Why should you give?
Donating money to evidence backed charities is one of the most cost effective and practical ways to multiply your social impact and increase the amount of good you do in your career. By current estimated, by donating to the most effective of charities, you can likely save a life by donating as little as $4,000 USD.
To learn more about the importance of effective giving, see REG’s introductory guide here.
Even though it might not feel like it, but chances are that you belong to the richest 3% of the world. Given that you are likely to have an above-average income by global standards, you are in a great position to donate to charities that support some of the worlds poorest people. Find out how rich you are on GivingWhatWeCan.
For example, if an average wage earner in the UK was to donate 10% of their income to one of the GiveWell recommended Global Health charities, their donations could fund:
the distribution of 500 insecticide treated bed-nets
more than 2563 schistosomiasis treatments
equivalent to saving 32 years of healthy life
It might have more impact than working in a typical NGO or doing global health work. Depending on your position and personal fit for different career options, you can probably do more good by working in medicine and donating 10% of your income than working for a typical charity. Find inspiration on how to increase the impact of your direct work here.
How should you get started?
Decide where to give: There are a handful of charity evaluators that evaluate charities and recommend outstanding giving opportunities. Their recommended charities are characterised by evidence of impact, cost-effectiveness, transparency, and room for more funding. Here are the currently recommended charity evaluations, as listed on the EA Resource Hub:
GiveWell: For global health and poverty recommendations, check out GiveWell which conducts rigorous evaluations of promising interventions and charities and recommends a few highly effective charities. Their recommendations are updated every year based on new evidence.
Animal Charity Evaluators: See recommendations by Animal Charity Evaluators to find out some of the best ways to help farmed animals.
Founders Pledge: Looking at a broader range of cause areas, Founders Pledge conducts research and recommends charities in a variety of philanthropic fields, including climate change, pandemics, mental health and forced displacement.
Open Philanthropy Project: The Open Philanthropy Project conducts research to choose where to allocate funding from Good Ventures. While they generally don’t specifically recommend charities for other donors, their grant database and research is publically available and can be used to inform giving. Each year Open Philanthropy Projects’ staff publish their suggestions for individual donors (suggestions from December 2019).
EA Funds: Another option is to give your money to a philanthropic fund managed by experts. EA Funds has funds for Global Health and Development, Animal Welfare, Long-Term Future, and Effective Altruism Meta.
Center on Long-Term Risk Fund (CLR Fund): The CLR Fund’s mission is to support research and policy efforts to prevent technological risks facing our civilization. The priority areas are decision theory and bargaining, specific AI alignment approaches, fail-safe architectures, macrostrategy research, AI governance, as well as social science research on conflicts and moral circle expansion.
Take a Pledge to Donate in the Future
There is significant value in precommiting to continuing to donate in the future.
There are a few formats the pledge can take:
The Pledge, a 10% lifetime commitment of income for professionals, or 1% commitment of spending money for students and the unemployed.
The Try Giving pledge, a temporary commitment for those who want to test the waters before taking the lifetime pledge.
The Further Pledge, a lifetime commitment of more than 10% of one’s income, either a fixed percentage of one’s income or everything earned above some income amount.