If you want to do as much good as possible, you need to make sure you're solving important problems. Our recommended charities work in a variety of cause areas that we've selected based on the potential impact a donor could make.
Our current recommended causes focus on global health and development, improving animal welfare, safeguarding the long-term future and promoting effective altruism. By supporting these high-impact cause areas, you can make an enormous difference.
As individuals, we all have limited resources and can't support every worthy cause. We therefore have to make some difficult decisions about where we spend our resources.
Our high-impact cause areas were chosen to maximise how much of a difference your donations can make, based on three factors:
Scale: A cause area that is large in scale is one that affects many individuals and affects them a lot.
Neglectedness: A cause area that is neglected is not getting the attention or funding it needs, and so is likely to be high-priority.
Tractability: The easier it is to address or solve the problem, the more tractable it is. A cause area that has tractable solutions means there is a reasonable likelihood of making progress.
Generally, donors can maximise their impact by supporting cause areas that are large-scale, neglected, and tractable.
We have identified four cause areas that we think provide especially promising opportunities to do good:
- Global health and development
- Improving animal welfare
- Safeguarding the long-term future
- Advocating for effective altruism
Supporting charities working in these areas will allow you to maximise the impact of your donor dollars. Which causes you should support depends on your worldview and your values — we recommend reading the profiles linked below to help inform your priorities.
If you want to help people alive today, supporting global health and development is a pressing matter. There are millions of people in low-income countries whose lives could be improved (and even saved, in some cases) by evidence-based, cost-effective interventions.
Here are the specific causes within the area of global health and development that we recommend supporting:
Learn more about improving global health and development.
If you want to reduce the suffering in the world, regardless of who experiences it, animal advocacy might be the right cause for you. Every year around 31 billion land animals are raised and slaughtered in factory farms, while countless animals suffer needlessly in the wild.
Here are the specific causes within the area of improving animal welfare that we recommend supporting:
Learn more about improving animal welfare.
If you’d like to protect future generations, you should consider how to safeguard the long-term future. Most of the work in this area involves preventing global catastrophes and making our world more resilient.
Here are the specific causes safeguarding the long-term future that we recommend supporting:
- Addressing climate change
- Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness
- Promoting beneficial artificial intelligence
- Improving nuclear security
Learn more about safeguarding the long-term future.
Maybe you support all of the causes on this page. Or maybe you’re especially passionate about research, outreach, or changing societal norms surrounding charity. If that’s the case, you might want to support the growth of effective altruism.
Effective altruism is a movement and set of ideas about using reason and evidence to do as much good as possible, and taking action on that basis. Advocating for effective altruism can involve building the effective altruism community, developing ideas around how to be most effective with our resources, or encouraging others to be more effective in their altruism.
We recommend the following causes within the area:
- Community building for effective altruism
- Conducting and communicating effective altruist research
- Promoting effective giving
- Global priorities research
Learn more about advocating for effective altruism.
This page was written by Michael Townsend.
We appreciate any and all feedback that can help improve our work. Please let us know what you thought of this page and provide any suggestions for improvement using our content feedback form.
Note that our list of promising cause areas is neither exhaustive nor final. They will continue to evolve as circumstances change, research develops, and organisations branch out into new areas. We will continually update these pages as promising new cause areas emerge. ↩︎