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Giving Responsibly

Money

I recently had an experience in our unit that made me stop and think. Military families are givers – we support each other more than any other civilian group ever would. I’m not aware of any official study but I could lay money down on the fact that the majority of the support of our military comes from those who have served or love someone who is/has.

Fortunately, there are many ways to give back to our military community. So many that it’s hard to choose and you really do have to do your homework. I don’t know about you but one of my biggest worries when it comes to giving is “will my money be put to good use?” I don’t care to pay some high level executive’s salary. I really want my money to go to help those that are in need. At least that is the intent behind the donation. How do you really know if what you are giving is doing the greatest good?

Here are some tips from Charity Navigator on giving:

  1. It is important to seek out fiscally responsible charities as they are more efficient with donations and have greater flexibility to pursue their goals.
  2. Look beyond inspirational anecdotes and seek out evidence of the overall results of a charity’s work.
  3. Ensure that the charity’s work is aligned with your philanthropic interests.
  4. If you really want to help fund a charity’s operations, then stay home, reheat your leftovers and write a big check directly to the charity

Do you have a favorite military charity? Share it with us in the comments below.

A few great places to start your research:
American Red Cross
Armed Services YMCA
Fisher House Foundation
National Military Family Association
Operation Homefront
The USO

For a complete list of military charities visit:
Charity Navigator Military Charities Listing
Military.com Military Charity Associations

Some great gift ideas that in turn support the military community:
The Gift of the Exchange – AAFES.com
The Gift of Groceries – Commissaries.com
Computers for Soldiers
LifeCaptured – Heart Apart Books
Operation HugAHero
Charity Giftcard – let them pick their own charity
Soldier’s Angels store

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Contributor

Tara Crooks writes columns for several military publications, and is the host of Army Wife Talk Radio and cofounder of the popular website www.ArmyWifeNetwork.com. Army Wife Network is interactive empowerment for Army wives. Featuring Army Wife Talk Radio the original internet talk radio program for military wives, "Field Problems" a self-syndicated question and answer column for military families, "Field Exercises" live interactive events for military spouses, Loving A Soldier blog, featured columns, and a robust Facebook community. To find out more about Tara visit her blog, www.TaraCrooks.com and listen to Tara's T.A.L.E. her exclusive podcasts on Military.com.

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