We’re fascinated by money: the acquisition of it, and what it can buy.

But we already realize that, beyond having health, a roof over our heads and loved ones around us, money doesn’t really add a lot of value to our lives—and nor do the material things that we can purchase with it.

I struggle with this concept. Watching money grow fascinates me. And I’m not material at all. In this respect, I’m probably pretty strange. If you sent me downtown, suggesting that everything—for a ten hour period—would be free, (and if the rule was that I couldn’t given anything away) then I’d probably just come back with a couple of good books.

In a similar vein, if I won the lottery, I’d be both happy and sad.

Part of what I love about building wealth is the accomplished acquisition: the challenge of it all.

I’ve donated money sporadically to a couple of South East Asian NGO organizations: one based in India and the other in Cambodia. During one teaching semester, I gave away 20% of my total salary.

But I would never give to a group like Unicef, with its high administrative levels and expenses. I prefer having every dollar I donate go to a source that I (or a dear friend) have sourced out personally—and worked with personally at the ground level.

My favourites are Tabitha for Cambodia and Free Schools in India

I can vouch for these two. They make extraordinarily efficient use of donated money.

But my good friend, Kris Olson, has gone much further than I have, in his contribution to make the world a better place. He’s humble, inspiring, and part of his story is here: Incubator Made From Car Parts Saves Lives.

What about you? How are you helping?

And have you considered how most NGOs are, in Jim Roger’s words, “the best scam going”.

And how are you insuring that your money is going where it should be going—as Roger’s suggests, rather than into some organizer’s Mercedes Benz fund?