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Giving What We Can's blog, featuring the latest news from our community.

Charity begins at home; shouldn't we solve our own problems before helping others?

As individuals, we are not able to help everyone in need and so we must make difficult decisions about where we use our resources. One way of making such a decision might be to favour people who live locally. After all, there’s no shortage of people — even in the wealthiest countries — who need and deserve our help. We may be especially well-placed to attend to the needs of those near to us. Yet, while there may be some benefits to making local donations, it is in general vastly more cost-effective to support interventions in low-income countries.

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Do effective altruists only value short-term, measurable outcomes?

People in the effective altruism movement often support organisations doing direct work with easily measurable outcomes. After all, effective altruists try to make evidence-based decisions whenever possible, and it's difficult to find evidence supporting interventions with very indirect, long-term, and/or abstract consequences. This has led to the misconception that people in the effective altruism movement only care about short-term, measurable change. In fact, many effective altruists care about outcomes that are harder to measure and are supportive of working towards systemic change.

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Don’t we spend too much on foreign aid already?

In 2016, 30 of the largest providers of foreign aid (a group known as the Development Assistance Committee) gave a total of $142.6 billion, a sum so large that it is difficult to truly comprehend. Yet, while it’s no doubt a large number, it is only 0.32% of the combined national income of those countries — that's three dollars in aid out of every thousand. The amount that wealthy countries spend on foreign aid is generally just a tiny fraction of their budgets.

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April 2021 Newsletter

Our April newsletter contains information about: our member motivations survey; upcoming events (including World Malaria Day); ways you can help spread effective giving in your workplace; updates from our community; and news about our top priority cause areas.

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If I pay my taxes, why should I also give to charity?

Most people around the world pay a significant portion of their income in taxes to support government services. Fulfilling this large, obligatory payment can feel like a significant financial burden, and perhaps make people feel complacent about the need for charitable giving. However, while tax revenue can fund important social services, taxes are not a replacement for charity.

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