Giving to charity is great, not just for the recipients but for the givers, too.
But it can be intimidating to know how to pick the best charity, especially when there are thousands of worthy causes to choose from. Here are a few simple tips that can help.
- Check in with charity recommenders – It’s of course possible to research charity options yourself, but it’s probably better to outsource that labor to a careful, methodologically rigorous charity recommender like GiveWell.
- Pick charities with research-based strategies – GiveWell’s recommendations rely heavily on both evaluations done by charitable organizations and existing research literature on the kind of intervention the charities are trying to conduct.
- Give abroad – It’s really hard to adequately express how much richer developed nations like the US are than developing ones like Kenya, Uganda, and other countries targeted by GiveWell’s most effective charities. We still have extreme poverty, in the living-on-$2-a-day sense, but it’s comparatively pretty rare and hard to target effectively.
- Consider meta-charities – Another option is giving to groups like GiveWell, Innovations for Poverty Action, the Life You Can Save, Giving What We Can, and 80,000 Hours that evaluate development approaches/charities and encourage effective giving. Suppose that every dollar given to Giving What We Can — which encourages people to pledge to donate at least 10 percent of their income until retirement — results in $1.20 in donations to the Against Malaria Foundation.
- Saving lives isn’t everything – If you only care about reducing early mortality and giving people more years to live, then you should give all your donations to the Against Malaria Foundation, the Malaria Consortium, or Helen Keller International.
- Don’t give to a big charity – You’ll notice that all of the charities GiveWell recommends are reasonably small, and some big names are absent. That’s not an accident.
- Maybe just give money directly to poor people – One of the main charities I support is GiveDirectly, which is the only cause outside public health to get GiveWell’s top rating, and, to my knowledge, the only charity devoted to unconditional cash transfers.
Read the full article about doing the most good with your donations at Vox.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for Philanthropy (Other), take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and Philanthropy (Other).
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