Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on The Conversation.

Many Americans donate to charities that help military veterans as a way to honor them for their service to the country. It can, however, be daunting to choose from the more than 8,000 such groups operating nationwide.

Donor trepidation is magnified by the scandals that have embroiled vets' groups. In fact, more than 10 percent of the charities tagged as “America's Worst Charities" by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting in 2013 focus on veterans.

As a professor who researches nonprofit organizations and teaches about their finances, I have observed that while some veterans' charities do squander donors' dollars, others make the most of donations in meeting their mission. Fortunately, a little research goes a long way toward spotting the difference between a good cause and a lost cause.

The following four tips will help you vet these charities.

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