Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) was down $70 million dollars in donations during the second part of 2016, according to newly released financial records from the charity. The drop reflects just how the charity was affected when two of its top officials were fired last year for misappropriating funds and overspending.
According to Military.com, Chief Executive Officer Mike Linnington says the sharp decline in donor confidence has “leveled out.” Many people were hesitant to donate after the scandal of misappropriation led them to believe their donations were no longer going to support wounded veterans, but were instead being used to fund lavish business meetings with top executives.
When Linnington took over, he became the captain of a sinking ship, so to speak. The charity was losing money rapidly, and donors no longer felt comfortable keeping up monthly donations. Funds from other places began to drop as well and it looked quite uncertain whether or not they would be making a comeback. Linnington did what he could to trim the fat from the company, firing 85 employees and cutting down on event spending.
He said the idea was to, “cut deep, cut once, then restore whatever confidence was lost, to quickly build programs. It was a tough time.”
“I get a little emotional just thinking about it,” Linnington continued. “Folks were very uncertain. We know that at the end of the day if you want to have the impact we want to have, you have to spend money to raise money.”
“If we didn’t spend money on direct mailing and direct solicitation, we would be a $50 million organization,” he added. “To be the one that has the biggest impact and support others, we have to continue our investment in fundraising. BBB, Charity Navigator and GuideStar all agree.”
Charitable revenue fell $70 million during the second half of the 2016 fiscal year from the $398.9 million in 2015.