Giving What We Can is a nonprofit with the mission of making giving effectively and significantly a cultural norm.

Part of that is promoting a culture of transparency. On this page, we outline our history, how we’re funded, and any potential conflicts of interest.

About us

Giving What We Can was founded in 2009 by Toby Ord (a philosopher at the University of Oxford), his wife Bernadette Young (a physician in training at the time), and William MacAskill (another philosopher at the University of Oxford). Today, our team is managed by an Executive Director (Luke Freeman) who is overseen by the Trustees of Effective Ventures Foundation (EV Foundation).

As of November 2023, everyone in our team has signed the Giving What We Can Pledge to give 10% of their income to effective charities throughout their lifetime. While this isn’t a requirement to join the team, it reflects our commitment to our mission.

How we’re funded

Giving What We Can is funded through a combination of direct donations from members and other individuals, as well as grants from philanthropic foundations. So far our largest funder has been Open Philanthropy. In 2022, we received funding from the Future Fund. We don’t take any fees from donors who use our platform or from organisations we choose to recommend.

Being funded by large philanthropic foundations provides some advantages compared to relying on individual donors:

  • Our work can be evaluated by experts in the area, which helps ensure we are held to a high standard.
  • It allows us to maintain our donation platform without taking any fees from donors.
  • We can dedicate our time to providing the best information to donors, rather than needing to spend time fundraising for ourselves.

Yet, having our funding being limited to a few key funders carries some risk, and we strive to further diversify our funding sources going forward.

There are also trade-offs we need to make to ensure we are responsibly managing any potential conflicts of interest with furthering our mission to the best of our ability. For example, our giving recommendations are informed by our evaluations of charity evaluators and grantmakers. Yet, for some of the evaluators we look into, we have various conflicts of interest. We outline these conflicts in all our evaluations, and where possible, take steps to reduce them.

Our credibility

We have a commitment to being transparent and open to feedback. Here are some examples of this commitment.

We acknowledge our mistakes

We maintain a page outlining our mistakes. While we believe we have made significant progress towards our mission, we have sometimes fallen short of the standards we have set for ourselves and believe it is important to publicly acknowledge these mistakes so that we can do better in future.

We share the research that underlies our giving recommendations

One of the core ways we help achieve our mission is by providing charity recommendations to help donors maximise their impact. We publish all the research informing these recommendations on our website.

We request feedback on our research from the community

Users of our website can provide feedback on the quality of our work through our content feedback form.

We evaluate our impact

Our last impact evaluation was published in 2023, and we are committed to publishing these periodically.

We acknowledge conflicts of interest

While we generally acknowledge conflicts of interest wherever relevant on our website, the following documents our key potential conflicts of interest:

  • We receive funding from Open Philanthropy, who also fund many of the evaluators we rely on for our recommendations.
  • We are a project of EV Foundation, and often recommend or partner with other organisations that are also part of EV Foundation. In particular, the Centre for Effective Altruism, 80,000 Hours, EA Funds, and Longview Philanthropy.
  • Our founders and board members have close relationships to many of the other organisations we recommend and work with. For example, our co-founder, Will MacAskill also founded 80,000 Hours and works closely with many of the EV Foundation organisations mentioned above.
  • Our Executive Director, Luke Freeman:
    • Formerly served as a board member of Effective Altruism Australia (which our donation platform supports) and is a current board member at The Good Ancestors Project and Effective Altruism DC (both of which might at some point apply for funding from some of our funders, supported programs, or fiscal sponsors). He has also taken a pledge with Founders Pledge, an impact-focused evaluator we expect to look into soon as part of our evaluators research and may use to inform our future recommendations.
  • Our Director of Research, Sjir Hoeijmakers:
    • Formerly worked at Founders Pledge (one of the evaluators we've previously used to inform our recommendations and may use again in the future).
    • Is on the Management Committee of the Founders Pledge Patient Philanthropy Fund (a fund our donation platform supports).
  • Three team members based in Australia are employed by Effective Altruism Australia (which our donation platform supports) on a grant from EV Foundation for the purpose of growing effective giving internationally under the Giving What We Can brand.

We have a policy for removing members

Members may no longer be listed on our member page due to several reasons:

  • Resignation: Members who choose to voluntarily resign from Giving What We Can.
  • Expiration: Trial Pledge members are automatically removed from the list after their Trial Pledge reaches its end date.
  • Merge Requests: Some members have accidentally signed up twice and asked that their accounts be merged which may result in one or more pledges being removed.
  • Data Deletion Requests: In compliance with relevant regulations like GDPR, we honour requests for deletion of member information, which may not necessarily be taken to be a pledge resignation but does result in removal from our public members list.

Member Removals: In cases where members are identified as clearly fake accounts, or are nominated for removal due to actions significantly contradicting GWWC's values, mission or code of conduct.

Our member removal policy is available to view.

Staff remuneration

We outline how we approach pay and benefits, publish our pay calculator, and share our budgeted cost to employ for team members (including roles yet to be hired for, before any optional salary sacrifices).