A common question that comes up in the effective giving community is whether we should give to the best charities we can find now, or invest our money in order to give away a larger sum to the best charity we can find in the future.
A brief treatment of this topic is available on an old blog post of mine, and a fuller treatment of the considerations at donating versus investing. While this is a tricky question to answer, our current recommendation for donors focussed on global poverty is to give now.
The key reasons for this are:
We find these reasons quite compelling. However, we understand that reasonable people may disagree with this conclusion. For example, they may be more optimistic about the prospects for better giving opportunities to be identified using emerging strategies, like mass media education, or novel technologies such as vaccines for important diseases. This essay on Rational Altruist provides a well-thought through alternative view. For this reason, we are in the process of setting up a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) that would help combine the best of both approaches. Giving to our DAF means that:
Unfortunately, to begin with, it will only be available to UK members but we hope to expand to other jurisdictions in the future. This blog will feature more information about how to give to our DAF in the near future, and this page will track any changes in our advice on when to give.
I look forward to hearing your view on the relative merits of giving now, versus investing and giving in the future!
Funds / Organisations you select will show up here