NEW: Got questions about energy? Put them to Gary and Andrew from MSE's Utilities team during our energy-themed 'Ask An Expert' event. Check back here from Tuesday 9 August, 12pm

Choose a charity

in Money Saving Polls
25 replies 6.3K views
MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
8.3K Posts
Forumite
For a full description and links to the shortlisted charities scroll down

Last week I asked you to nominate charities for this Site's charity fund. These were then shortlisted by volunteers. Read below for what it's about, how the shortlisting process worked and descriptions of the 14 charities (plus my own personal nomination) picked.
First the process

Vote here.

What is the charity fund?

Money is donated to five charities from the site's revenue (see 'how the site makes money'). The site follows a non-profit driven ethos, but that doesn't mean it doesn't make money. The sheer scale of the site and near 1 million visits a month, means there is cash, and I like to put as much as I can towards doing some good (after I've paid the MoneySaving team, expenses, and myself).

What's the process?

It's a three step process to decide the charities.

A. Nominate. Any user of the site (which means anyone of course) was able to nominate a charity registered in the UK to receive the money. This was done via a note in the weekly money tips email

B. There's a short list. Five of the site's most regular users (the volunteer board guides) were asked to short-list 14 charities. The following are the criteria (which I devised) to use when short listing.

i. Relevance: Charities which are relevant to both the subject base and usership of MoneySavingExpert.com will be given priority.

ii. National and International: Roughly two thirds of the selection should be UK based charities and one third overseas/international.

iii. The money should make a difference. Small charities where the cash won't just go into a big pot, but will make a real difference to the charity itself will be favoured over larger charities.

C. The Vote. Nominations ended on Saturday 11th June. Now there's a vote on the site (in the poll) of the 15 charities (for those paying attention the extra charity is my own personal nomination). The top five charities will then have the money paid to them from the charity fund in the proportion of the vote. The winners will be announced in the tip.


Charity Descriptions


Bryson House www.brysonhouse.co.uk

In addition to our well-known Care Services, Bryson House has developed a number of environmental schemes including the Kerbside recycling programme, a range of energy saving initiatives, and our Schools Environmental Education programme for primary students. A variety of Bryson House programmes provide training and work experience for unemployed people

Christians Against Poverty (CAP UK) www.CAPUK.org

By partnering with other organizations throughout the country, CAP aims to relieve poverty through debt counseling, advice and practical help. CAP’s unique approach empowers people to help themselves out of poverty and be released from the fear, oppression and worry generated by overwhelming debts. Vital financial and budgeting life skills are developed through our services thus ensuring poverty relief is sustainable


Cystic Fibrosis Trust www.cftrust.org.uk

Aiming to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. The current average lifespan of sufferers is just 31 years - researchers have identified the problem gene, and are currently working towards developing a cure. CF is a disease which may be cureable within a generation, given enough research funds.

Fareshare www.fareshare.org.uk

"FareShare is the national charity that redistributes quality surplus food from the food industry to organisations working with homeless and vulnerable people in community day centres and hostels."

Hearing Dogs www.hearing-dogs.co.uk

Trains dogs to support people with severe hearing impairment - alerting them to sounds - telephone, doorbell, smoke alarm, which they cannot hear for themselves. Many dogs are selected from rescue homes, adding yet another dimension to the charity's work.

National Debtline www.nationaldebtline.co.uk

National Debtline is a national telephone helpline for people with debt problems in England, Wales and Scotland. The service is free, confidential and independent. The specialist advice that they give over the telephone is backed up with written self-help materials which can be sent out to you for free.

National Rent Deposit Forum www.nrdf.org.uk

A national charity set up to support local rent deposit schemes and encourage new schemes to develop. Local schemes provide deposits, rent guarantees, or bonds to help low income homeless people move into private rented accommodation plus give advice and support. The NRDF is a small organisation with limited funding and 9 staff working with 240 member groups, many of which are small voluntary organisations.

Princes Trust www.princes-trust.org.uk

The Prince's Trust is a UK charity that helps young people overcome barriers and get their lives working. Through practical support including training, mentoring and financial assistance, it helps 14-30 year olds realise their potential and transform their lives. It focuses its efforts on those who've struggled at school, been in care, been in trouble with the law, or are long-term unemployed.

Re-Cycle www.re-cycle.org

Collects unwanted bicycles and ships them to Africa (my personal nomination, as I was once a trustee, so yes I'm biased, and I'm not ashamed of it :) ). A little charity that is does a lot of good, its both environmental, financially clever, and helps build self-esteem. Worth looking at the site.

Samaritans www.samaritans.org.uk/

Confidential emotional support to the suicidal or despairing

Send a Cow www.sendacow.org.uk/

This charity provides proper sustainable help to enable those struggling against poverty in Africa to farm crops and livestock to feed themselves, and also for sale.

Soldiers Sailors Air Force Association (SSAFA) www.ssafa.org.uk/

Provide help for ex-service personnel in many ways. Too many times people give up their time and even their health to serve their country and are then pretty much left to fend for themselves. SSAFA helps out those who are impoverished and in need.

UNAFUND www.unafund.co.uk/

UNAFUND is a charity offering interest-free loans to people threatened with repossession of mortgaged property or eviction from rented accommodation. Monthly repayments of 2% of the loan normally begin two months after the loan is granted meaning funds are continuously being recycled to save more homes.

Wateraid www.wateraid.org

An international NGO dedicated exclusively to the provision of safe domestic water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world's poorest people.

Womens Aid www.womensaid.org.uk

Women's Aid is the national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. Their mission is to advocate for abused women and children and to ensure their safety by working locally and nationally.

