Personal Finance

Maximize Your Giving Dollars With an Investing Mindset

It's the season of giving, and there are scores of great causes and organizations to consider for your charitable dollars. Here at The Motley Fool, we use our annual Foolanthropy campaign to steer our community to highly efficient organizations that ensure their charitable giving has a big impact. We aim to amplify outcomes instead of simply providing one-off aid approaches.

This year, we have chosen Fistula Foundation as our Foolanthropy 2015 partner. Click here for an overview of how this organization works in more than 20 countries to give women back their lives through surgery that repairs a serious affliction in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia: obstetric fistula. This restorative surgery costs an average of just $450, and basically gives afflicted women their lives back.

Check out stories of patients whose lives have been transformed by the surgeries that Fistula Foundation funds. If such stories move you to donate immediately, that would be great -- check out our Foolanthropy 2015 Fistula Foundation giving site here .

Photo credit: Fistula Foundation

Read on to learn the many reasons why Fistula Foundation is a great charitable choice to amplify the impact of your giving dollars.

A sterling reputation

First and foremost, Fistula Foundation has a solid and long-standing reputation. Donors are in good company when they support this respected organization.

Charity Navigator -- one of the best-known charity ratings organizations, which assesses non-profits according to financial health, transparency, accountability, and other important informational factors -- recently awarded the foundation its highest four-star rating for the 10th time , an impressive achievement, putting the Foundation in the top 1% of all charities they rate.

In other recent news, ethicist Peter Singer included Fistula Foundation on his list of 17 Best Charities for 2016. His list, available on The Life You Can Save website, highlights charities that "do innovative and cost-effective work to bring food, vital nutrients, medical services, and economic opportunities to some of the 702 million people living in extreme poverty today."

Fistula Foundation's entry on The Life You Can Save site highlights many of the compelling benefits that resulted in its placement on the list. For example, in the last six years, the foundation has funded nearly 18,000 surgeries -- more than any other organization that doesn't receive government funds.

In addition, the foundation focuses on moving funds swiftly and cost-effectively to its partner organizations that administer the surgeries. Nearly 85% of its financial expenditures go directly to program costs and support.

Quality of life

Fistula Foundation is one of the new generation of non-profits that can utilize tools like the Internet to focus on, drive, and track real results like never before. As Fistula Foundation CEO Kate Grant recently wrote for the Huffington Post, these days, many organizations like the ones she runs operate more like Silicon Valley start-ups than the bureaucratic, often sadly inefficient organizations that lumbered across the non-profit landscape in the past.

From our own Foolanthropy standpoint, we also particularly appreciated Fistula Foundation's results from an analysis of Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALY) perspective. This calculation helps gauge the effectiveness of health interventions to improve quantity (life expectancy), and quality of life.

See below for our Culture blog post and video with The Motley Fool's Bill Mann, and a segment from Fistula Foundation's Grant that outlines the investment-minded approach of QALY.

Mann boils it down best: A $500 donation can give a woman 50 years of her life back . Anything donors can spare represents major benefits, too -- think of a $10 investment representing giving a woman one quality year .

The many ways to invest better

In our basic guide to investing, 13 Steps to Investing Foolishly, we advocate treating every dollar as an investment . Although here at The Motley Fool we primarily help people invest in public companies and build profitable long-term portfolios, we also strive to help the world invest better in myriad ways.

On our journeys through life, we can -- and probably should -- view every dollar we spend as an investment in something : basic necessities, quality of life, achieving financial freedom through hard work and successful investing, and even the positive ramifications and emotional dividends of lending a hand to those who have far less than we do.

This holiday season, consider the benefits of giving to the Fistula Foundation, which funds treatment that not only alleviates women's pain, discomfort, embarrassment, and depression in the near-term, but can also help reunite them with their families and communities, giving them the ability to lead productive lives, resulting in serious long-term economic and other benefits.

We've already been heartened by the outpouring of generosity in our current campaign for Fistula Foundation, and we have reached 41% of our goal. Together with our community and others who have been moved by this cause, we have already raised enough to help 67 women get their lives back.

We've got some incentives if we hit the target, too. The Motley Fool itself kicked in $5,000 for the launch, and is matching employee donations up to $5,000. Our basic goal is $75,000; but if we hit our $100,000 stretch goal, the Fool will give an additional $2,500 to the cause.

Help us make a difference in many women's lives as we strive to make our goal, and even exceed it, by visiting our Foolanthropy giving page for Fistula Foundation . And if you'd like to donate using an even more investor-centric method, you can also donate stock. Contact us at for more information on that route.

If you can't give to this cause, we'd love it if you could even help us raise awareness of an affliction that, tragically, still impacts a million women in impoverished countries in Africa and Asia. Sharing this article, or our giving page with more details about Fistula Foundation, would be appreciated greatly, too.

The article Maximize Your Giving Dollars With an Investing Mindset originally appeared on

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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