You'll find many organizations dedicated to supporting and helping veterans, and one such organization is the Disabled Veterans National Foundation. We should revere veterans in America; these people fought for our freedoms and our rights. Unfortunately, however, these people – the very people who fought for our country – often face serious challenges and need help and assistance in various ways.

If you think that you might like to volunteer to work with this organization or donate money, you will want to take some time to do your research and to see if it’s a good fit for your time and efforts.

The Basics of the Organization


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First things first, you probably want to know more about this organization, how it works, and what its goals are. The program’s main focus is to provide necessary support to disabled or otherwise deemed at-risk veterans. This includes veterans who have physical injuries or handicaps relating to their service. Or, they might have mental difficulties following their service. The Disabled Veterans National Foundation focuses mainly on homeless veterans, since homelessness is such a prevalent issue among this population.

The organization offers both grants and outreach to help support veterans. It also funds its own projects, such as the PTSD service dog initiative, has pioneered new therapy methods, and even sends out “Comfort Kits” to those in need.

The Program Expenses of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation

Charity Navigator is a great resource that looks into charities, their spending, and other factors in order to provide an honest assessment of different organizations and the good that they do. When this organization looked into the program expenses associated with the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, it found that the charity spent around 23.8 percent on relevant programs and services.

This number is a little on the low side, which may make some people wary of working with the organization. In truth, though, only you can ultimately decide if it’s the right fit for you. Remember, too, that you do not necessarily have to give money to the organization. You can find others ways in which you can help, and many people find that they feel better about serving organizations in other ways. Fortunately, this foundation does offer other ways to serve and get involved. If you are interested in learning about other potential ways to serve, contact the organization to learn more.

Financial data for the Disabled Veterans National Foundation

Tax-exempt organizations, nonexempt charitable trusts, and section 527 political organizations are required to file a Form 990 or 990EZ with the IRS.

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation’s most recent IRS Form 990 or 990EZ available is for 2016. We extracted the following financial information from the group's most recent publicly available tax return, filed at the end of their fiscal year in December 2016. This financial statement can give you a clearer picture of how they're using the resources donated to them.

Percentage of donations spent on services

  • Total donations and grants: $28,131,735
  • Spent on services and grants: $7,523,867
  • Percentage of donations toward grants and services: 26.74 percent

​Percentage of revenue spent on fundraising

  • Total revenue: $28,207,564
  • Fundraising expenses: $19,776,427
  • Paid to professional fundraisers: $0.00
  • Percentage of total revenue spent on fundraising:  70.11 percent

​​Administrative and overhead costs

  • Overhead expenses: $2,000,823
  • Property assets: $12,128
  • Investment assets: $1,013,342
  • Paid to officers/directors: $248,616 ()
  • Highest paid officer/director: CEO $144,616
  • Percentage of total revenue spent on officers/directors salaries:  0.88 Percent

A Few Tips for Donating to this Organization

If you do ultimately decide that you want to give to this organization in some way, keep the following tips in mind. For starters, when giving a monetary donation, make sure you give your donation in the form of a check, not cash. You'll find that checks are more easily tracked and accounted for. 

Also, ask for specific information about how they will use your donation to benefit others. Not only is it nice to know exactly where your money is going and how it is impacting others, but you can sometimes choose specific programs and ways of service that you feel run closest to your heart. This can help to make your impact matter more, both to you and the organization. In addition to this, be careful with your credit card, banking, and other personal information. Even the best charity could accidentally leak sensitive information or have an internal breach. Plus, some people will pose as charity telemarketers to get this information and use it for negative purposes. So, be careful and smart when it comes to protecting your privacy.

Remember that Transparency Matters

Something else that you want to keep in mind is that you want an organization that is transparent about how it operates and how it spends its money. Fortunately, for the most part, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation tends to excel in this area. Some of the qualities that the Disabled Veterans National Foundation can boast about includes:

  • Board members who vote independently, thereby increasing accountability
  • A strong conflict of interest policy
  • No material diversion of assets
  • Providing 990 forms to the governing body for appraisal
  • Independent financial auditing
  • Documented board meetings and minutes provided
  • No providing of loans or receiving of loans

In all of these ways, this organization checks out. Thus, while it may not be perfect in every area, it is still deemed a generally trustworthy organization. 

Again, though, only you can decide if it’s the right fit for you and your efforts. By doing your research on this or any other organization you think about aiding, you can give yourself great peace of mind.

Other Great Organizations that Need Your Assistance

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If, after looking into this organization, you decide that it’s not the right fit for you, don’t worry. You can find plenty of other ways that you can help the veterans in our country. In fact, you'll see there are actually a number of wonderful organizations devoted wholeheartedly to this cause.

The Bob Woodruff Family Foundation is one great option that you can consider. This organization, while somewhat small scale compared to the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, is very well-reviewed and trustworthy. It focuses on providing assistance to veterans injured in combat.

Plus, not only does it serve these individuals in powerful ways, but it works to serve their families and loved ones as well. These people are often forgotten when it comes to efforts for veterans, so it’s very nice that this organization remembers and makes an effort to help them as well. This organization takes donations toward any of its programs, as well as donations of time and goods. Contact them to learn more.

A few other examples of worthwhile veteran’s charities include:

  • The Fisher House Foundation
  • The Wounded Warriors Family Support Program
  • The Gary Sinise Foundation
  • The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

Whether you choose to donate to one of these organizations or any other, remember to always do your research. While there are plenty of excellent, highly reputable organizations out there, there are also, unfortunately, some you can't trust, especially if they appear to operate for profit.

By thoughtfully considering which ones you donate to and following the other tips given so far, you can ensure that you are actually doing good with your donation and not just funding a scam or an untrustworthy organization. Donating only to legitimate charities also increases the likelihood that you can deduct your donation on your taxes.

Other Ways that You Can Help Veterans

One final thing to keep in mind is that helping veterans is not restricted to partnering with an organization devoted to helping them. There is also much that you can do on your own.

Whatever you can give is highly appreciated

For starters, consider whether you know any veterans. Are any of them at risk in some way? If so, consider working as an ally for that person. This might mean providing goods or food if needed, offering support, referring the person to counseling, or just lending a supportive ear. Anything you do will surely be appreciated.

Supporting homeless veterans

Also, keep in mind that, since many veterans are homeless, you can often have an impact by choosing to work with organizations that support and help these people. When you volunteer at a soup kitchen, give donations to a food bank, or even do something fun like knit scarves for the homeless to enjoy, you can rest assured that you are more than likely helping a veteran.

Your church and any other groups that you are involved in may have knowledge of or connections to veterans in need in your area. By approaching these organizations directly and asking about needs, you can often make an impact on a more personal level, which proves very rewarding for everyone involved.

Mental health is critical: offer help when you can

Mental health is also a hot topic issue around veterans. So, if you get involved in a cause that supports mental health efforts, offers free counseling services, or raises awareness about mental issues or disorders, you can end up helping a veteran in a new and unexpected way. Those in the legal or counseling field also have a unique opportunity to offer free or reduced priced services to veterans who can verify their service.

And, remember, no matter who you are, you can always pick up a dinner tab for a vet, offer a discount at your place of business, or just give a smile. Whatever you do, if you do it with love, it is sure to have a positive impact.

​Remember, You Are Giving to Those Who Gave for You

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One final thing to keep in mind, especially if you encounter some more “difficult” veterans in your quest to help them, is that you are serving those who have served you. Even if they didn’t do so directly, veterans are responsible for the freedom we all enjoy. If you keep that in mind when you serve, your service is likely to be a lot easier and mean a lot more.

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