Many of us want to make a difference in the world, to take actions that have a real positive impact.
The great news is that your donations can do an astonishing amount of good.
However, not all giving opportunities are equal: you can have hundreds of times more impact depending on where you give.
When you care about solving the world's most pressing problems, it’s natural to ask the question: “Where can my donations do the most good?”.
Our current top recommendation for most donors is to donate through Effective Altruism Funds.
It’s easy, and lets you support the grantmaking of experts in many promising fields.
Keep scrolling to find our list of top recommended individual charities.
1. Identify a promising problem to solve. We find that the most promising problems are generally:
- Bigger (affecting many lives, by a lot)
- More tractable (showing clear ways of making progress)
- Less crowded (needing more funding, lots of low-hanging fruit)
2. Choose an excellent organisation working to solve the problem: We look for indicators like robust evidence, cost-effectiveness, transparency, room for funding, and track record.
However, charity evaluation is a difficult task for most donors to do on their own. To help you get started we’ve put together our giving recommendations.
The right giving opportunity for you will depend greatly on your particular values and circumstances. The following recommendations are roughly in order of ease and applicability to most people.
For most people, we recommend donating to Effective Altruism Funds (EA Funds), as it strikes a good balance between being very easy for donors and highly effective. It helps donors to pool their money together so that they can find outstanding giving opportunities that are evaluated by expert grantmakers. Donations to the Funds are tax-deductible in the US, the UK, and the Netherlands.
Other ways our members give as a community include donor lotteries, giving circles, and giving games.
Another easy way of donating to highly effective charities is to follow the advice of charity evaluators who prioritise effectiveness in their charity reviews. We recommend checking out the following evaluators:
- GiveWell (Global Health & Development)
- Animal Charity Evaluators (Animal Welfare)
- Founders Pledge (Various)
You can donate to many of the charities they recommend in one place using EA Funds.
The best donation advice will vary based on personal circumstances, such as the country you live in (our community has members from 87 countries).
The following grantmaking organisations help donors from around the world to support outstanding charities individually, or to pool their donations together to direct funding to where it is most needed.
Please bear in mind that some giving opportunities can be hundreds of times more effective than others, so it might be best to donate abroad while incurring international fees and missing out on a tax deduction if you believe the international organisation will do more to improve the lives of others.
|EA Funds||Various||🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇳🇱|
|GiveWell||Global Health & Development||🇺🇸|
|Animal Charity Evaluators||Animal Welfare||🇺🇸|
|Long-Term Risk Fund||Long-Term Future||🇩🇪 🇨🇭 🇳🇱|
|Effective Altruism Australia||Global Health & Development||🇦🇺|
|EA Foundation||Various||🇩🇪 🇨🇭 🇳🇱|
|Effective Altruism New Zealand||Global Health & Development||🇳🇿|
|The Life You Can Save||Global Health & Development||🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇦🇺 🇳🇱|
|Fundación Ayuda Efectiva||Global Health & Development||🇪🇸|
|Gi effektivt||Global Health & Development||🇳🇴|
It can be valuable to do your own research to find excellent giving opportunities. If you’re going to do your own research, decide how much research to do based on (a) how much you’re giving; and (b) how much you might give in the future. If you’re giving a lot now, or in the future it can be worth the time invested.
If you’re donating to individual charities we also recommend discussing your options with other people interested in effective giving (such as the Giving What We Can community).
We also recommend donations to the following selected high-impact non-profit organisations. These highly effective charities are selected in collaboration with our evaluation partners and Effective Altruism Funds.
Our recommendations cover a mix of different causes and range from opportunities with robust evidence to some that are more speculative (but potentially higher impact).
You can also use the Effective Altruism Funds platform to donate directly to these charities and non-profit organisations:
- 80,000 Hours (Read more)
- Against Malaria Foundation (Read more)
- Alliance To Feed The Earth In Disasters (ALLFED) (Read more)
- Animal Charity Evaluators (Read more)
- Center on Long-Term Risk (Read more)
- Centre for Effective Altruism (Read more)
- Charity Entrepreneurship: Incubated Charities (Read more)
- Charity Science: General Support (Read more)
- Charity Science: Charity Science Health (Read more)
- Development Media International (Read more)
- END Fund: Deworming Program (Read more)
- Evidence Action: Dispensers for Safe Water (Read more)
- Evidence Action: Deworm the World Initiative (Read more)
- Forethought Foundation (Read more)
- GiveDirectly (Read more)
- Global Catastrophic Risk Institute (Read more)
- Good Food Institute (Read more)
- Helen Keller International: VAS program (Read more)
- Iodine Global Network (Read more)
- Johns Hopkins Center For Health Security (Read more)
- Machine Intelligence Research Institute (Read more)
- Malaria Consortium: SMC only (Read more)
- Nuclear Threat Initiative: Biosecurity Program (Read more)
- Project Healthy Children (Read more)
- Rethink Charity: Unrestricted funding (Read more)
- Rethink Priorities (Read more)
- SCI Foundation (Read more)
- Sightsavers: deworming only (Read more)
- Wild Animal Initiative (Read more)
This interactive chart shows which organisations Giving What We Can members donate to (by number of members who have donated to the organisation).
Donors with specific needs and more money to give can benefit from working with a philanthropic advisor such as Effective Giving. Startup founders may also consider taking the Founders Pledge (they also provide philanthropic advice to their members).
Donating money from your estate to effective charities could help you to leave behind an incredible legacy.
Leaving a gift in your will to charity is typically called a bequest, but can also be known as planned giving. Learn more about making a bequest.
If you’ve made it this far, we hope you’re inspired to give more, and to give more effectively.
Join the Giving What We Can community by taking a pledge to donate a meaningful portion of your income to help improve the lives of others. It can help you to live up to your values, meet like-minded people, and inspire others to follow suit.
Not ready to pledge? You can also donate to an effective charity, sign up to our newsletter, read our blog, attend an event, join an effective altruism group, or get in touch if you’d like to discuss anything.
If you've got any questions, or you need some assistance, we're more than happy to help out! Please get in touch via our contact page, and we'll respond as quickly as possible.