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January 28, 2016


Where does $1 to American Homeless Vets go?

by Anne Paddock

This past week, my phone rang and a woman identifying herself as “Laurie” from “American Homeless Vets” was calling to request a donation. The organization is actually the Center for American Homeless Veterans but doing business as American Homeless and Disabled Veterans (AHDV) and also known as the Association for Homeless and Disabled Veterans. Sound confusing?  It is but the mission of the organization is very clear. AHDV is an advocacy organization (a non-profit 501 (c) (4)) that educates the public about homeless veterans and creating awareness of solutions to this problem. They publish, print, and distribute The Veteran’s Vision and they outreach to congress regarding the needs of homeless veterans.

As I was talking to Laurie, I brought up the organization’s website and the most recent Form 990 (2013 for the year ending September 30, 2014) filed with the IRS.  The phone call ended when I realized the solicitor worked for Outreach Calling – a solicitation firm in Reno, Nevada who raised $2,088,746 for AHDV and was compensated $1,424,197 (68% of the amount collected), netting AHDV $664,509, or 32% of the amount collected. In other words, a $1 contribution made over the phone to this organization netted the charity 32 cents. The solicitation company made more money on the contribution than the charity.

The 2013 IRS Form 990 reveals the following information:

AHDV collected $2,126,709 in total revenue, of which $2,088,746 (98% of revenue) was collected by Outreach Calling. The remaining $37,963 (2% of total revenue) came from other contributions.

Expenses totalled $2,127,351, slightly more than what the organization collected. These expenses are reported to be:

  • $1,424,197 or 67% of total revenue: Professional Fundraising Fees (Outreach Calling)
  • $453,115 or 21% of total revenue: Other (primarily consulting:  program services with no detail provided)
  • $200,005 or 10% of revenue: Salaries, Benefits, and payroll taxes
  • $23,046 or 1% of revenue: Legal, Accounting, Interest
  • $22,544 or 1% of revenue: Office, IT, Occupancy, Insurance, Conferences, State Registration, Penalty
  • $2,661: Publications
  • $1,000: Grants to Individuals
  • $783: Advertising and Promotion

In other words, $1 revenue was spent as follows:

 $1.00:  Revenue

-$0.67:  Fees to fundraiser

-$0.21:  Other expenses (primarily consulting)

-$0.10:  Salaries, Benefits, and Payroll Taxes

-$0.01:  Legal, Accounting, Interest

-$0.01:  Office, IT, Occupancy, Insurance, Conferences, State Registration, Penalty


Based on the above information there appears to be two issues:

  1. The fundraising firm is taking 68 cents of every dollar collected (or 67 cents of total revenue) leaving the organization with only 32 cents. For donations to go further, donations should be made directly to the organization: Center for American Homeless Veterans, 210 East Broad Street, Suite 202, Falls Church, VA 22046
  2. Other expenses of $453,115 are described as consulting for program services (but the only firm paid more than $100,000 is Outreach Calling for fundraising). These expenses, which comprise 21 cents of every $1 appear to be part of the media campaign, the lobbying of congress, and the publishing, printing, and distribution of The Veterans Vision, but the specifics are not provided which raises questions.

In summary, the Center for American Homeless Veterans appears to primarily be an organization that focuses on educating the public and congress on homeless veterans and the solutions to alleviate this problem. Unfortunately, the fundraiser – Outreach Calling – retains more funds than are given to the organization.

To read the entire IRS Form 990 (2013), click here.

  1. May 12 2018

    I don’t know anything about the center (it could be a “dba – doing business as… or part of the organization). Be careful…The Better Business Bureau issued this warning last year:

  2. May 12 2018

    I cannot swear in court but I am fairly certain that I declined the AHV phone solicitation a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, AHV’s bill for my $20 pledge arrived in the mail. It claimed to be the “***SECOND NOTICE***.” My contribution was supposed to be sent to American Homeless Veterans, Pledge Processing Center, P.O. Box 7001, Greenwood IN 46142-6421. What do you know about that particular group?

  3. Robert M.
    Mar 31 2018

    I tore my check in thirds and returned the third without routing or account numbers to them and only about 32 % of my signature with a note to remove me from both their call and mailing lists.

