3 Tips for Choosing a Charity/Not For Profit
How do you decide which charities are worth it? It seems so many waste a lot of money on admin costs. There are costs involved in running a charity, obviously, but many of these costs can be reduced in various ways. Many suggest 10% of your income but what you choose to do is up to you.
I’ve been on the board of directors for charities as well as being a marketing manager in others and involved as a volunteer on numerous campaigns to end homelessness and domestic violence. Over time, I’ve chosen to support both with time and money.
Here are my tips to choose which charities to support, how to do it and who I support.
1. Which Causes are Important to you?
Previously, I did a lot around homelessness and domestic violence as I left an abusive relationship and ended up homeless with my two young daughters. As such, I was passionate about both of them. I still do some work but since travelling more and beginning a new relationship, the causes I want to support changed.
2. Review Their Staff, Board and Expenses
How much of the money you donate truly goes to the cause? Check their reports, annual statements and review how they do things. This will give you a good idea of exactly how much of your donation goes to where you want it to vs how much goes to salaries, building and other expenses.
3. Look at How you Can Help
Monetary donations aren’t the only way to help. Depending on how you want to help can also enable you to decide which charity you want to support. For example, some only accept money but others allow you to volunteer or donate goods and services.
Which Charities/Not For Profits do we Support?
Our focus is donating in the South Pacific, particularly Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands as that is where our family is and where Mr Aspiring Millionaire has spent most of his life. We still support a few in Australia at different times too though.
Vanuatu Feminist Library
I came across this library last year and can see the difference it makes in the community there. Vanuatu is quite a patriarchal country, education is expensive and many miss out. To combat this and help women become more educated, the Vanuatu Feminist Library stocks a range of books on numerous topics aimed at women.
If you want to support the library, you can send books to:
Lorna Silas Lekal
Ph: +678 5411525
Po Box 6027 Nambatri Area, Vanuatu
Vanuatu doesn’t have zip or postcodes
Assisting women AND saving the environment is what excites me about Mamma’s Laef (pronounced Mama’s Life). Making cloth pads for women, cloth nappies for babies and masks when needed. Plus they run educational programs including one run by men for men about menstruation.
Menstruation has traditionally been taboo in Vanuatu and many other countries in the South Pacific. Because it is not spoken about, some specific beliefs and traditions around it and the lack of hygienic supplies available on outer islands, women die.
Mamma’s Laef is saving lives, educating people, reducing the waste from disposable products and changing their country. They are also supported by New Zealand. Find all the ways you can help as well as their social media channels here.
We do business loans through Kiva because the money can be loaned again after it is repaid. I’ve been donating through Kiva for years and have found my loans in the South Pacific are repaid the fastest, meaning I can lend even more.
This is slightly different but something that can help others. It is not a Not For Profit though as you will make a profit from it. Plenti is peer to peer lending like Kiva but instead of being focused on countries where lending is difficult, it’s for anyone. You also earn interest on these loans. Get $50 when you join and invest here.
Pack For A Purpose
When we travel, we support Pack For A Purpose where possible. This is where a business in the area will collect supplies for hospitals, schools and other needs in the local community. For example, in the Solomon Islands there are two businesses we support who do this: Dive Munda and Solomon Islands Discovery Cruises.
Both of those businesses also have a strong focus on training local women in diving, hospitality and providing opportunities for youth as well.
How you can Support Not For Profits
Donating money is the most obvious option and usually includes a tax benefit if you donate over $2. Since we typically support not for profits overseas, we don’t get a tax benefit.
Aside from money, here are a few other options:
- Donate what they need. Some charities do call outs for what they need in terms of supplies.
- Share their content. Follow them on social media, like, comment and share their content.
- Participate. If there is a specific walk, run, bike ride, morning tea or event you can participate in, get involved.
How did you choose the causes you would support and how do you support them?
9 Questions to ask Yourself to help you Determine your why so you can Achieve Financial Freedom
Growing up, I thought it was so cool to meet a millionaire or aim to become a millionaire. As I got older, I realised the real goal is financial freedom through various sources of income. Rental properties, businesses and shares quickly became interesting to me.
