What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all felt pressured into it at some time or another. Maybe by a stranger, or by a naïve but well-intentioned close friend. And maybe you’ve felt the pang of guilt when you’ve given in, despite knowing it wasn’t the right choice, and regretted it later.
It hurts to make bad charitable donations.
Effective Altruism is all about doing the most good with your time, money and resources. But what about doing the most good for you? Giving to charity is often fraught with preconceptions, guilt, and social pressures, and if you care about doing the most good with your dollar, the pressures can be even more complicated (analysis paralysis, anyone?). And sometimes the most effective causes aren’t intrinsically the sexiest (I’m talking to you, deworming). Make giving easier and more fun with these five tips in mind:
Do it with someone else
Altruism is contagious, and more fun with other people. Not only is social giving a great way to make you feel like you and your significant other/friend/Facebook acquaintance are on the same team (a badass, world-saving team), peer effects (like peer pressure, but without the guilt and smoking) will make you enjoy giving so much more, and be much more likely to give again.
Make sure it’s what you really want
Have you ever dropped money in a fundraiser’s tin just to make them go away? Or because refusing to give money to a 10-year old Girl Guide collecting for the Red Cross feels about as criminal as first-degree murder? (Having previously been that Girl Guide, I apologise on behalf of cute kids everywhere). Giving doesn’t feel as good when we feel forced into it. And as with certain other important activities, consent is sexy. We enjoy giving when we feel like it was a choice we made, not an obligation or chore.
Get up close and personal
When it comes down to it, we homo sapiens connect with people and stories, not numbers. So even if you’ve done the number crunching and determined that a given organisation is the optimal recipient of your finite resources, make sure you learn who you’re helping, and how.
Do it frequently
Rather than donating once a year, try breaking up the same size donation into 12 chunks and setting up a repeat donation once a month. Not only do you get cool emails thanking you for being an excellent human and saving babies’ lives literally TWELVE TIMES AS OFTEN, it’s also a subtle but frequent reminder of why donating to charity is important to you.