White Heart Takes the Guesswork Out of Giving

By nature, human beings are charitable. We will do our best to lend a helping hand when one is needed. But we are also skeptical, especially when that assistance comes in the form of a monetary donation.

A central mission of the White Heart Foundation is to alleviate those concerns. And the easiest way to do that was to just give every dollar raised to the Veterans we support. Even more, White Heart lets donors choose specifically where their money is going and who it is helping. Why give blindly to a military charity when you can give directly to a specific Warrior's campaign?  

In reality, most of us donate to these types of organizations because it makes us feel good to help those who have served our country. We want to give back to those who have given so much for us. White Heart has turned that intrinsic sense of reciprocity into a business model. We allow those who want to help the opportunity to directly impact those who are in need of help.

Whether it’s building homes, medical care, or financial support, most military charities out there operate with the best of intentions, but that is not always reflected in their business practices. Funds raised for Veterans can be aggregated elsewhere, taking a good bit of the bang out of many generous donors’ buck.   

For example, just 72.4 percent of the funds raised by Wounded Warrior Project in 2017 were spent on the programs and services they deliver. And an aggressive 22.2 percent was spent on “Fundraising Expenses,” like advertising and merchandise, according to charitynavigator.org, a website that aggregates tax reporting statistics and rates the overall performance of nonprofit organizations.

Also according to charitynavigator.org, Wounded Warrior Project’s “Fundraising Efficiency,” or the amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions, which is calculated by dividing its fundraising expenses by the total amount of contributions it receives, is just 22 cents.

So what does all that mean when looking at the big picture? Well, it means that nearly a quarter of the $227 million (around $53 million) raised by Wounded Warrior Project in 2017 went back into fundraising efforts, and did not go to the programs and services it offers to Veterans.

I am certainly not saying that Wounded Warrior Project doesn’t put the rest of their money to good use, but think about how many more Veteran’s lives would be improved by another $53 million.  

Operation Homefront, another large, Veteran-focused charity, who brought in $45 million in 2016, puts 91.5 percent of its contributions back into its programs and services, and just 4 percent goes to advertising and fundraising.


But that still doesn’t beat White Heart’s 100 percent programs and services contribution guarantee. At White Heart, we believe having an honorable mission, and continuing to have transparent and ethical business practices, will result in the largest impact possible for our Vets. We know that supporters and contributors will find us if we keep our hearts (and their money) in the right place.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are,” John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, once said.

White Heart knows that by putting our selfless Warriors and generous contributors first, and the organization’s visibility and notoriety second, our reputation will eventually, and undoubtedly, catch up to our character.  

Alec McPike

Alec McPike is a U.S. Coast Guard Veteran, grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and is currently a freelance writer and blogger living in Los Angeles.