It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than to earn it in the first place. – Andrew Carnegie
The next time you want to send a text message from your smartphone donating $2 to disaster relief, think again. Unfortunately, not all of that money will go to helping the victims. In 2011, Americans donated $200 billion to about 1 million charity organizations. When picking a charity to send your donation to, you have to do your homework. Here is a quick guide to some secrets that charities might not always be willing to share.
1. Is it a registered charity?
Some charities operate without any paid employees, and so they do not have to be registered as a charity. The limit they declare is usually below $50,000 annually. But all the other charities who claim to be registered should be checked out by consulting the list at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This is important because of the tax deductions available. It will also ensure that you will not give to those charities who are flying under the government’s radar. In the UK, the Charity Commission is the government’s regulator on charities.Advertising
2. How much is spent on overhead
Each charity will have enormous overhead costs regarding staffing, running costs, and fundraising. Inevitably, a part of your donation will go towards these costs. A good rule of thumb is that 60-75% of donations should go to the actual cause and 25-40% towards administrative expenses. But some charities cut back on expenses, which leads to more waste. Check to see if this information is available on the charity’s website before making a donation.
3. Beware of phone calls
Some charities use companies who are for-profit fundraisers and they use telemarketing extensively. Because of the costs involved, it is unlikely that the charity will receive more than 10% of the amount you pledge.
4. Some charities pay enormous salaries to their CEOs
Major charities have to be run as businesses. But disturbing news often comes to light about how much they are spending on salaries and bonuses. Sometimes, funds raised actually go to the charity’s pension funds, rather than to the poor, sick and needy. This information is rarely revealed. Charities defend paying high salaries to executives because they are in demanding roles, and clever fundraising policies have to be thought out and implemented. The site Charity Navigator believes that salaries around the $1 million mark are unacceptable.Advertising
5. Think carefully about donating to short mission trips
These short mission trips to help build houses, schools and orphanages in third world countries seem to do more good for the volunteers, than the poor people. Think about these facts, before donating:
- Many trips cost as much as $30,000 to sponsor.
- Such large sums could actually be used locally to give employment to builders and workers in the country who desperately need money to buy food. Unemployment in these countries can be as high as 30%.
- Volunteers can send the wrong messages in that they know better, can do the work faster and they do not train the people there to deal with their problems in the long term.
Organizers of short term mission trips should focus more on the permanent impact, and how locals can be more actively involved after the volunteers have left. Ask if they are approaching the mission in this way before deciding whether to donate or not.
6. The good, the bad and the ugly about celebrity charities
When you think about Bob Geldof and Bono, who have supported enormously successful charities to fight world hunger and poverty, you can have nothing about admiration for them.Advertising
But some of these celebrity charities have made zero impact when auditors revealed that considerable funds were missing or unaccounted for. This was the case with Madonna. She was going to build a girls’ school in Malawi. Auditors revealed that almost $4 million went missing from the charity’s funds. Madonna is now contributing $11 million she has raised into Malawi-based organizations to help them build the schools that are needed.
Wyclef Jean, the hip hop icon, founded the Yéle Haiti Foundation after the disastrous earthquake in Haiti, which killed up to 300,000 people in 2010. He is now facing lawsuits about tax fraud and whether he gained financially from the charity he set up.
7. Beware of fundraisers in the mall
How many times have you been approached in the mall or on the street by a fast-talking and convincing fundraiser for a very worthy charity? This is a bit more sophisticated than the telephone calls you might receive at home. Here is what to look out for:Advertising
- They do not want a one-off donation.
- They want a monthly commitment which could work out to be $500 annually.
- They offer to fill out a form and all you have to do is sign.
- They are trained in using persuasion techniques by the companies who are raking it in.
- As some of the fundraisers (or “chuggers” as they are called in the UK) earn $13 an hour, you can imagine how much money actually gets into the charity’s coffers.
The whole concept of giving to charity should be based on a desire to help and not from being pressured in any way by a fast-talking fundraiser!
8. Do some detective work
Before deciding on donating to any charity, check out the following information. All of this should be easily available on the charity’s website. Failing that, there should be information leaflets available. This is what you should check:
- The annual report
- Names of directors and patrons
- Audited financial reports
- Specific projects and how the funds are used
- Statistics on completed projects
Charities are doing magnificent work. You just need to do some homework to make sure that they are managing their funds in the best possible way and that they are not using doubtful tactics. If you are unhappy about this, you can always volunteer to help local charities in your area.
Featured photo credit: Faces helped by charity: Water/Sacca via flickr.com
Last Updated on November 20, 2020
Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits
Benjamin Franklin said it like this: “Early to bed, early to rise, will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” He knew from his own experiences and watching others that the ones who got up early were healthier and more successful. That’s why a morning workout can be so important.
