Charity Elections FAQ


How are schools selected?

Schools are selected on a rolling basis in accordance with (a) strength of responses on the application, and (b) the date of application submission, with a preference for early submissions.

Students, teachers, and schools are all welcome to apply.

Do schools have to fundraise to run an election?

No. The sponsorship from Giving What We Can means that schools can run the election without fundraising.

Can schools raise their own funds?

Yes. The amount raised increases the worth of each ballot cast in the election. If schools raise enough funds to sponsor the full election, they can allow Giving What We Can to provide sponsorship to another school.

If a school has already run an election, can it run another?

Yes. Schools are provided with a different combination of charities each year they run an election.

When is the deadline to apply for sponsorship?

The deadline to apply for sponsorship is at least one month before the election would be held. Applicants are notified within two weeks of applying if sponsorship has been secured for their school.

When does the election take place?

The default voting week is in early December, but schools can elect to run the event any time of the year if the Sponsorship Application is submitted at least one month prior to their school’s event.

What resources allow students and teachers to run charity elections?

All of the information needed is contained in a short handbook and slideshow. If your school is awarded sponsorship, you will receive a handbook and slideshow customised to your school. The handbook includes resources for student leaders, such as posters that can be printed and displayed in the hallways. The slideshow allows teachers to easily facilitate voting, with 100% of the curriculum contained to short bullets on each of the 10 slides.

What are the requirements for schools to participate in a charity election?

Schools are required to give all students enrolled in participating classes the option to vote in their school’s event. Participating students are required to abide by the code of conduct, and teachers are expected to hold students accountable to this code to ensure the election is a positive experience for all. Teachers are also encouraged to support students in applying the 10 student competencies throughout their research and discussion of the charities on the ballot.


How were the charities selected?

Please see the homepage for more information on our selection methodology.

What organisation sponsors charity elections? Can I sponsor a charity election?

Giving What We Can will sponsor charity elections for a limited number of schools in 2023, but charity elections can also be sponsored by community groups who share our mission of inspiring a culture of giving and giving effectively.

If you would like to sponsor a charity election or help us bring charity elections to more schools around the world, you can submit a donation via this page. If you would like the donation used in a particular way, please contact us at

Schools can also sponsor their own charity elections, as described above.


What does it mean to "expand one’s moral circle"?

The moral circle is “the imaginary boundary we draw around those we consider worthy of moral consideration." According to Vox, it has generally expanded throughout human history. The Charity Elections programme was designed to help students think critically about and expand their own moral circles, developing compassion for others regardless of their remoteness from us in location, heritage, species, time, or other differences.

How do the elections relate to effective altruism?

Effective altruism (EA) is the project of using evidence and reason to figure out how to best contribute to helping others, and taking action on that basis. It seeks to "combine the head and the heart," inspiring those who want to do good to seek out the greatest possible positive impact.

The charity election programme is related to EA in that students are empowered to think critically about how to best contribute to helping others, by making an informed vote with resources that facilitate a high-quality and accessible process of research and discussion (e.g., research worksheet). All of the charities have been designated as highly effective by independent charity evaluators such as GiveWell and ACE, except for occasional cases such as when an independent charity evaluator itself is listed on the ballot.

Please see our Community page for more information about EA.

Where can I learn more about concepts like the above?

You can download our Effective Giving Guide for other concepts related to giving and giving effectively, and one of our team members gave a TEDx Talk on lessons from effective altruism.

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