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.
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.
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:
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.
We have a commitment to being transparent and open to feedback. Here are some examples of this commitment.
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.
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.
Users of our website can provide feedback on the quality of our work through our content feedback form.
Our last impact evaluation was published in 2023, and we are committed to publishing these periodically.
While we generally acknowledge conflicts of interest wherever relevant on our website, the following documents our key potential conflicts of interest:
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).