People

Our 614 members all come from all kinds of backgrounds and work in all kinds of jobs, but they are united by their commitment to eradicating poverty in the developing world. Read about some of their reasons for joining here. A full list of our members is available here. If you would like to talk to one of our members about being a part of Giving What We Can, please contact us.

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    "I am donating 50% of my income to charity"
    — Parmeet Shah
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    "My motivation comes from a desire to help people worse off than me."- Gerry
    — Gerry Mugford
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    "I really like that I’m part of a group of people, not church-related, who have committed to give."- Selena
    — Selena McCoy
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    "I now think of my future not in terms of making money and having fun, but in terms of making the world a better place"- Aaron
    — Aaron Gertler
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    "It feels really satisfying to give. Donating each month, each time feels like making the most important spending of the month."- Joeri
    — Joeri Kooimans
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    "Every month I donate 10% of my salary by direct debit – and my employer matches this amount." - Rob
    — Rob
  • X
    "I earn about £10,000 pa and I've been giving 10% for the past 10 years and have found that it's ample for me." - Bobby
    — Bobby Mitchell
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    "I couldn't escape the conclusion that I ought to do more." - Aveek
    — Aveek Bhattacharya
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    "Giving is, and will continue to be, a fundamental part of my life." - Becky
    — Becky Cotton-Barratt
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    "I think cost-effectiveness is the most important factor when choosing a charity." - Boris
    — Boris Yakubchik
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    "I'm a Christian, and like most or all religious traditions, mine has quite a bit to say in favour of giving." - Catriona
    — Catriona Mackay
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    "I firmly believe that every pound raised for charity should be spent in the most effective way." - Clare
    — Clare Morris
  • X
    “I'm excited to be a part of this movement. I hope that more and more people will take the evidence-based approach to charity." - James
    — James Hudspeth
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    "The Giving What We Can article in the Guardian really challenged me to 'up my game'." - Jane
    — Jane Martin
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    "What I love about Giving What We Can is that it shows you that ordinary people in ordinary jobs – like me! - can actually make a difference." - Jenny
    — Jenny Jacobs
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    "I have always wanted to help people!" - Joey
    — Joey Savoie
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    "We have been giving since before our children were born so they don't notice any change in our standard of living." - Judith
    — Judith Burchardt
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    "I think once giving becomes a habit, it stops being stressful and starts being fun!" - Julia
    — Julia Wise
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    "My income is less than average. I donate at least 10% of it, yet I still go on nights out, and go to as many Liverpool matches as I can." - Lee
    — Lee Bishop
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    "What drew me to Giving What We Can is its emphasis on high-quality evidence and cost-effectiveness." - Mark
    — Mark Lee
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    "As a child, I was astonished by some of the poverty I saw, but there was also a more pleasant surprise - the enormous buying power of Western money." - Neil
    — Neil Sinhababu
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    "This was a decision we took as a family, because we fundamentally believe it is the morally right thing to do." - Stephen
    — Stephen Walker
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    "When I read about Giving What We Can in a newspaper article it just made perfect sense." - Tom
    — Tom Greenway
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    "Donating ten per cent of our incomes can allow us to save lives with money that we may not need." - Sameer
    — Sameer Agrawal
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Parmeet Shah
Parmeet works at his family's real estate business in India.

I studied some philosophy at university, and first came across Peter Singer’s work there. I’d always wanted to work out what the point of life was, and how I could help the world, so these ideas naturally resonated with me.

I’ve always felt a little confused about what I should be doing. My family owns a large real estate business in India called Marathon Realty, so I’d assumed for most of my life that I would go into business. But I was also concerned about whether this was the best way to make a difference and help other people. When I spoke to 80,000 hours, Giving What We Can’s sister organisation, I learned about the prospective impact I could have by becoming a businessman and donating a lot to charity, which did a lot to reassure me in my choice of joining my family’s company.

