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9 Charities Worth Donating To

9 Charities Worth Donating To

Giving money to charity is a great thing to do, but to make sure your money is being used wisely, it’s important to investigate the charity to which you’re considering donating. The last thing you want to do is give your money to a sketchy “charity” that uses the majority of the donations it receives to pay its staff. You need to be sure that your money is actually going to help the people you want it to help.

To help you do this, we’ve compiled a list of fifteen charities worth donating to for you to consider when deciding who to give your hard-earned money to.

1. Pencils of Promise

Pencils of Promise is a for-purpose (as opposed to a non-profit) organization that builds schools, trains teachers, and funds scholarships. It started when founder Adam Braun asked a boy on the streets in India what he wanted most. His answer was “a pencil.” Adam went on to give out thousands of pens and pencils to children in over fifty countries over the next five years, before starting Pencils of Promise.

Pencil of Promise is different from most charities in that it mixes a humanitarian purpose with a smart business approach to ensure there’s a great ROI on every dollar spent. It funds its operations through financial support from private donors, events, and companies. This means that 100% of the money donated to Pencils of Promise goes directly towards helping the children in the countries the charity works in. The charity also stays behind once the schools it builds are finished, to ensure that everything keeps running smoothly. The charity works with local communities to come up with curriculum and programs.

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2. 777

777 is an endurance, adventure, and philanthropic initiative put on in partnership with Pencils of Promise by Joel Runyon and his company, Impossible Ventures. Joel is going to run 7 ultra marathons on 7 continents in order to raise the money and awareness to build 7 schools with Pencils of Promise, to provide opportunities to those for whom a basic education seems impossible.

Joel runs IMPOSSIBLE, where he pushes himself and encourages other people to push their limits and do something impossible. In 2013, Joel raised the money to build one school in Guatemala with Pencils of Promise. Seeing the impact his work did, Joel decided to step it up and push himself to do what, for him, seems impossible, in order to make education possible for children in countries like Guatemala. Joel is funding the mission himself, through travel hacking and other initiatives, and all the money donated goes directly to building the schools.

3. Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK funds scientists, doctors, and nurses who are researching and attempting to find cures for cancer. It also provides information on cancer to members of the public and its policy-development team advises Government and develops policy on issues relating to cancer.

Cancer Research UK is officially the UK’s most trusted charity, according to research conducted for the Charity Commission. A number of bodies work together to ensure that the charity makes the best use of the donations it receives and that the research it carries out is world-class. The charity receives no Government funding, and so relies on donations to help its scientists move closer to finding a cure. Money goes towards such thing as funding research centers and buying research equipment.

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See some of the ways your support helps. We receive no Government funding so our life-saving work is only possible thanks to people like you.

4. Charity: Water

Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity: Water was a hedonistic nightclub promoter when he went to South America and realized he was “the most selfish, sycophantic and miserable human being.” He began volunteering as a photographer for a Christian aid group that performed surgeries in poor countries and saw how much impact people like him could have on the lives of the people he met. Two years later, he decided to start a charity to provide clean water to people in poor countries. But with no money, Harrison had to rely on his talent for promotion to begin raising money.

Several years later, Charity: Water ensures that every cent donated goes straight into projects in the field. It also shows its donors exactly what their money has achieved and uses social media to raise awareness. The charity is applauded for its accountability and transparency. To date, it has funded over 13,000 water projects.

5. Médicins Sans Frontières

Médicins Sans Frontières is an international medical humanitarian organization that provides emergency aid to people who are in need because of natural disasters, armed conflict, and exclusion from healthcare for whatever reason. It helps people according to their needs, ignoring variables such as race, religion, gender, and political beliefs. The organization aims to be impartial and neutral and to instead focus on providing the help that is needed.

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90% of the organization’s funding comes from private sources rather than governments, which means the charity can remain neutral and independent. Over 80% of the charity’s funding goes towards resources for humanitarian support. Only 20% of donations are put into management, administration, and fundraising activities. The charity’s audited financial reports are publicly available.

6. All Hands Volunteers

All Hands Volunteers is a US-based non-profit organization that gives hands-on help to communities around the world, aiming for maximum impact and minimum beaurocracy. It aims to provide immediate and sustainable support to those who need it and to be the most effective charity out there. It has helped survivors following disasters in places such as Haiti and Japan.

The charity raises money through special events, adverts, grant proposals, direct mail, internet appeals, and other approaches. Over 80% of the money raised by the charity goes directly into providing relief and assistance to communities, and the charity has an extremely high transparency score.

7. Oxfam

Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations that work together and with local communities in over 90 countries. The organization is committed to mobilizing the power of people against poverty, by finding practical and innovative ways to help people and communities lift themselves out of poverty. It responds to crises, campaigns to raise awareness of poverty, and helps people to thrive.

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Approximately 80% of the charity’s donations go directly towards helping people in poverty. The charity also has an extremely high transparency rating and is well-known across the world.

8. Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance is a conservation organization that aims to protect the rainforest by making it financially appealing for businesses and communities to protect the rainforest. They help businesses improve their standards, so that their practices are sustainable and rainforest-friendly. Once businesses meet their standards, they can become certified, which makes them more appealing to customers. Rainforest Alliance has certified companies such as Scholastic, McDonald’s, and Kraft.

Over 90% of this charity’s donations go directly towards helping the rainforest. The majority of the remaining money goes into fundraising efforts rather than administration or management.

9. World Wildlife Fund

The World Wildlife Fund aims to protect endangered species and their habitats. They aim to have the biggest impact they can, by encouraging people to make choices that are sustainable and animal-friendly, for example by buying sustainable seafood.

The charity’s financial information is readily available on its website. It receives just over 50% of its funding from donations, and 20% from governments. Over 80% of the organization’s income goes towards program expenses. Of the money that isn’t, just over 10% goes towards fundraising.

Featured photo credit: IMPOSSIBLE & Pencils of Promise via 777.impossiblehq.com

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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