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Helping veterans and their families

As the year draws to a close, there are no shortage of charities and other philanthropic organizations seeking financial support. Yet before the holiday distractions take hold, donors use this time of the year to remember the sacrifices made by the men and women serving in the U.S. military, and to support causes that help them when they return home.

One of the most important aspects to investigate before giving to a veterans' charity—or any charitable organization—is how much of the money donated actually goes to the cause being supported, and how much is earmarked for administrative expenses. Several services—such as Charity Navigator, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Watch—provide information about a charity's functions, finances, and management. These three services happen to be free, although others charge both the site user and the charity to be rated.

Sandra Miniutti, vice president of marketing for Charity Navigator, says at least 75 percent of donations should go toward programs. "If a charity's financials show that just pennies on the dollar are going towards the programs they support, that's a red flag and you should probably direct your donations somewhere else," she says.

Below are some of the highest rated charities helping veterans groups and their families, according the Charity Navigator. Their ratings are based on financial health, accountability, and the transparency of reporting.

—By Susan Caminiti
Posted on 15 Nov. 2014

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