Those of you who have been reading for a while know that I’m big on charitable giving. One of my 2009 Financial Goals was to increase my charitable donations. I also take half of the advertising income from this site and use it to make Kiva loans.
I work in an area that is frequented by people canvassing for charity. By this, I mean people, usually young people, looking to get the passers-by to sign up for a membership to the non-profit they happen to be representing that day. I usually try to get past them, as I won’t sign up for anything without doing my research. They might be promoting a great charity, but I’m going to check them out on Charity Navigator before I sign anything.
Yesterday, I was targeted by a canvasser who I have seen around. This time, however, he was promoting a different charity, which tells me he’s probably part of a canvassing company hired by various non-profits. He cornered me and started marketing his charity. I kept telling him that I wouldn’t sign up without knowing more information. Initially, he was polite, but the polite turned to badgering and I just gave up and walked off, without a very good impression of this charity at all. Based on the way I was treated, I would not have been surprised to see it receive a very low score on Charity Navigator. I wondered if they were legit at all.
Turns out they are legit (three stars on CN), but as I read the comments, it turns out this charity has used aggressive marketers all over the country. They try to make you feel guilty and then get you to donate. And while I support their cause, I’m not sure I can bring myself to donate money through their organization.
In these economic times, charities often have to try new tricks to get people to donate money. They often appeal to our emotions. But trying to make me feel guilty just made me feel angry. And that’s not the way to get me to open my wallet.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.