One 2017 study found that:
“after controlling for such factors as age, sex, smoking habits, and others…night owls, were found to have a 10 percent greater risk of dying from any cause compared to morning types.”
This is a great reason to tap into some morning motivation and get your morning workout done.
As you can see in the above graph, your blood pressure begins to rise between 6 and 7 in the morning. That means this is a great time to get your body moving and your heart pumping, even if it’s just for 20 minutes of exercise in the morning.
Here are some tips on how to find the motivation for a morning workout.
1. Remember Your Why
It starts with remembering why you want to get up for a morning workout. If you don’t set a goal and establish your reasons for accomplishing a health and fitness goal, then you definitely won’t get up early.
Getting up early isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would do it, right? Your goal for your health and fitness must be so strong, and the WHY behind it must be so powerful, that nothing will stop you from accomplishing that goal.
2. Go to Bed Early
If you want to get up early for a morning workout, it’s going to be important to get to bed earlier. Falling asleep at midnight and trying to get up at six just won’t work in your favor.
This will likely be very difficult for a few days while you adjust your sleeping habits. However, as you get into an exercise routine in the morning, this will naturally make it easier to fall asleep earlier and faster at night.
3. Make a Commitment
I sometimes tell my Facebook community of my plans to work out, and we all keep each other motivated by posting our runs, our workouts, etc. This is a way to develop accountability. By publicly announcing your intentions, you increase your chances of actually carrying out your plans.
Another way to do this is to find an accountability partner who has similar goals for morning workouts. You can check in with each other to make sure you’re sticking to your plans. If that doesn’t work, hire a personal trainer for a few weeks to get you started.
You can learn how to find a good accountability partner here.
4. Find a Friend
If you can find a friend that is motivated like you are, and you can hold each other accountable daily to working out, then you will accomplish your fitness goals. Many people prefer working out with friends to working out alone. Whether it’s a chat while hitting the treadmill at the gym, or having someone to spot you while weightlifting, working out with friends is sometimes just more enjoyable.
Texting each other the night before with a simple statement is best. Don’t ask: “Are we still working out in the morning?” With this kind of question, if they were thinking about not working out, you just gave them an opt out.
Make a statement instead: “Can’t wait to see you in the morning!” This implies that they will be there, and they will feel more obligated to show up.
5. Treat Yourself
We all have to treat ourselves every now and then. After a morning workout, plan to treat yourself with a colorful, healthy breakfast or a delicious morning smoothie. This will help you look forward to something and push through to the end of your workout.
You can learn more on rewards and punishments here.
6. Change your Mindset
Many people throw away the idea of a morning workout by simply saying, “I’m not a morning person.” Instead of using this excuse, decide to try to become a morning person by shifting your mindset.
When you look into the benefits of waking up early and getting some exercise in before your day starts, you’ll feel more positive about your life overall.
7. Plan Your Day
You know you’re going to be busy. Try time blocking to plan all the things you need to do on a given day, and make sure you add in your morning workout. If you have a plan laid out, you’ll be more likely to follow it and get done everything on your list done.
8. Reflect on How You’ll Feel After
Starting a morning workout is hard, but visualizing how you’ll feel after can help you find motivation. Think about the extra energy you’ll have and how proud you’ll feel knowing that you were already so productive. No matter what you do the rest of the day, at least you squeezed in your exercise!
For me, I live in an area where there are a lot of runners. When I am heading home in the evening or sitting out on the patio at one of my favorite restaurants, and I see the runners go by, it makes me feel so accomplished that I got mine in that morning and I can enjoy the evening.
9. Lay out Your Workout Clothes
Setting out your workout clothes the night before makes it impossible for you to start to run late because you couldn’t find something to wear. Tap into the determination you have before bed in order to convince your less-than-motivated morning self that you need to get up and get your morning workout in. When you wake up and see your outfit laid out next to you, it’ll push you to get up and get moving.
10. Set Multiple Alarms
Many people miss their morning workout simply because they hit the snooze button so many times. In order to make this more difficult for yourself, set a series of alarms. That way, if you keep hitting snooze, you’ll have three or four alarms going off every ten minutes, which will be annoying enough to get you out of bed.
Also, put one alarm at least a few feet from your bed so that you’re forced to get up to turn it off.
About three years ago I went from being the person that says I will never be an early riser to a person that loves to get the day started as soon as possible. Without the distractions that begin to come around 8 or 9 in the morning, you’ll find that you’re more productive and more likely to squeeze in that morning workout.
Take some of the actions above and find the best morning workout routine to start your day and feel good.
More Tips on Morning Exercises
- 10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day
- How To Exercise When You Really Don’t Have Time
- How to Become a Morning Person: 8 Steps to Kickstart
Featured photo credit: Tomasz Woźniak via unsplash.com
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