The Life You Can Save

The Life You Can Save

Effective Giving Research & Advocacy

The Life You Can Save works to end extreme global poverty through the power of effective giving.

What problem is The Life You Can Save working on?

Most of us base our giving decisions on the heart: a loved one has suffered from a disease, a friend asks us to invest in a cause, a local organisation asks us to support the community. This personal connection to giving is good and necessary. It’s what inspires charitable donations in the first place.

But truly making an impact also requires the head. We need to base our giving on an objective analysis of what works. We’re short-changing ourselves — let alone the people we’re trying to help — if the charity we choose to support isn’t cost-effective, evidence-based, and well-run.

What does The Life You Can Save do?

The Life You Can Save “makes smart giving simple” by curating a group of nonprofits that save or improve the most lives per dollar. It aims to create a world where everyone has an opportunity to build a better life, and where there’s no suffering or death due to extreme poverty.

The organisation works to inspire people to help the world’s poor and empower them to make the greatest impact possible. In his book, The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty, cofounder Peter Singer argues that if we can provide immense benefit to someone at minimal cost to ourselves, we should do so.

The Life You Can Save website provides tools that make it easy for people to make smart donations, including a curated list of evidence-based charities, in-depth reports on its impact, and a calculator that helps donors see how far their dollars can go in a developing country.

The Life You Can Save was founded by Peter Singer and Charlie Bresler in 2013. It is a 501(c)(3) charity in the United States and has been a charity in Australia since 2019.

What information does Giving What We Can have about the cost-effectiveness of The Life You Can Save?1.

We previously included The Life You Can Save as one of our recommended charities based on Founders Pledge’s extensive evaluation highlighting the cost-effectiveness of Giving Multipliers. We’ve since updated our recommendations to reflect only organisations recommended by evaluators we’ve looked into as part of our 2023 evaluator investigations; while we expect to soon look into Founders Pledge as part of this more in-depth evaluator research, we haven’t yet. As such, we don't currently include The Life You Can Save as one of our recommended programs but you can still donate to it via our donation platform.

In 2021, The Life You Can Save helped raise over $22.7 million USD globally for its recommended charities. It did this through engaging fundraising campaigns and free, easy-to-use donation tools hosted on its website. Over the last three years, each dollar invested in its work has generated an average of $18 in donations for its recommended charities.

Please note that GWWC does not evaluate individual charities. Our recommendations are based on the research of third-party, impact-focused charity evaluators our research team has found to be particularly well-suited to help donors do the most good per dollar, according to their recent evaluator investigations. Our other supported programs are those that align with our charitable purpose — they are working on a high-impact problem and take a reasonably promising approach (based on publicly-available information).

At Giving What We Can, we focus on the effectiveness of an organisation's work -- what the organisation is actually doing and whether their programs are making a big difference. Some others in the charity recommendation space focus instead on the ratio of admin costs to program spending, part of what we’ve termed the “overhead myth.” See why overhead isn’t the full story and learn more about our approach to charity evaluation.