Friday, November 8, 2013

Start a Hero Fund

This weekend, I'm pleased to be participating in the Hero Round Table in Flint, MI. I'll be leading a breakout session on "Creating a Hero Fund." Here's the description from the Hero Round Table website and program:
Money can’t solve every problem, but it can often help out. This session will discuss the ways in which money can be used heroically (and wisely) and how to organize your financial life to create a “Heroism Fund,” so you have money ready when you see a need.
So what do I mean about a "Heroism Fund"? Ever since the 40 Days of Giving project began (and for a few months before), I have been putting 10% of my gross income directly into a separate bank account entirely designated toward giving. (It's easy to set up separate bank accounts in Capital One 360 online banking.) This means that at any given time,

For example, several years ago a family member got meningitis and was in the hospital for several days. During this time, I went to mow her yard. I finished and went into the house to get a glass of water ... only to realize that it was hotter inside the house than outside. In the summer heat, the house was a sweatbox, and her window air conditioner was broken. Because we had two young children, we couldn't invite her to our house to recover ... but because of our giving fund, we did have enough money to buy her a new air conditioner, so that she could recover from her illness in comfort.

Without having the money set aside, we couldn't have helped in this situation.

In addition to helping in straightforward ways, of course, the "Heroism Fund" can be used to donate toward charities that will help people on a grander scale.

One of the key elements after you've begun putting back money for heroic uses and charity is figuring out where best to give it to achieve a positive outcome. There are a lot of places that eat administrative costs. There are at least two websites that I use specifically to help investigate new charities, to be sure that they have the sort of impact I want to donate toward:

How do you find charities to donate to? How do you investigate them to make sure their impact is worthwhile?