I’m currently doing a masters in real estate development in the US, but will move permantly back to India in June to take over the family business. In the long term, I’d like to start up my own charity, preferably fighting depression, the area in which I’m most interested. Until I do that I will be donating to the charities Giving What We Can recommends. I am donating 50% of my income to charity, and I feel motivated by the thought that what I spend beyond basic necessities can save many lives if I gave it away.

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Gerry Mugford
Gerry is a language teacher living in Guatalajara, Mexico.

I work as teacher trainer / language teacher in Guadalajara, Mexico. I regard giving to charity as part of my religious duty as a Catholic – I don’t think that it is that a big deal although sometimes I do forget. That’s a pretty poor excuse when I think about the people who could really use my donation.

My motivation comes from an on-and-off desire to help people worse off than me. That’s why Giving What We can is a pretty good set-up – it helps me to remember. Hopefully I can keep it up – I have been a member for four years (I think) and I would really like to start a chapter here in Guadalajara. I usually give to SCI and sometimes to AMF. I think Giving What We Can is really important in helping provide informed choices.

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Selena McCoy
Selena works for the Mennonite Central Committee, which is a relief, peace and development agency. She lives with her husband and two children.

I believe that I joined Giving What We Can in 2010. I joined because I have been a lifelong tither through the church and I thought it was really interesting that there was a non-religious organization committed to doing what my church had been preaching for so long. While Giving What We Can doesn’t feature in my daily life, I really like that I’m part of a group of people, not church-related, who have committed to give.

I don’t often tell people that I give away 10% of my income. However, when asked in person about how much I give, I am usually met with shock, not necessarily disagreement about what I do. And for me—I’m shocked when I find out how very little people give away. I wish more people would make the commitment – most people that I know (in the US) can easily give 10% away & not even change their lifestyle. We Americans tend to be quite uncomfortable giving up control and I think that’s something that people fear when they commit to giving on a consistent basis.

I love what GWWC is doing & am happy to support the vision.

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Aaron Gertler
Aaron Gertler is a student at Yale University (class of 2015) studying cognitive science. Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, he also writes for various publications and serves on the board of the Yale Humanist Community.

When I was a freshman in college, I was lucky enough to hear Thomas Pogge discuss Peter Singer's drowning-child parable. That story woke me up to the fact that "making the world a better place" was something I could start doing right away, using the best advice of other thoughtful people to guide me, rather than waiting to figure out everything on my own.

I'm still a student, but my life has changed a lot since that day. I now think of my future not in terms of making money and having fun, but in terms of making the world a better place--for all people, in all places. After all, it's only an accident of birth that I'm the wealthy American and not the drowning child!

One of my favorite things about being a Giving What We Can member is that you don't need to be a high-rolling financier or brilliant professor to make a difference; something as simple as donating in public and telling the world about your choice can contribute to saving thousands of lives. So here I am--donating in public, and telling the world. I hope you'll consider joining us! And if you have any questions for me, I'm happy to talk: aaron.gertler@yale.edu.

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Joeri Kooimans
Joeri is a philosophy student and part-time social worker from the Netherlands.

I’ve been a member of Giving What We Can since 23rd of march 2013. I see the signing of the pledge and giving to effective charities as one of the most important decisions of my life. I donate between 10 and 20 percent of my income each month. My income varies, and so does by consequence the amount I give. I donate most of my money to SCI and a part of my pledge-amount to AMF. Occasionally I also donate to GiveDirectly.

It feels really satisfying to give. Donating each month, each time feels like making the most important spending of the month. I sometimes get concerned when I buy things I don’t really need and I worry about the circumstances in which certain products are made. When I give, I feel that I'm doing something responsible, effective and useful. I’d rather spend a lot of money on charity then on luxury items and activities.

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Rob
Rob is a technology consultant living in Belfast.

