March 22, 2018; Consumer Reports
Last week, four people were indicted for raising money—allegedly for veterans—through two imaginary organizations called the Wounded Warrior Fund and the Wounded Warrior Foundation. Setting aside our despair about the continuing use of veterans in these kinds of abhorrent scams, what interests us about this case is the names that were chosen. Although the term “wounded warrior” is common, in this case, its use here was part of the alleged effort to dupe donors, fooling them into thinking they were giving to the better-known Wounded Warrior Project.
The twist to this, of course, is that Wounded Warrior Project has donor problems of its own following a 2016 scandal. It’s also got a reputation for being vigilant—some would say aggressive—when responding to infringements on what they consider to be their “brand,” as we reported here. The Daily Beast said back in 2015 that the group had sued or threatened to sue at least seven much smaller vets groups for including the term “wounded warrior” in their names.
In any case, between the problems the big charity is recovering from and these kinds of scams, any fundraising done using the phrase may require careful disclosures and distinctions.—Ruth McCambridge