Separating the Wheat from the Chaff in Disability Charitable Giving

Published July 30, 2020

Donating to charities not only benefits the donor through a write off, but also benefits the recipients in innumerable ways. There are many different organizations dedicated to bettering the lives of people with disabilities. Some people may donate to charities in which they or a loved one have a personal interest. Others donate simply to meet a philanthropic goal. Regardless of the motivation, it is important to identify charities that will serve others in an efficient and ethical way.

When considering what charities to donate to, it is important to make sure that the charity is reputable, and that the money will be used appropriately. In recent years, several well-known charities have been exposed for spending disproportionate amounts of money on administrative costs rather than using donated funds for the programs that should be supported. Fortunately, there are several resources that can help to verify the quality of individual charities.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is best known for vetting businesses and protecting consumers from scammers and shoddy companies. The BBB also has a service called the Wise Giving Alliance that vets charities to ensure that donors can be confident when contributing their hard-earned money. On their website, potential donors can search for specific charities or browse the extensive list of charities identified by the BBB. The BBB examines many aspects of the charities and gives accreditation to those that meet their standards. Organizations like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator also offer similar services to research charities.

It would be impossible to list all the charities that benefit people with disabilities, but some stand out above the others. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is likely the most recognizable organization serving those living with spinal cord injuries. The Reeve Foundation uses its resources to help fund research for treatments of spinal cord injuries, provide support services for individuals with spinal cord injuries, their families, and their caregivers, and to fight for legislation that affects not only those with spinal cord injuries but the millions of others living with disabilities. Since its inception, the Reeve Foundation has been a great example of how to properly help those who need it.

Another highly regarded charity for people with disabilities is Disabled American Veterans. Disabled American Veterans (DAV) serves those who have been wounded or injured while serving in the military. DAV offers numerous services including helping veterans obtain benefits, providing transportation to and from medical appointments, psychological and physical support, and obtaining mobility aids for those who need them. DAV helps over 1 million veterans and their families each year.

While large national charities often get most of the attention, it is important to not overlook local charities that serve many of the same purposes. Local charities have the advantage of working more closely with their beneficiaries and may be able to meet their needs faster and with greater effectiveness. People in different parts of the country will have different needs that are influenced by various factors such as laws, climate, and infrastructure. A local charity’s familiarity with these factors prepares them to deal with situations that a larger charity might not understand on a personal level.

Charitable giving is a crucial aspect of providing support for those with disabilities. Many times, the government, insurance companies, and healthcare providers come up short when it comes assisting people when they need help the most. Charities are often left to fill this gap. Finding a reputable charity to donate to isn’t always easy, but the donations go a long way in improving the lives of others.