When it comes to donating to veterans charities, we know it is important to do your homework. You want to know who you are donating to, understand the mission and vision of that organization and—most importantly—you want to know your money is going to the cause that you support. The last thing you want is to donate funds to a charity that you later find out is a scam.

DAV was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932. For nearly a century, DAV has been among the best veterans charities serving our heroes, their families and survivors.

What percentage of DAV donations actually helps veterans?

Many people believe that a veterans charity’s mission should be performed entirely by volunteers in order to maximize the value of donated dollars. While DAV has nearly 2,500 individuals nationwide who volunteer their free time to assist veterans filing for benefits and operates the most prolific volunteer network that assists those who’ve served, the demand for its specialty work far outpaces the supply of unpaid volunteers. It requires a full-time dedicated staff.

DAV’s roughly 250 benefits specialists are paid employees, but the services they provide every day are always offered to all veterans at no charge and with no obligation. In 2016, our benefits specialists represented nearly 300,000 claims and secured more than $4 billion dollars in benefits for veterans. Without these paid staff members, who act as attorneys in fact, DAV could not provide the quality or volume of services it offers.

Some charity rating organizations list the salaries of these veterans as an administrative expense, when in fact they result in a direct benefit. When you move those salaries into the benefits category, 79% of our donations and funding directly benefits veterans and families.

How do I know if I am really donating to DAV?

There have been several instances in the past where other organizations have—both intentionally and unintentionally—used DAV’s name or a very close likeness to raise funds. DAV has been serving veterans and their families for nearly a century and we closely safeguard our reputation to ensure donors feel good about how their contributions are being used.

If you have any questions about the legitimacy of a DAV fundraising request—whether it’s by mail, telephone, email or website—or if you suspect you may be targeted by a scam using DAV’s name, please contact our National Headquarters at 877-426-2838 to verify it’s from DAV.

The truth about DAV

DAV is an accredited charity by all the standards of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and is completely transparent with financials and tax returns. Our annual report shows the scope of our accomplishments on behalf of veterans.