Monday, October 18, 2010

What's In A Name?

Recently, one of our donors pointed out that two of our Top 10 lists had charities listed with similar names. One charity, Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust, appears on the list of 10 Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions. The other, Disabled Veterans Associations, has the unfortunate distinction of landing on the list of 10 Charities Overpaying their For-Profit Fundraisers. She was worried that potential donors would confuse the two and ultimately think less of the 4-star Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust because of the 0-star Disabled Veterans Association’s similar sounding name.
She should be worried and so should you! With 1 million charities in existence, there are, of course, going to be many that have similar names. This is why we ask those who submit charities for us to review to provide the charity’s unique EIN#. With so many similar names, if we were to just go by the charity’s name, then we couldn’t be certain that we’re taking a look at the charity the donor requested.

Even more troubling is that some people, with less than noble intentions, purposely establish new charities with similar names to well-known charities. Sadly, this is often a successful strategy for attracting donations. And that is why we warn donors to be careful of charities with sound-alike names.

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