I’m a technology consultant living in Belfast – although in reality work means that I travel around so much I’m almost never in Belfast. As a result I live wherever work takes me Monday-Friday and spend weekends visiting friends all over the UK.

I first found out about Giving What We Can when I was at university – I’d never given a lot to charity before, but when I found out how cheap it was to help others I was convinced. Unlike many other members I didn’t have any specific religious or philosophical motivation to become a member – for me it was as simple as realising that I could help a lot of people without having a big impact on my lifestyle. I did find it reassuring to know other members that managed to keep the pledge whilst living a normal, sociable life.

Every month I donate 10% of my salary by direct debit – and my employer matches this amount. On top of this if I manage a particularly frugal month I make an extra donation. I like using this system, as it combines an automatic donation that I don’t have to worry about and deliberate donations that help remind me about giving.

I try to be open being a member of Giving What We Can, while trying not to preach about giving. At first I thought this would be a difficult line to toe, but I’ve actually found it very comfortable. Whenever the pledge comes up in conversation I answer people’s questions honestly and they tend to be interested.

Taking the pledge has improved my life enormously – it has introduced me to a new community of people and made me feel that I have a positive impact on the world. I recently took a pay-cut in order to move into a more exciting career, and at this point I was tempted to suspend my pledge – however with the benefit of hindsight I am immensely glad that I continued to donate.

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Bobby Mitchell
Bobby is an artist and cleaner, living in Reading.

I like to give for a number of reasons. Mainly because there are people all over the world far worse off than me, in desperate circumstances, and I want to help in some way. But I also find that giving benefits me too. It reminds me that my life, my time and my money are not my own. Life is a gift, and is temporary and it reminds me to be thankful and to not get too attached. Giving also reminds me that life is not about me, other people's pain is just as real as my own. I'm also a Christian and I have faith that God is good and that it will benefit me more in the long run if I give. Plus giving just makes you feel good too, so really I'm quite a selfish giver! ;)

I earn about £10,000 pa which I know is relatively low compared to most in the UK, but I've been giving 10% for the past 10 years and have found that it's ample for me. It can get a bit tight at times, but I don't need much, I don't drive, I'm single, no kids, and after the basics of rent, bills and food, I find I have plenty left over for treats and saving for retirement.

I heard about Giving What We Can through a video called "Global Poverty: Why should we care?", and was startled to learn how much more effective some charities are than others. Then, as I was already giving 10%, I thought it'd be nice to add my contributions to the Giving What We Can tally. Plus it's nice to feel a part of something greater. Giving in isolation, you can feel a little ineffective at times.

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Aveek Bhattacharya
Aveek Bhattachya is strategy consultant who studied ethics at University

Though it might sound naive or selfish, I don’t think it really occurred to me that the plight of the global poor might be my problem before I studied ethics at university. As I thought more about morality, I couldn't escape the conclusion that I ought to do more. Encountering Giving What We Can introduced me to people who struggled with the same issues, who shared similar values, and had a clear idea of how to approach this seemingly intractable problem.

It seems to me that the distribution of wealth in the world today involves a double tragedy. On the one hand, the very poorest lack the resources to meet their basic human needs, in terms of food, shelter, medical care and the like. On the other, many of those in the rich world fritter away the money that could improve this situation on things that fail to bring them happiness or fulfillment. I have resolved to give away 10% of my income as a strategy consultant to the most effective charities, as evaluated by Giving What We Can. In the future I am open to increasing this share.

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Becky Cotton-Barratt
Becky works with admissions at Oxford University's maths department, and has just gained her PhD in complexity science.

Although I don't know what I want to do in the future, it's good to know that I'm doing what I can within my current means to help people.

As a young person and then a student, you get by on little to no income and so making this pledge then, at that stage in my life showed very clearly and firmly in my mind that giving was, and will continue to be, a fundamental part of my life. I found living on a student income to be well within my means, so I don't think I'll particularly feel any monetary regret or envy. After all you can't miss what you haven't had!

