express your opinion then don’t waste your time. We’ve read all about it already.