  4. Robert K.
    Dec 19 2017

    Thank you. I will find other avenues for helping our veterans.

  5. Dec 5 2017

    If you keep being solicited and don’t want to be, try e-mailing or calling the organization and request that your name be taken off their list. Unfortunately, many of the solicitors are telemarketing firms and they keep their own lists (along with a portion of the donation).

  6. M. Steven Centeno
    Dec 5 2017

    i pledged and donated a few bucks. I am a handicapped, disabled, & retired veteran. I felt like it was semi legit and finally got around to checking them out, via this webpage. However, on the back of my donation, personal check, i wrote that “cashing this check agrees to no longer solicit further donations from this individual” . we’ll see how long this agreement holds. i did the same with a couple political donations ramping up to the election back when. They not only keep on asking, they passed my info on to other askers!!!

  7. Cliff Grady
    Nov 2 2017

    They called me this morning and will not likely call me again as I questioned them about where my donation would actually go and how it would be divided and how much would actually go to helping Vets. Scam organization!

  8. Aug 7 2017

    I agree. 68 cents of every dollar should not be going to the fundraiser!

  9. H garland
    Aug 7 2017

    I almost send my donation. I think that the vets that are homeless is a crime again all Americans. The Association For Homeless and DisBled Veterans should be ashamed to try something like this $..32 to vets. it should be the other way around at the very least. Let them try to get volunteers to cut down cost. A lot of widows could help out in some way. Even the homeless themselves.

  10. Miss Hollis Horton
    Jul 29 2017

    Thank you. Will not be sending money.

  11. Xhris a
    Apr 5 2017

    I also just received a call from AHV stating they were conducting compensated fund raiser. When I asked what that meant, the line was cut off. Don’t fall for this scam.

  12. Paula
    Mar 15 2017

    Thank you for this information.

  13. Mar 3 2017

    Hi Julie: Your comment is to my site so if you want to let them know how you feel, please go to their website: Your opinion counts!

  14. Julia Nix
    Mar 3 2017

    Why are you paying 62% to solicitors. Disgraceful. I gave $10 but I will never give again. I sent the check right away and they are still sending me notices wanting their donation even though they have already cashed the check. Not cool!!

  15. Amy
    Jan 27 2017

    Thank you for this info. I made a pledge and received the envelope to return it this week. I write them a note stating that my donation amount will go to an organization that will actually help and not make a profit in the name of our veterans.

  16. Jan 17 2017

    Allen: You need to separate the issues and look at things as less black and white. American Homeless Veterans is using a marketing company called Outreach to raise money for them. Just because they use a marketing company that takes too high a percentage of the donations does not mean American Homeless Veterans is not going good things. They need to stop using the marketing firm and approach fundraising differently so that more dollars are going to the non-profit and less to the marketing company. So, no I absolutely WILL NOT take a blanket stand and say donate elsewhere. Just because a non-profit is doing one aspect wrong does not make them all bad. Very few things in life are black and white. You can apply this same logic to ALSAC and St. Jude’s. They spend a lot on fundraising, keep billions in savings, and yet they are still doing good things. They could do things better and that is the point with most non-profits.

  17. Allen Hosticka
    Jan 17 2017

    “Based on the above information there appears to be two issues:

    The fundraising firm is taking 68 cents of every dollar collected (or 67 cents of total revenue) leaving the organization with only 32 cents. For donations to go further, donations should be made directly to the organization: Center for American Homeless Veterans, 210 East Broad Street, Suite 202, Falls Church, VA 22046”

    Really this is your conclusion. Come on Anne! with 68% going to fundraising can’t you just say DONATE ELSEWHERE !

    If you are going to post these articles, take a stand where it is warranted.

  18. Jan 16 2017

    A better decision for sure…68 cents of your dollar won’t go to the fundraiser.

  19. Bob
    Jan 16 2017

    I almost donated to this solicitation but after reading the above report, I will instead support my fellow veterans locally.

  20. M Peveto
    Jan 14 2017

    With 68% going to the “call center outsourced” company , I will not be donating. I work too hard for my money.

    Do not contact me for it will not be pleasant for that Caller.

  21. Jeanette
    Jan 11 2017

    thanks so much for this info…. I nearly donated to them thinking they actually helped homeless veterans!

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