I was very surprised, and quite shocked, by the difference in efficiency between charities. As part of my research I dealt with huge orders of magnitude, but to actually be confronted with such numbers when considering charity efficiency is astounding. I feel very strongly that the work Giving What We Can is doing should be broadcast from every rooftop. People should be able to make easy, informed choices about where they donate money, and Giving What We Can is doing an excellent job in facilitating these decisions.

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Boris Yakubchik
Boris is a maths teacher, living with his girlfriend in Old Bridge, New Jersey.

I was convinced that giving should be a part of my life by Peter Singer's "Famine, Affluence, and Morality". By then I was giving charitably, and it made sense to increase the amount. I want to make the world a better place, and there's nothing I can buy for myself for $5 that's of equivalent value to an anti-malaria bednet to a family that needs it.

I think cost-effectiveness is the most important factor when choosing a charity. Furthermore, it's a specific application of a more general perspective that seems to be the most rational approach to problem solving. Because of this, I try to encourage more people to give charitably, and to give more cost-effectively. I am giving 50% of my income to Against Malaria Foundation. I discovered that I can very comfortably live on 50% of my income: the best things in life are free (a loving relationship, friends, family) or cheap (books, internet readings, Netflix movies). Knowing there is a community of others who are doing the same motivates me to keep giving, and it feels magnificent.

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Catriona Mackay
Catriona Mackay is a civil servant, living in London, UK, with her husband and her cat.

Since my early teens I've been excited about how much more good you can do by choosing the right charities, but it was only when I discovered Giving What We Can in my mid-thirties that I started giving a substantial proportion of my income.

I'm a civil servant for four days a week, and try to cram far too much into the rest of my time; writing fiction, volunteering for Giving What We Can, learning new things (Hindi, psychology and statistics at the time of writing), reading Shakespeare plays aloud with my friends, playing Bridge, good food, good wine. At first I was concerned that giving 10% would get in the way of some of these things, but I've found that it's easy to have a comfortable and even luxurious lifestyle on 90% of my part-time, public sector salary.

I'm a Christian, albeit a slightly confused and atypical one. Like most or all religious traditions, mine has quite a bit to say in favour of giving. I love the parable of the widow's mite: "As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others’ ..."

Whatever the original meaning of this story, the message of Giving What We Can makes it true in a literal way. A small donation to a cost effective charity really can make a bigger difference than a huge donation to an average charity.

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Clare Morris
Clare Morris is a Masters student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, originally from Lancashire.

A few years ago I joined a team of twenty medics on the Sahara Health Initiative. We were in Algeria working in refugee camps, helping children with Trachoma infections. It was heart breaking seeing people who were already having to contend with dire poverty, heat and drought suffering under this added burden. Knowing how easily cured Trachoma is with the right medication, I realised I wanted to do whatever I could to get those tablets into the mouths of the children who need them – whether that meant encouraging companies to donate the medication, or donating to the charities who distribute it.

After working at Oxfam in the health policy team I joined Giving What We Can last year because I firmly believe that every pound raised for charity should be spent in the most effective way. Treatments for Neglected Tropical Diseases are the best health buys available, and it’s important to make sure more people know about them! I’m glad that by giving 10% of my income I can save lives and massively benefit the health of those who aren’t as fortunate as me.

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James Hudspeth
James Hudspeth is a doctor in Boston

My support for Giving What We Can intertwines with my profession and my ethics - as a doctor who works with a partial immigrant population in Boston as well as in the international setting (mostly Haiti), the reality of marked global disparities in wealth and health is frequently on my mind. I came to work in global health in part through the influence of thinkers like Thomas Pogge and Paul Farmer, and I find that the notions that underlie Giving What We Can are quite in keeping with the intellectual strands that I liked within their writings. Making a commitment to support the global poor, to reduce global disparities, and to deploy your efforts in the ways best supported by evidence - it just makes sense to me.