Vote here
Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
«13

Replies

  • jo_b_2jo_b_2 Forumite
    7.1K Posts
    Just voted. That was a really difficult decision. So many worthy causes. :think:

    I've voted for UNAFUND because it seems to sit really well with the philosophy of this site and it wasn't a charity that I was previously aware of.
  • Please excuse my utter ignorance here, but I have a question regarding this charity thing. I don't understand how MERGE, which got the highest number of thank yous in your nomination list, 61, didn't even reach your shortlist. I do not doubt for one second that any of the 14 charities shortlisted are worthy causes, but why not even make the shortlist with the highest number of thank yous? If I am out of turn here, sorry, but I would appreciate if someone could explain to me. LL
  • jo_b_2jo_b_2 Forumite
    7.1K Posts
    Please excuse my utter ignorance here, but I have a question regarding this charity thing. I don't understand how MERGE, which got the highest number of thank yous in your nomination list, 61, didn't even reach your shortlist. I do not doubt for one second that any of the 14 charities shortlisted are worthy causes, but why not even make the shortlist with the highest number of thank yous? If I am out of turn here, sorry, but I would appreciate if someone could explain to me. LL

    The shortlist was based on this criteria set by Martin:

    'The following are the criteria (which I devised) to use when short listing.

    i. Relevance: Charities which are relevant to both the subject base and usership of MoneySavingExpert.com will be given priority.

    ii. National and International: Roughly two thirds of the selection should be UK based charities and one third overseas/international.

    iii. The money should make a difference. Small charities where the cash won't just go into a big pot, but will make a real difference to the charity itself will be favoured over larger charities.'

    The number of thanks for each nomination probably wasn't considered as the ultimate decision will be decided by a public vote.
  • student100student100 Forumite
    1.1K Posts
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    The shortlist process placed no importance on the number of thank yous in the nomination thread, so I believe those selecting took no notice of the number of thank yous each charity received. Martin has outlined the criteria used above.
    student100 hasn't been a student since 2007...
  • Please excuse my utter ignorance here, but I have a question regarding this charity thing. I don't understand how MERGE, which got the highest number of thank yous in your nomination list, 61, didn't even reach your shortlist. I do not doubt for one second that any of the 14 charities shortlisted are worthy causes, but why not even make the shortlist with the highest number of thank yous? If I am out of turn here, sorry, but I would appreciate if someone could explain to me. LL

    Obviously MERGE has many support groups around the internet but you might like to join in with the discussion here on the Health Board where some of the MSE users are sharing their experiences.

    I also hope you and some of the other 60 users who thanked the MERGE nomination will have a look at the charities that did make the short list and place your vote.

    Like you Jo, I am having difficulty just picking one :o
  • tomk_3tomk_3 Forumite
    15 Posts
    Please excuse my utter ignorance here, but I have a question regarding this charity thing. I don't understand how MERGE, which got the highest number of thank yous in your nomination list, 61, didn't even reach your shortlist. I do not doubt for one second that any of the 14 charities shortlisted are worthy causes, but why not even make the shortlist with the highest number of thank yous? If I am out of turn here, sorry, but I would appreciate if someone could explain to me. LL

    Ye. I'm disappointed that MERGE wasn't picked (but I suppose everyone is disappointed their charity wasn't picked). I had prepared a note pointing out that, last time I heard, that MERGE had a five-figure income so would qualify under the criterion that the money could make a difference but one wasn't supposed to write to the thread so decided not to.

    The problem for ME charities is that so many people with ME can't work; then those that can work, may only be working part-time or will have had to change their career because of the illness to a less well-paid job. So people affected often take a huge financial hit (there was a CDC study in the US which found the loss from the illness was $9 billion). And the illness will generally hit suddenly so people will not have planned financially for it happening. And then people affected are not well enough to organise fundraisers. So it can be hard to raise money for ME charities. But I suppose the decision is made now. Maybe we'll have more luck next year.

    Good luck to all the charities and well done to MoneySavingExpert.com who decided to give out the earnings from the site in this way.
  • tullula_2tullula_2 Forumite
    461 Posts
    send a cow got mine... :D
    Happy to be here.:D :hello:
  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
    8.3K Posts
    Forumite
    Hi

    Yes Im sorry for merge, then again Im sorry for all the charities. It's always a shame, I could of course simply give a little to all - but past experience is that the charities concerned who are in the five generate real gain from the larger sums.

    We didnt take into account the thank you's im afraid, as it'd mean that a quick email around a group of supporters meant 'lobbying' could work. I asked the shortlisters to work of my criteria. (Im not saying this happened with Merge, just that its the reason we didn't look at thank yous)

    Of course the lobbying may still work in the bigger vote, but then as there are more voters its less likely. My fingers are crossed that people won't do this so MoneySavers will get their say.

    martin
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
  • M.E.2-2M.E.2-2 Forumite
    7.4K Posts
    The problem,as always, is too many worthy causes to choose from. After reading about the average lifespan of someone with CF then my vote went there.
    Guest.
  • Thank you everyone for your honest and forthright replies to my question above. I agree with tomk above about the problem with fund raising for ME charities. Indeed at a recent rally to raise awareness of this debilitating and life changing illness very few people turned up. Tis the nature of the beast, you are left feeling so drained that any effort is too much. But it is not just fundraising that lets down ME research. Out of every 16 applications for research monies last year 15 of those applications went to mental health research and only one to physical research. I guess one day the powers that be will listen to the sufferers and finally admit that we are not all mentally ill and that indeed a real physical change has/is taking place amongst us. I wish all the other charities that were shortlisted good luck in the voting and agree that this was a very generous offer by MSE on their behalf. LL
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Homes, hornets & high heels

This week's MSE Forum highlights

MSE Forum

Kids eat for 'free' or £1 this summer

Little ones can enjoy hot meals for less

MSE Deals