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blindsteve

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BLINDED VETERANS ASSOCIATION
August 20, 2013

The organization, which is one of a kind in its support of blinded veterans, has many positive aspects. Firstly, the FSP Program and the Legislative Affairs Department and their advocacy for the rights of blinded veterans are outstanding. Where the organization lacks is in the areas of funding and leadership. It is unfortunate that many of the members do not "step up to the plate" and get involved, and this includes many within the ranks of the elected Board members. It is a “Good Ole Boy network and is highly nepotistic, to put it mildly. The Board members, by the By-Laws of the organization, have to come from the ranks of the membership. Although this may be a great idea since the Officers of the organization have a firm commitment to the goals and mission of the organization, this severely limits those who can serve in leadership positions. This has resulted in a limitation of those with sound business or non-profit experience serving in key decision making positions within the organization. Additionally, the key funding source for the organization remains Direct Mail solicitations. This is a financial resource drain and the Return on Investment (ROI) for this type of funding source is less than optimal. On another note, the membership will soon be facing a major crisis, since the majority of members are from the WWII era, and the lack of recruitment of “younger” members to keep the organization a relevant voice for blinded veterans will be in jeopardy when the membership “dies out”. Lastly, when you look at the IRS I-990 reporting form, the majority of funds do not go to direct veteran services. It can be argued that the reporting is skewed and that some of the funds are not counted correctly in the direct service area, but it is still the fact that this needs to change in order to be considered or ranked higher as an organization that people want to donate to in order to provide services to blinded veterans. It is quite difficult to give to an organization with a 0 or 1 star rating when it comes to non-profits. Although the BVA is a BBB accredited organization their non-profit ranking by all of those organizations who rate non-profits, such as Great Non-profits and Charity Navigator, have the BVA ranked in the 0 or 1 star rating category. So when you look for an organization to donate to, Caveat Emptor should be the final word on where your money should go.


Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Change the structure of the Board of Directors and the Officers of the organization

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

MY ROLE:
Client Served

Hadley School for the Blind
August 19, 2013

My education and training through the Hadley School for the Blind was life-changing for me. As a former member of the military who lost my sight following traumatic injury, the courses Hadley offered allowed me to begin and continue my rehabilitation while at home while I was healing. The courses were able to help me get on-track to realize that sight loss is more of an inconvenience than a disability. Following my military career, and with what I have learned through numerous Hadley courses, I have gone onto a successful career and future. Thank you Hadley!!!

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

MY ROLE:
Client Served