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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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Published on October 8, 2018

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

1. Choose a major category each month to attack

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

2. Only make major purchases in the morning

If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

4. Read one-star reviews for products

Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

9. Budget using cash and envelopes

As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

10. Join a like-minded group

Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

11. Reward Yourself

When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

12. Take the Buddhist approach

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

Conclusion

Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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