Legacy HomepageResourcesCommunity ResourcesFAQs

FAQs - Community Support for the Military

How do I send letters, cards, or emails to troops overseas?

There are many ways to send a note to the troops! While the Office of Community and Public Outreach cannot disclose name or address of Service members due to privacy and security concerns, many care package organizations also collect letters and cards to include with their shipments. Note, the appearance of hyperlinks or logos does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of linked sites or the information, products, or services contained therein. If you are interested in sending greetings to our Service members online, you can easily do so through a wide variety of social media sites. Visit the DoD and Military Service Social Media Site, where thousands of our Service members and our military families go for news and information.

How do I donate an item or care package to the troops?

For a list non-profit organizations that have indicated they send care packages, visit Care Packages. While this list is a representative sample of support across the country, it may assist you with your research. Note, the appearance of hyperlinks or logos on the site does not imply or constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of any linked sites or the information, products, or services contained therein.

I am a business owner who would like to support our Service men and women. How do I do that?

Most businesses are encouraged to find and partner with a non-profit organization that shares its same vision of support for our Service members and our military families. You may visit Community Resources which lists organizations by the category of services they provide. Please note that the appearance of hyperlinks or logos does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of linked sites or the information, products, or services contained therein.

Can I donate funds or items directly to the Department of Defense to help support troops and their families?

No. However, by visiting Community Resources you can find a representative sample of organizations by category based on the type of support they provide for members of our Armed Forces and their families. You may wish to contact one of these organizations to offer assistance. The appearance of hyperlinks or logos does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of linked sites or the information, products, or services contained therein.

If I am a caregiver, Service or family member, who should I contact if I need assistance?

As a member of the military family community, you are entitled to a number of military and government resources. Consult your chain of command, family assistance program, and Service aid societies prior to contacting non-federal entities for your emergent needs. If you are unsure who to contact for help, you can begin by calling Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647. Military OneSource has counselors available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week to answer your questions and guide you to appropriate resources.

Can DoD personnel use the Community Resource website to recommend any listed organizations, programs, or such that support Service members and their families?

Organizations listed on the Community Resource page are a representative sample of support across the country. The Department of Defense does not endorse any of those organizations, the information, products, or services contained therein. Service members and their families are strongly encouraged to consult with their chain of command, family assistance program, military aid societies, and similar organizations or programs prior to contacting non-federal entities for support. If you are a Service member, family member or caregiver in need of assistance and are not sure where to go for help, you can call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647. Military OneSource has counselors available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week to answer your questions and guide you to appropriate resources.

How do I request military support for an event in my community?

If you would like to request military support for your event, you must complete a DO Form 2535 (for aerial support) or a DO Form 2536 (for non-aviation support) and submit to the appropriate branch of Service. Visit http://www.defense.gov/Resources/Request-Military-Assets

I wrote a song for the troops. How can I share it with them or have it played for Service members overseas on the Armed Forces Network (AFN)?

We appreciate your efforts to pay tribute to our Service members and their families with patriotic songs and videos. As a U.S. government Web site, we cannot post these kinds of items because we are prohibited from endorsing or promoting particular artists or commercial endeavors. AFN broadcasts programs via satellite from national radio networks. They do not produce original programs and thus have no place to use donated recordings. We certainly don't want to discourage you from sharing your efforts. Fortunately, with so many social media platforms available, it is relatively easy for you to post your music or video on the Internet. You might also contact some of the organizations that specialize in making entertainment and music available for the troops, listed at Entertainment and Recreation.

Text for Criteria and Listing of Non-Federal Entity Community Resources under the Community Support For the Military bullet

Criteria for Listed Organizations

  • I. OBJECTIVE AND MISSION OF DoD COMMUNITY AND PUBLIC OUTREACH
    • To connect communities to their military to preserve the all-volunteer force, supporting our military throughout all phases of service and building public awareness/support of the military and its mission.
    • To foster public awareness and understanding of Department of Defense missions, personnel, facilities, equipment and programs through community outreach opportunities and activities.
    • To educate external stakeholders on the state of our military and our military families.
  • Il. POLICY
    • No product endorsements or preferential treatment is given to any organization, agency or program that is listed on the Community Resource Web site.
    • No payment of any kind is accepted in exchange for inclusion on the Community Resource Web site.
    • DoD Community and Public Outreach has standardized criteria for organizations. agencies and programs to be listed as Community Resources These criteria reinforce the intent to connect communities to their military.
    • Criteria for organizations to be listed as Community Resource include:
      • Tax exempt status as recognized by the IRS;
      • Non-partisanship;
      • Favorable vetting by at least two charity evaluators such as the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Guidestar, or a similar independent charity evaluator. or be part of the Combined Federal Campaign and also have been vetted by at least one other independent evaluator;
      • No representations as being part of or endorsed by the DoD;
      • No improper use or abuse of personally identifiable information;
      • No publicity inconsistent with the mission of DoD or the DoD Office of Community and Public Outreach;
      • Does not exhibit hate, bias, or discrimination on the basis of age, gender, race, or disability, and
      • Are not on the State Department's list of Foreign Terror Organizations
    • The DoD Office of Community and Public Outreach reserves the right to deny or remove an organization from Community Resource for any reason, including when organizations:
      • Provide misleading information or unsubstantiated claims;
      • Conflict with the DoD Office of Community and Public Outreach mission and objectives, or violate any of its policies; or
      • Do not conform to the criteria used to list organizations on the Community Resource page, including the above criteria.

While DoD does not endorse any specific charity evaluator, the following organizations provide a variety of different reviews and promote transparency for you, our visitors, as you seek to learn more about community-based support for our service members and their families. To learn more about a non-profit organization, visit the Web site of the charity evaluation organizations noted in parenthesis next to the group, and use the search function by typing in the group's name. Please note that although the CFC is not a charity evaluator, and does not have an organization search function on its site, it does vet charities against regulatory standards. Check your local CFC charity brochure for a list of participating organizations.

A Few Independent Evaluators

Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is managed by the Office of Personnel Management. With established regulations. this organization provides a means for non-profit organizations that meet the criteria to be included in the CFC list that Federal civilian, postal and military donors use to support eligible non-profit organizations providing health and human service benefits throughout the world. CFC charities are reviewed annually for evidence that they are providing services on a local, state, national or international level. They also review for public and financial accountability. CFC charitable organizations are required to disclose to Federal donors the percentage of funds spent on administrative and fundraising expenses.

The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (BBB) has a century of experience in reporting on charities. Its charge is to help people make informed decisions about charities and to advance high standards of conduct among organizations that solicit contributions from the public. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance provides information on national charities based on comprehensive Standards for Charity Accountability that address charity governance, finances, fundraising, donor privacy, and other issues. The Alliance produces reports that specify whether or not a charity meets its 20 BBB charity standards.  The Alliance does not rank charities.

Charity Navigator (CN) is a nonprofit organization that has evaluated the financial health of over 5,400 of America's largest charities. Specifically, Charity Navigator's rating system examines (1) how responsibly a group functions day to day (2) how well positioned it is to sustain its programs over time. Each charity is awarded an overall rating, ranging from zero to four stars. The Web site also offers free tools and features to help people make informed choices about the charity (ies) they choose.

GUIDESTAR (GS) gathers and publicizes information about nonprofit organizations across the globe. The GuideStar Web site provides information on programs and finances of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits.

Key: Combined Federal Campaign (CFC); Better Business Bureau (BBB); Charity Navigator (CN); GuideStar (GS)