However, the pursuit of riches is generally an empty one. If you only do what you do to get rich, you will likely lose motivation. Instead, you need to work out why you want to be wealthy, financially free or rich and what that looks like to you.
1. What gets you Going in the Morning?
When you feel really good about the day, what is it that makes you feel good? Is there anything you truly look forward to doing or that lights you up? Make a list of those things.
2. What are Your Core Values?
Aside from basic human needs, we also have core values which drive us. These are things which dictate how we do things, decisions we make and what is important to us.
For me, family first is a big core value and obvious to anyone who meets me. I structured my whole life around my family and am incredibly grateful to come from a large, supportive family. My siblings are my best friends.
3. How do you Want to be Remembered? What Legacy do you Hope to Leave Behind?
When I was a wayward teen, I read about imaging my funeral or 80th birthday and what people would say about me. I wasn’t a terrible kid but knew I wanted to be better.
Sitting down and writing out what I wanted to be remembered for helped define my life purpose and my why for doing what I do. It’s something I have revisited a few times over the years and helped when I was getting clear on my goals for financial freedom.
4. How do you Want to Live Your Life?
Thinking about how you want to be remembered is one thing, thinking about how you want to live and spend your days is another. What do you want to achieve in your life? Are there any experiences you want to have? How can you make those things happen?
5. What Would you do on Your Ideal day?
Your ideal day is…
Take some time to write down exactly what your ideal day would look like. What is your home like, how and where do you wake up, what activities do you do, who is with you etc. Write it all down. Seeing how you want your life to be and how you want to spend your days can be a great way to solidify your why for chasing financial freedom.
6. If you Could do Anything for Work, What Would it be?
This changed a lot for me. Originally, I dropped out of school, worked for the government for a bit at 16 (office work was not my thing) then got a hairdressing apprenticeship. I thought I wanted to do hair and beauty but in reality, I was doing it because it was suggested to me so often and I liked the day spa idea.
One day I’d still love to own a day spa and am grateful for my background in both hairdressing and more recently business and marketing. It was definitely not what I loved doing every day though.
In my mid twenties, I switched to writing. Something I had always loved but was told I would not be able to make a living off it. A decade later and it helped pay for custody, my lifestyle and pretty much anything we want. It also enabled me to get paid to go on once in a lifetime trips and work around my kids so I could be there for them.
Deep in your heart, what do you truly love to do and would do for ‘work’ even if you didn’t have to?
7. What Does Wealth Mean to you?
Being wealthy is different for everyone. Some people are happy to retire and live frugally because time is more important than money to them. Others want to retire with a fat wad of cash, assets and income.
Define wealth and what financial independence looks like for you. Get specific with numbers, lifestyle and income streams as well as what age you want to retire.
8. Happiness: What Makes you Happy and why? What Makes you Feel Fulfilled?
Money on its own won’t make you happy but it sure can help give you a life you love. Ask yourself what makes you happy, what makes you feel fulfilled? What do you want more if in your life?
Time with my family, travel, diving, new experiences and helping others all make me happy and feel fulfilled so I created a business around that.
9. What is Holding you Back?
What are your fears around money? What has stopped you from pursuing your goals or dreams? Often, when we dig a little deeper, we can uncover reasons we haven’t lived up to our full potential or have been scared of making too much, also known as money blocks.
Learning about what has held you back or what you fears are can also help you work out your why. It can also give clarity on what you do and don’t want as you work towards financial freedom.
What is our Why?
Family and freedom. Being able to spend time with them, not having to put our kids into daycare so we could be the ones to raise them, being able to travel. All of these things matter to us.
My mother died at 37 (I was 15), I’ve been paralyzed twice and had other health issues. It took 7.5 years to get full custody of my daughters from my abusive ex and it almost killed me financially, emotionally and physically. As a result of my life experience, I know how important and precious time with my family as well as my health is.
For my partner, he was living and working in one of the least developed countries in the world when we met. He then had to spend some time unemployed as he couldn’t work in Australia. His why stems from being able to provide and have the lifestyle he always dreamed of. We both want lots of time with our kids and freedom to do what we want. Our family is our focus.
What is your why? How did you decide on it?