Get a recommendation based on your relative income and wealth compared to the rest of the world.
Retired, a student, or unemployed? Read our guidance on how to use this tool.
We recognise that individual circumstances may vary beyond the extent captured by our recommendation calculator. If you don't think our recommendations are right for you, please use our general guidance on giving to help you decide which pledge to take.
At Giving What We Can, we recommend people donate significantly but sustainably.
We recognise that all individuals have different circumstances, and we believe that giving what you can is much better than giving nothing. Even giving relatively small amounts — if directed to high-impact charities — can make a substantial difference when you consider that high-impact organisations can do 100x more good with your dollar than a typical charity. (This multiplier is sometimes even greater.)
The standard Giving What We Can Pledge suggests that you give a minimum of 10% of your income yearly; this recommendation is adjusted for students, retirees and those who are unemployed. We also have additional pledges for those who want to give everything over a set amount, and for companies.
Giving What We Can also offers a trial pledge which allows you to trial giving a custom percentage of income (or wealth) for a custom amount of time. This can allow you to see what giving 10% feels like for a year, or start with a level that feels generous given your circumstances, i.e. 5%.
Read more guidance on how much to give to charity.
The income percentiles are based on our “How Rich Am I?” calculator — the methodology and source code is available here. This includes a “purchasing power parity” adjustment, which means the result takes into account the cost of living in your country. It’s worth noting that there are many problems with all underlying source data attempting to estimate the global income distribution — some of these are discussed here.
Meanwhile, the wealth percentiles are based on World Inequality Database’s (WID) dataset on global wealth percentiles. There are various limitations to this, which you can read more about on here and on their methodology page. These estimates do not take into account the cost of living in your country (we discuss this more below). For this reason, and due to the extent of the limitations of wealth data generally, we decided against providing specific percentile estimates and instead just use broad buckets as we didn’t want to provide misleading precision.
While WID claims to adjust for purchasing power parity, after some testing, we found some odd results. For example, when using the calculator, so long as one puts their wealth in US dollars, then the global wealth percentiles are the same in all the countries we tested (indicating no adjustment is made). When one instead uses the local currency of a country, differences between countries emerge, but in many cases they do not seem plausible, for example the results we saw implied that India, Botswana, and the US all had the same cost of living, and that Armenia was more expensive than the US. We therefore chose to use the data the calculator provides when one uses US dollars (which again, by our testing, is invariant to which country one says they are in) but we’re not sure whether the underlying data-set is purchasing power adjusted or not. We have reached out to WID to help clarify this.
We understand there is always going to be ambiguity in specific cases. Rather than aiming for strict legalism, we suggest Pledgers instead focus on an honest engagement with the Pledge that allows them to give both sustainably and generously.
If the FAQs above haven't answered your questions, get in touch with us.
We created this tool to provide guidance around a level of giving that is aspirational but reasonable for many people in the financial positions described above, but we recognise this type of guidance is hard to get right and we will likely update this tool over time. If you have any feedback about this tool you’d like to share with us, please fill out this feedback form.