I first heard about Giving What We Can in 2011 and was immediately taken with the notion. Charities in the present marketplace are forced to become businesses of a sort - they advertise their success to obtain more funding to push forward their solution, and once they have momentum, it's difficult for them to shift course, regardless of what comes out of their efforts. Joining systematic review of charities to determine the ideal targets for donation with a commitment to actually target my charitable giving appealed heavily, and in short order I signed up.

My donations constitute 15% of my pre-tax income, and are largely to Deworm the World (with some to SCI and RESULTS when it was a targeted charity). I do count some donations to Partners in Health as well, in
recognition that there are benefits to groups that provide both advocacy as well as research efforts that in turn change the path of global health. But those are tough things to capture with any metric.

I'm excited to be a part of this movement. I hope that more and more people will take the evidence-based approach to charity that Giving What We Can does; I certainly encourage my friends to consider joining!

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Jane Martin
Jane works as a nurse in Brighton, and lives with her husband and cats.

Although I have given to charity for as long as I can remember the article in the Guardian really challenged me to 'up my game' and look at how much I could achieve over my working life through regular giving. Looking at this in terms of lives saved was a real motivator. I feel that the money I give away is the 'best money' I spend each month. As a Christian giving away a tenth of my income is part of 'loving my neighbour'. It's not something I've found easy to do, so I've found it really encouraging to be part of Giving What We Can and hear about other people's experiences. I believe it is better to give than to receive, and it does make us happy!

I have looked at how much a tenth of my income comes to and then divided it across various charities. Some is left unallocated so that I can respond to one off requests, such as emergency appeals. I was impressed by Giving What We Can’s analysis of the effectiveness of different charities and have been pleased to support AMF. I also support other charities, such as child sponsorship.

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Jenny Jacobs
Jenny works at Harrogate Borough Council and lives with her two sons.

I live in Harrogate with my older job-seeking son and (when he’s home from university) my younger student son. I work four days a week for the local authority, and have a part-time second job. Although I’ve always given to charity and done a bit of volunteering in the past, it was only recently that I felt impelled to try to make a difference in the world. For years I’d felt a dissatisfaction with the way the country was being run, and I didn’t think there was much I personally could do about it. Then I read “The Spirit Level” by Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett, went to a conference addressed by Marcus Borg, and started thinking about what I could do, as I was getting tired of my own constant whinging!What I love about Giving What We Can is that, through the various resources I found on the website, it shows you that ordinary people in ordinary jobs – like me! - can actually make that difference and can maximise the value of donating by giving to the most cost-effective charities out there. That’s important to me, as I earn an average salary, so I’m not in the same league as the Bill Gates and Warren Buffetts of this world. I want to do the most good I can for the money I have available. I joined Giving What We Can in January 2012 and it’s become second nature now, not something I think about all the time, although the first couple of donations felt momentous. Mostly I’ve supported AMF, and also SCI; I’ve also taken advantage of “The Big Give” which multiplies my impact by matching my donations. I haven’t told lots of people what I’m doing, but one friend has challenged me about the way we make our names public. He’s a Christian and thinks that when you donate, it should be in secret – "your right hand shouldn’t know what your left hand is doing" (Matthew 6 vv 3-4). But I’m not giving for personal reward; I’m giving to have a positive effect on the lives of others.If everyone can see that it’s possible to have an ordinary job and an ordinary salary and still be able to donate 10% of it, they might think about doing the same and doing that amount of good themselves. So there’s a good reason for publicity. Since joining Giving What We, instead of saving a larger amount in a building society, I’m now saving a much smaller amount as an additional pension contribution. I don’t eat out as much or buy as much stuff. On the whole I’ve not had to make major changes to my lifestyle, and in fact, joining has in fact been extremely beneficial for me: I feel empowered now when I didn't before. I know I am making a difference. We don’t need to wait for someone else to sort out the inequalities of the world and set it to rights – each one of us can get cracking and start making a difference right now.

