Giving What We Can is an international community of people donating at least 10% of their income to the organisations which can most effectively use it to help others.
I wrote recently about how supporting Fair Trade products when you go shopping may not be the most effective way to help those in poverty. But the idea of making a difference every time you go shopping is an attractive one. And it can still be done.
This week I started Charity Science's latest fundraising challenge, a worldwide challenge designed to raise money for and awareness about extreme poverty. Specifically, the challenge asks you to feed yourself on £1.50 a day, the average amount a poor person in a developing nation has to spend on food.In fact, and rather shockingly, half of the world's population spends less than £1.50 a day. I am doing it for a week, and am excited and apprehensive.
The Global Priorities Project is an Oxford-based think tank that brings the best research to bear on policy areas which are selected for their importance, tractability, and neglectedness. You can find details of their impact and team here. They aim to grow quickly over the next year, making it a particularly exciting time to work with them. The work done now will have a big effect on shaping the direction of their future efforts.
Chapters, for me, do two things really well: first of all, they are a brilliant and very personal form of outreach. Secondly, they're a community. Whereas there are good general Effective Altruism Facebook groups, contact online is very different to making like-minded friends in person, and chapters have always been a brilliant way to meet other members in my city and university.
When many of us think about improving conditions in the developing world, Fair Trade may be one of the first things to come to mind.
But how effective is Fair Trade?
Is paying a premium to slightly increase some farmers' income the best way to tackle poverty? Could our income be spent elsewhere more effectively? What does all of this mean for the sort of society we live in?
At the root of effective altruism is a concern with how best to bring about social change. However, effective altruism discussions rarely distinguish overtly between two different kinds of change: marginal and systemic. It's really important we make this distinction – because it has the potential to profoundly influence some of the choices that we face, and to lead to very different effects.
Let’s face it: while money isn’t everything, not having enough of it certainly isn't much fun. I want to show how you can still have a lot of altruistic impact without a big budget, something that has become a personal project for me.
The idea came from suddenly being in a position where I didn’t have as much money coming in as I did before, but still wanted to make a difference as an effective altruist. While cheerfully using terms like ‘bankrupt’ and ‘skint’ in my blog, I realised I needed to make a vital proviso to this.
I am not poor.
This is the second of our series of charity updates. You can read the first one, on Development Media International, here.
The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) has been one of our top recommended charities for several years now. Our colleagues at Givewell have published an extensive update on SCI recently that was generally very positive and SCI continues to rank among Givewell’s top charities.
In this blog post, we give you an update on their efforts that complements Givewell’s report. You can find more general information about SCI on our website. In our opinion, SCI continues to be one of the most effective charities in the world.