First, plan your research

  • Do you trust someone else? If you know someone who shares your values and has already put a lot of thought into where to give, then consider simply going with their recommendations.
  • If you have under $10,000 to give, consider entering a donor lottery.It’s now possible to put $5,000 into a fund with other small donors, in exchange for a 5% chance of being able to choose where $100,000 from that fund gets donated.
  • If you’re going to do your research, decide how much research to do. The more you’re giving as a percentage of your annual income, the more time it’s worth spending doing research. Roughly speaking, a 1% donation might be worth a few hours’ work, while a 50% donation could be worth a month of research.

Second, when choosing an organization, what steps should you take?

  • Decide which global problems are most pressing.
  • Find the best organizations within your top 2-3 problem areas. Look for charities which are well-run, have a great team and potential to grow, and are working on a justified program.
  • If you have to break a tie, choose the one that’s furthest from meeting its funding needs.

Bear in mind that the process for evaluating a large organization is different from evaluating a startup. With large, stable organizations, you can try to extrapolate forward from their recent performance. With new and rapidly growing organizations, what matters is the long-term potential upside.

Read the full article about choosing an effective charity by Ben Todd at 80000 Hours.