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Joey Savoie
Joey is an entrepreneur and activist living in Vancouver.

I have always wanted to help people, which expressed itself as being heavily involved in anti-bullying in primary school. When I was older I watched documentaries on global poverty and problems in the developing world. This prompted me to expand my concerns and become a global activist. I feel deep empathy for those who suffer regardless of what country they're from. I have been a member of the Giving What We Can for over a year and in that time have learned a lot of ways to improve my ability help many people.

I plan on using my career to do as much good as I can, mostly based around inspiring people to consider effectiveness when deciding how they can help people. My career will also involve donating anything I make over 25,000 and 10% or more of everything I make under that. I primarily donate to Giving What We Can’s and Givewell’s top recommended charities, but also donate to animal rights causes. It is easy to keep my pledge because I have a community and friends and family that both support and donate themselves. Even working at minimum wage I could donate 10% and still live in the richest 5% of the world population!

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Judith Burchardt
Judith is a GP living in Reading.

My husband Jeremy and I joined Giving What We Can in 2010 because we want the world to be a fairer better place for the poorest and most vulnerable people in it. We have rich lives with work, children, family and friends, interests and music and would like everyone to share in those possibilities. However we think it is unacceptable that there is so much unnecessary unfairness in the world, and we wanted to do something practical and direct to address that.

I enjoy my work as a half-time as a GP in Reading. Jeremy is a history lecturer at the University of Reading. We have two children aged 5 and 9 who attend the local primary school, and have been giving since before our children were born so they don't notice any change in our standard of living. We chose to live in a smaller house than we could have afforded, which means we have lower outgoings and gives us more flexibility, making it easier for us to do things like participate in Giving What We Can.

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Julia Wise
Julia is a social worker living with her husband in Medford, Massachussets.

I've thought a lot about charitable giving since I was a kid. When I met my husband, Jeff, the Giving What We Can pledge was a new idea to him. I worried it would scare him off, but soon it was important to both of us. The research shows that what most affects people's happiness is their personalities and their social connections, so we prioritize spending time with family and friends. Quality time with them gives us a lot of satisfaction.

My grandmother always gave 10% of her income to charity, which she considered a religious duty. It wasn't a big deal to her – it was just a normal part of her life. I think once giving becomes a habit, it stops being stressful and starts being fun. A few years ago at a party, someone told me that the lives of people who donate a lot must be “very dreary.” I have to laugh when I think of that now! We don't have some of the material things our friends do (cars, big apartments, daily mochas) but we have enough for the things that really matter to us. And through Giving What We Can and similar organizations, I've met some of the most interesting people I know.

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Lee Bishop
Lee Bishop is an administrative assistant at an office in Edinburgh, he is originally from Runcorn.

I started giving to charity when I was still in school. I've always felt a need to help others and charity was my way to do that. I donated some of my Christmas and Birthday money and I gave 10% of any money I earned. At the time, I gave to and fundraised for charities supporting the homeless. When I read an article on Giving What We Can it was a real eye-opener into the effectiveness of donations. I was amazed at the differences between charities. It’s something I had never been told or really thought about. I took the pledge to give and began giving to the most cost-effective charities. I was always going to give, but after reading about Giving What We Can I felt it was also my responsibility to give effectively. I do still donate to less cost-effective charities, but in much smaller quantities and only in addition to my pledge.

There is an illusion that to give significantly to charity you have to make a massive personal sacrifice. I really don't think that's true. My Grandad once told me "It doesn't matter how much money you earn, whether that is 10k a year or 50k a year, you will always have more or less nothing at the end of the month". By donating 10% of my income I can save lives with money I would have squandered on things I don't need. In fact, I don't think there is anything I could spend my pledge money on that would give me the sense of satisfaction or wellbeing that I experience through giving to charity.

