At a time of unprecedented need, many philanthropic organizations and generous donors have risen to the occasion, supporting organizations that render critical services. The key question, however, is have they done so in a way that maximizes social impact, helping as many people as possible?
I can say with great confidence that our organization, the Call of Duty Endowment, has driven record-breaking results among veterans in dire need of quality employment simply because we held true to our studied approach to giving. The Seal of Distinction Model, which we implemented in partnership with Deloitte back in 2013, has proven itself to be more effective than ever. During the pandemic, we increased our giving by nearly 30%, however, we did not relent in our accountability. While many other givers eased their requirements of grantees, we changed nothing. The result was the largest number of veteran placements we have ever funded at this point in the year, despite it being the most difficult job market in almost 100 years.
We could do this because we had confidence in our vetting model, supported by both Charity Navigator’s data and Deloitte’s partnership. It is our strong belief that, contrary to what many in the funding community are saying, now is exactly the wrong time to step away from nonprofit accountability. Many will say that donors should reduce the reporting burden placed on non-profits by donors. We say that if the reporting was overly burdensome in the first place, it may have been poorly constructed. We are of the opinion that grantors should continue to have respect for their grantees’ time and effort and never ask for more information or time than they absolutely need to make well-informed decisions.
Every quarter for the last seven years we’ve asked our grantees to report the following measures (and, upon request, funded the automation of their reporting capabilities): grant amount spent, number of veterans placed, starting salary, 6- and 12-month retention rates, percent full-time employment, and basic demographics. We do not work with nonprofits that cannot provide this information and if we stop using any of this information, we will stop requesting it from our partners.
Our grantees are rarely surprised by our requests and know exactly how much time and effort to allocate to fulfill them. Furthermore, we report back to our grantees the aggregated data so they can benchmark themselves against their peer organizations to improve their veteran job placement efficiency and effectiveness. Collectively, our grantees place veterans into jobs at ⅙ the cost per placement of the federal government’s efforts and exceed the government’s employment quality levels as well. Our partners have improved their performance every single year since 2013. This is no accident, but the result of focused measurement and accountability to impact. And it is why we can truly say our grantees are best in class.
There is no better way to help the vast majority of veterans than providing them with high-quality employment and there are no better organizations that deliver that result than our partners. If on this Veterans Day you’d like to support an organization that you know will drive best-in-class impact, I highly encourage you to consider our grantees, which can be found here. In addition, we would encourage you to consider the other highly-rated nonprofits found on Charity Navigator’s Give Now list here.
Written by CAPT Dan Goldenberg, USN(Ret.) is the Call of Duty Endowment’s Executive Director and a Vice President at Activision Blizzard. The Endowment has funded the placement of more than 77,000 veterans into high-quality employment.