How charity giving can make you richer

In the month of the London Marathon, Grandad Ron Banks looks at charity giving from a new angle – that actually puts money into the donor’s pocket. Crazy, but true. We’ll let Ron explain…

At the end of this month about 36,000 runners will pound the pavements of London on their way to completing the city’s marathon. Between them they’re likely to raise more than £50m for good causes like research into all manner of disease, protecting children, and saving rhinos.

That’s all well and good, and no doubt very laudable, but I want to look at the story from another angle. At my age, I don’t run marathons. If I’m honest, I didn’t run them at any age, and perhaps that makes me the ideal candidate for the other end of the equation; I’m the man who digs into his wallet to make a contribution to that £50m.

And that puts me in a dilemma. It’s this: How do I give to charity in a way that doesn’t direct funds to organisations that already have considerable resources, and make sure it goes to the Cinderella organisations that don’t have such a high profile. I freely acknowledge that I may be wrong, but I have this niggling suspicion that big organisations don’t give as much of my tenner to the cause they’re supposed to be helping as I might expect. For instance, where does the money come from for their newspaper and TV ad campaigns, for posting out raffle tickets that they want me to sell, and for employing staff, including someone who rings me to ask why I haven’t sold the raffle tickets? Me, in one way or another. And that’s wasteful.

You see, my wife Lorna and I are on a pension. I’m not sure we could get by if our pension dropped into the bank as and when the pension provider saw fit to pay it – or that we could manage with an amount that changed every month.

And that’s why (*controversy alert*) I’m reluctant to sponsor people to do one-off things. For smaller charities, my reasoning goes, that means they can’t have a consistent approach because they lack the steady stream income to underwrite that.

Why Solo Expenses is different
For the charity giver, the Solo Expenses approach is very different. A proportion of the company’s income from every paying customer (and they’re only paying £2.49 a month) is given directly to smaller organisations as well as larger ones. If you like, it’s a portfolio of charities that are helped in a regular way, every month.

That means anyone who is asked for sponsorship can gracefully turn down the request, truthfully saying that they give money every month to a group of good causes including, but not limited to, research into Alzheimers, the Worldwide Fund For Nature, a particular orphanage in Africa, and a charity helping the blind in India.

Here’s the really clever part
Because Solo Expenses is so easy to use (it’s free to download to get you started) and so flexible that anyone can track their spending and work out ways to make savings without feeling the pinch. That’s great for individual and small to medium sized business owners – and Solo Expenses was created as the only expense manager app – exclusively for that group, but it’s equally useful to individuals looking after personal budgets.

So, the bottom line is that by using Solo Expenses, you’ll not only become a better expense manager in your own right, but you’ll also be giving money to charity at the same time, month in, month out. And because you’re doing that, you have good grounds for turning down the sponsorship-seeker with the form, or you can make a donation out of the money you’re saving every month.

After all, isn’t that what charity ought to be, at the end of the day – a means of redistributing funds from those who have plenty to those who have less, so that everyone is a little better off, both financially and spiritually…