Giving a proportion of my income has got me into work on Monday mornings when the prospect of stacking shelves, painting railings or typing letters didn't quite ignite the same passion as saving lives. My income is less than the UK Average, and I donate at least 10% of it, yet I still do all the things I love. I go on nights out with my friends, and I travel down to as many Liverpool matches at Anfield as I possibly can. I'm not a professional philanthropist, though I admire those who are. I could give more than I do, I could cut back more, but I've found a level of giving that I am at peace with. My hope is that Giving What We Can will continue to help people realise that regular cost-effective giving can make a phenomenal difference to those who need it without requiring a complete lifestyle change.

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Mark Lee
Mark Lee is a non-profit director based in New York, US.

I found Toby Ord's academic website and read his thesis. We corresponded over email about high impact careers and he mentioned he would be launching Giving What We Can soon! It was right up my alley, having read Peter Singer's work on global poverty, and I took the pledge (and then the Further Pledge).

What drew me to Giving What We Can is its emphasis on high-quality evidence and cost-effectiveness. I'm always thinking about how I can increase my positive impact - it can be challenging to donate 100x more, but relatively effortless to donate 100x more effectively, which comes out to the same thing. The bottom line is how much we help others, not how much of a sacrifice we have to make. Giving cost-effectively is a clear win.

I also like the idea of giving now rather than later. As my career progresses, my income will increase. If I wait to give, I may keep adjusting to higher and higher standards of living (without getting much happier, evidence suggests) and it may be hard to take a huge hit. If I give now, my income will still increase, it'll just increase less quickly. It's all uphill from here!

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Neil Sinhababu
Neil is an assistant professor at National University of Singapore.

As a child, I went to India several times to visit my relatives. I was astonished by the poverty I saw, both in the cities and in the countryside. There was also a more pleasant surprise -- the enormous buying power of Western money. By contributing to the most cost-effective solutions to global poverty, I can use the latter tool to solve the former problem.

If my father had scored 1% less on an exam at the end of high school, he wouldn't have received the first of many scholarships that took him to America, giving me all the opportunities that come with being born in a wealthy nation. I know what good fortune this is. Thanks to Giving What We Can, I can use the fruits of my good fortune to help others in truly spectacular ways.

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Stephen Walker
Stephen Walker runs a consultancy business in Canberra, Australia, and lives with his wife and two sons.

I was drawn to the idea of giving after I re-evaluated my career and life trajectory. I was a senior executive leading 600 staff but it wasn’t fulfilling. So I abandoned 24 years as a civil servant and started my own consultancy business. I wanted more time for me, more time for my family and more time to contribute to my community. I used this “me-change” as the trigger to start giving 10% of the gross income from my business to help fight global poverty. Not only that, but as a family, we also decided to start giving 10% of the gross income from my wife’s consultancy business too.

This was a decision we took as a family, because we fundamentally believe it is the morally right thing to do. As a family we’d previously lived for three-years in Thailand where I had managed aspects of the Australian aid program in South East Asia. My youngest son was born in Thailand and we have travelled the region extensively. From a young age, my sons have seen poverty for themselves. Now, at 11 and 14 years of age, they understand the disparity that exists in the world. As such, we do what we can as a family. We make decisions on where we give as a family. For us it’s important but it’s also achievable. These days my sons have even chosen to contribute themselves.

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Tom Greenway
Tom Greenway is the owner of a small publishing company in Worcester, UK, specializing in art books and magazines

I feel that I am at a great stage in life – with a successful and established company – and was looking for a way to start giving something back. When I read about Toby’s ideas and Giving What We Can in a newspaper article it just made perfect sense, especially when it comes to giving as efficiently as possible.

In setting up a business, ensuring that it runs as efficiently as possible is one of the major keys to success, and so a charity organization that runs on similar principles really appealed to me. Everyone just loves to get the maximum ‘bang for their buck’ and in this instance it’s getting the most good work done for your money, which for me gives twice the satisfaction of giving.

