Monday, March 7, 2016

Understanding the Disconnect Between The Wounded Warrior Project and Its Critics

As criticism of spending by the Wounded Warrior Project continues, so does a fundamental disconnect between what the organization views as direct spending on its mission and what many critics view as spending that helps veterans.  Though the CEO of the organization has thus far been silent, the Wounded Warrior Project has provided a consistent message in the media and social media, noting that audited financial statements confirm significant spending on veterans.  Refuting CBS claims that only 60% was spent on veterans, the organization has consistently noted "80.6 percent of total expenditures went to provide programs and services for wounded service members, their caregivers, and families."

Why the disconnect? The program expense component of the Wounded Warrior Project financials confirm that 80.6% was indeed spent on "program expenses".  However, this category is much broader than the average donor is likely to realize.  The following provides a breakdown of the expenditures that the Wounded Warrior Project classifies as those that "provide programs and services to wounded service members, their caregivers, and families."

Am I saying that the money should have been spent differently if they wanted to provide the maximum help to veterans?  No, it's not necessarily that simple - after all, if advertising is donated, there are few options of what can be done with it.  What I am saying is that what is revealed about Wounded Warrior Project spending practices in their financial statements is much more complicated than they have thus far been willing to admit.


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