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MoneySavingExpert Charity Fund

Taking on financial illiteracy

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helping hands

If you want to empower consumers, put money in their pockets. This site's dedicated to doing just that... but the charity fund does it even more directly. With more than £1m 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.

This is separate to the money Martin put into the Martin Lewis Charitable Fund when MoneySavingExpert.com joined the MoneySupermarket group. For more information on what Martin’s donated see his blog.

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.

Update Nov 2015: The MSE Charity is currently going through a period of strategic review. It is hoping to re-launch grant making in summer 2016; please check the site in May 2016 for the latest situation.

What does it do...?

The charity is currently a grant-giving body, rather than engaging in any projects itself, though it's hoped 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 (eg, educating squaddies leaving the army about banking and debt) to working with other mainstream money charities.

Martin explains why it was 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 pockets 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 to 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 on how to deal with their money and to 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.

    Because The MSE Charity is currently going through a period of strategic review, donations cannot be made via its website at the moment. You can still do so via post, however. Cheques payable to The MSE Charity can be sent to its treasurer Tony Tesciuba, at The Chambers, 13 Police Street, Manchester, M2 7LQ. A Gift Aid declaration form can be provided on request.

  • 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).

Visit the The MSE Charity website or discuss it in the Forum.

MoneySavers' Charity Picks

As well as The MSE Charity, there are five other charities that benefit having been nominated and voted for by site users. For many of these the donation's made a real difference. For example Re-Cycle has been included in the site's selected charities for years; it sends old bicycles from the UK to the developing world, which are then fixed up, and also builds transport infrastructure.

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.
  • Help for Heroes: Direct support for our forces’ wounded.
  • Shelterbox: Providing tools for the developing world.
  • CAP UK: Debt-counselling charity.
  • The Samaritans: Providing confidential emotional support to the UK.

Donations from 22 July 2008 onwards

Total donations so far:
£887,936
Including

£529,104
to The MSE Charity

£259,585
to the nominated charities below
(that's £51,917 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 – Mar 2009

    To celebrate Comic Relief 2009, 50p was donated per new recipient of the weekly email meaning a £10,000 donation (once rounded to the nearest £1,000).

  • Haiti Earthquake Appeal – Feb 2010

    To help the Disasters Emergency Committee Haiti Earthquake Appeal, 50p was donated per new recipient of the weekly email for a specified period, meaning a £15,322 donation.

  • Gift of Sight (Sightsavers) – Dec 2010

    A donation of £1,705 was given to Sightsavers for the Gift of Sight for 100 people.

  • Financial Education – Jun 2011

    Donation of £35,000 to the All Party Parliamentary Group supporting financial education in schools. See Martin's blog.

  • Gift of Sight (Sightsavers) – Dec 2011

    A donation of £1,705 was given to Sightsavers for the Gift of Sight for 100 people.

  • Polio vaccines to Unicef – Dec 2012

    A donation of £1,150 was given to Unicef for 10,000 polio vaccines.

  • Comic Relief – Mar 2013

    To celebrate Comic Relief 2013, £1 was given for every new member of our Cheap Energy Club meaning a donation of £22,000 once rounded to the nearest £1,000.

  • Tetanus vaccines to Unicef – Dec 2013

    A donation of £1,375 was given to Unicef for 30,000 tetanus vaccines.

  • Polio vaccines to Unicef – Dec 2014

    A donation of £1,650 was given to Unicef for 15,000 polio vaccines.

  • Red Cross – Sep 2015

    To help the Europe refugee crisis, 50p was donated per new recipient of the weekly email for a specified period, which we rounded up to make a £6,000 donation.

  • Tetanus vaccines to Unicef – Dec 2015

    A donation of £2,040 was given to Unicef for 40,000 tetanus vaccines.

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 Martin's 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

Re-Cycle, Usable, websitesTools for Self Reliance, Different Strokes

£404,084


Full Info


Donations between 25 June 2005 – 31 August 2006

Re-Cycle, Usable, websitesTools for Self Reliance, Different Strokes

£87,248

Full Info


Donations between 12 May 2004 – 24 June 2005

£39,680

Full InfoRe-Cycle, Usable, websitesTools for Self Reliance, Different Strokes