I would also like to donate some of my time in the future to help with marketing and spreading the word. I’m sure there are many more people out there just like me who would also love to be part of such a fantastic project that will in turn affect the lives of so many others.

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Sameer Agrawal
Sameer Agrawal is a management consultant, living in London, UK.

I’ve always been interested in having a positive impact with my career. During several trips to the developing world, I witnessed extreme poverty first-hand, standing in stark contrast to the relatively comfortable situation of many in the Western world; it has inspired me to help others. I know what good fortune is, I feel privileged, and am looking for ways to start giving something back.

Donating to charity has always interested me, but I only pledged to give away a substantial portion of my income after discovering Giving What We Can. I’ve been a member since October 2013, having been inspired by close friends who decided to make the step to signing the Pledge.

Many feel that taking the Pledge involves a large personal sacrifice. But I want to remind people of the relatively comfortable position in which most of us live. More than six million children die each year from preventable diseases, and over one billion people lack access to clean drinking water. Donating ten per cent of our incomes can allow us to save lives with money that we otherwise might well spend on items that fail to bring us happiness or fulfillment. It is also widely acknowledged that donating to charity can significantly increase your happiness.

But why sign the Giving What We Can’s pledge in particular? By giving to the most cost-effective charities we can be certain that the money we donate is making a sizeable difference. Having made the decision to give away a portion of my income, I want that money to be used in the most effective way possible. I would not be able to donate a 100x more, but I can make sure, with relatively little effort, that I donate 100x more effectively. We should all be focused not on the sacrifices we are making, but on the impact that our actions actually have.

By making public my commitment to donate ten per cent of my salary, I can hopefully convince others that it’s a small step, and that they can do a similar amount of good themselves. We don’t need to wait for someone else to sort out the inequalities of the world – each one of us can start to make a difference now.


The Team

President - Toby Ord

Toby is the Founder and President of Giving What We Can. He represents Giving What We Can in the media, and provides advice to bodies such as the World Health Organisation, World Bank and the Prime Minister's Office. He is a Research Fellow in Ethics at the University of Oxford. He once made a spherical chess board.

Vice President - William MacAskill

Will is the Vice President of Giving What We Can, and the Active Trustee of the charity of which Giving What We Can is part. He provides strategic advice and guidance. He studied Philosophy at Cambridge and Princeton, and is a Research Associate at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. He thinks basketball is the best thing in the world ever. Except water polo.

Executive Director - Michelle Hutchinson

Michelle sets the strategy for Giving What We Can, coordinates team members and evaluates progress in line with that. She studied Physics and Philosophy, and is finishing a PhD in moral philosophy at Oxford University. She loves dancing and playing Articulate with friends.

Assistant Executive Director - Andreas Mogensen

Andreas is a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He has recently completed a PhD in Philosophy, and has conducted research for Giving What We Can for four years. He has a beard.

Director of Communications - Steph Crampin

Steph manages Giving What We Can's outreach efforts, including events, publicity and media outreach. She graduated with a Maths and Philosophy degree from Oxford, and enjoys running and rowing in her spare time.

Director of Community - Jon Courtney

Jon manages requests from and conversations with current and prospective Giving What We Can members, including our chapters. He has just completed a BPhil in Philosophy from the University of Oxford. He is very Canadian. His beard is nearly as splendid and much more ginger than Andreas's.

Webmaster - Jacob Hilton

Jacob is a PhD student in mathematics at the University of Leeds. He plays Frisbee and the accordion (but not simultaneously).

Blog Manager - Carolina Flores

Carolina is a third year reading Maths and Philosophy at St Hugh's College, Oxford.

Director of Research - Owen Cotton-Barratt

Owen has a PhD in mathematics from the University of Oxford. He has written papers in pure mathematics, voting theory, and moral uncertainty, and was a founding member of Giving What We Can.