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The MoneySavingExpert Charity Fund Taking on financial illiteracy

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If you want to empower consumers, put money in their pocket. This site's dedicated to doing just that... but the charity fund does it even more directly. With over a million pounds donated so far, it's MoneySavingExpert.com's way of giving back to users.

Two thirds of the money goes to support The MSE Charity which provides grants to groups to provide education and information about consumer and debt issues; and the rest to five general charities nominated by site users.

The MSE Charity

MSE Charity LogoLaunched in May 2008, The MSE Charity (Registered Charity Number: 1121320) is a grant-giving charity dedicated to improving information and education about debt, money and consumer issues.

What does it do...?

The charity is currently a grant-giving body, rather than engaging in any projects itself, though it's hoped that in time this will change.

Money is available to help any non-commercial group or charity with specific projects. Whether this is working with an individual with a good idea (e.g. educating squaddies leaving the army about cheques, banking and debt) to working with other mainstream money charities.

Martin explains why was it set up...

One of my early career ambitions was to be the Money Saving Expert on ITV1's This Morning, as that was the home of TV experts, and my aim was to make saving cash a mainstream subject. After all, the programme had stylists, diet experts, psychologists, designers and chefs, yet much of that isn't possible without cash. So if you really want to help people, you have to help them put cash in their pocket to provide real freedom.

It was around the time I started appearing on This Morning that I set up this site. Now the site is phenomenally successful and for years the charity fund has donated to general charities. Yet the aim's still the same, and I thought it was about time to try and focus the charity contributions back towards the key aim of helping people help themselves.

After all, a company's job is to make money, nothing wrong with that, a consumer's job should be to maximise their cash too. Yet while sales staff get training, we don't get buyers' training. Worse still, the UK is a nation that educates our students into debt when they go to University; but at every level - school, higher education and adult life - fails to educate about debt.

So rather than trying to pay off a few people's debts, this charity aims to educate people into how to deal with their money and tackle financial illiteracy. In other words, to help people help themselves.

Where does the MSE charity cash come from?

The money is generated from two sources:

  • Donations from well-wishers.
    Anyone who wants to support the charity is more than welcome; for the many who've said they'd like to donate to MoneySavingExpert.com as it's saved them money, please donate to the charity instead. You can do this online, by post, PayPal or Google Checkout... Donate to The MSE Charity.

  • An annual donation from this site.
    A donation of over £235,000 was made to launch the charity, and it's hoped a substantial donation will continue to be made each year. This includes all of Martin's proceeds from the Thrifty Ways and Three Lessons books.

    All this cash - less some small administration costs, which aren't expected to exceed 10% of income - will go directly to the grant fund (the cost of the day-to-day operation of the charity is met by a separate personal donation from Martin).

MoneySavers' Charity Picks

As well as donating to the MSE charity; there are also five other charities nominated and voted for by site users. For many of these the donation's made a real difference. For example Re-Cycle, which sends old bicycles from the UK to the developing world, which are then fixed up, plus building transport infrastructure, has been included in the site's selected charities for the past four years, and is in constant contact about projects that have been funded.

The current charities

The last vote took place in July '08 and the following five charities were selected:

  • Re-cycle: Fighting poverty with affordable transport. Link: Re-Cycle
  • Help for Heroes: Direct support for our forces’ wounded. Link: Help for Heroes
  • Shelterbox: Providing tools for developing world. Link: Shelterbox
  • CAP UK: Debt counselling charity. Link: CAP UK,
  • Samaritans: Providing confidential emotional support to the UK. Link: The Samaritans

Donations from 22 July 2008 onwards

Total donations so far: £608,379 Including:

£361,702 to the MSE Charity

£183,350 to the nominated charities below
( that's £36,670 each)

Plus one-off donations

  • Start of Charity Fund donation
    £200 each to St. Giles Trust, iT4 Communities, Foal Farm, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Citizens Advice, NCH. £100 to Sightsavers International
  • Comic Relief
    To celebrate Comic Relief 2010, 50p was donated per new recipient of the weekly e-mail meaning a £10,000 donation (once rounded to the nearest £1,000).
  • Haiti earthquake appeal
    To help the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal, 50p was donated per new recipient of the weekly e-mail for a specified period, meaning a £15,322 donation.
  • Gift of Sight (Sightsavers)
    A donation of £1,705 was given to Sightsavers for the Gift of Sight for 100 people.
  • Financial Education
    Donation to APPG, supporting Financial Education in schools £35,000. See Martin's Blog.

How to nominate a charity

Periodically a new round of nominations is opened and anyone can suggest a charity. Often hundreds of nominations are received. At that point a group of regular Forum users are selected who have the very difficult task of shortlisting twelve charities. The criteria for this are a mix of charity popularity, relevance to consumer/money issues, and how much impact the donation will have. Once this is done the site poll is used to pick the top charities.

Want to nominate a charity?

If you would like to nominate a charity, do ensure you get the free weekly Martins Money Tips email, which will include all details when nominations are re-opened.

How much has been donated?

Here's the MoneySavingExpert.com donation history since the site launched in February 2003. This money comes directly from the site, and doesn't include any donations made by private individuals to the The MSE Charity. If you're asking "how does a free site with no ads make these donations?" read the How This Site is Financed guide.

Donations between 1 September 2006 - 21 July 2008

£404,084

Cancer Research

Tools for
Self Reliance

Usable
websites

Different Strokes

Full info

Donations between 25 June 2005 - 31 August 2006

£87,254

Send-a-cow

Wateraid

CAP

Samaritans

Usable
websites

Different Strokes

Full info

Donations between 12 May 2004 - 24 June 2005

£42,067

alzhelmers

Whizz-kidz

kidscape

breast cancer

Full info

What the * means above

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You shouldn’t notice any difference and the link will never negatively impact the product. Plus the editorial line (the things we write) is NEVER impacted by these links. We aim to look at all available products. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the top deal, it is still included in exactly the same way, just with a non-paying link. For more details, read How This Site Is Financed.

Duplicate links of the * links above for the sake of transparency, but this version doesn't help MoneySavingExpert.com:

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