No less important than whether to join the Giving Pledge is which charities to give to once you have joined. Many well-intentioned charities fail to have any positive impact, and of those that do, some have far greater positive impact than others, per dollar received. People with money to donate must choose carefully if they want their giving to be cost-effective.

Such striking facts about the ‘cost-effectiveness landscape’ are well-known to members of the Giving Pledge who have been keeping up with the Effective Altruism movement, like Bill and Melinda Gates or billionaire couple Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz. Effective Altruism promotes the use of reason and evidence to work out how to help others the most with limited resources – be it time, money, or effort.

Similarly with charity. Even if it is not morally wrong to decline giving away half of your fortune, it would be wrong to give it to some charities when it’s clear that by giving to others you would be helping substantially more people, and at no extra cost.

Just as the Giving Pledge has successfully inspired many of the wealthiest people to give bigger, an Effective Giving Pledge would help inspire them to give better.

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