Blog post

Doing Good as a Consultant

4 min read
7 Apr 2021

From journalist to management consultant — that's an unusual path, and many of my friends certainly didn't expect it. Even I would have thought it impossible a few years ago. Now I have my first full calendar year as a consultant behind me and would like to share how I try to improve the world through my work.


The job gives me the opportunity to donate a significant portion of my salary to charitable organizations - last year, for example, more than 20,000 U.S. dollars (17,000 euros). This allows other people to work with full dedication to make the world a better place for all of us. In this text, I would like to show that you can do an extremely great deal of good as a management consultant - and thus also encourage others to become active.

First of all, my way is by no means the only way, nor is it the best way for everyone to do good. Voluntary commitment or direct work in non-profit organizations or in the political sphere (including journalism) are extremely valuable. I, too, participate in actions against nuclear weapons in my free time, for example. But many non-profit organizations also or especially lack the financial resources to expand their activities and achieve even more.

How much I donate

So for many years now, I've been donating the money I don't need for myself (this includes saving for the future in addition to my current expenses). Almost four years ago, I signed a public pledge of the initiative "Giving What We Can" to donate at least one tenth of my income to particularly effective organizations (during my studies one percent). Being born in Germany, I am in a very privileged situation and even if I donate one tenth of my income now, I am still part of the richest one percent in the world.

As for many of us, the year 2020 was not easy for me. But at least in terms of my giving, it was more successful than any previous one. Because of my work at a consultancy firm, my salary is significantly higher than in the past and I was able to donate a total of more than $20,000 (17,000 euros) last year. There is even a term for this strategy: earning to give.

Where I donate

The money went primarily to organizations working to end factory farming. Why? Today's animal suffering is gigantic: more than 70 billion animals are killed every year, almost all of them suffer in factory farming under cruel conditions. While many people care about their pets; chickens, pigs or fish hardly get any attention. Industrial animal farming also contributes significantly to climate change and increases the risk of future pandemics.

Which animal welfare organizations achieve the most with additional donations? That's what Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) is trying to find out. Every year, this independent evaluation institution analyzes the work of various organizations and develops recommendations. Last year, I donated $10,000 to the most effective animal advocacy organizations worldwide according to ACE. I think the money is especially needed in the Global South.

I donated another $10,000 to the Good Food Institute (GFI). This institute is committed to the research and development of cultured meat ("clean meat") and plant-based products. Only through tasty and cost-effective alternatives to animal meat, it will be possible to change consumer behavior in the long term. I am particularly pleased that the Good Food Institute is active worldwide.

My two major donations were even doubled by the "DoubleUpDrive" campaign. Successful poker players and other high earners add the same amount to donations to particularly effective organizations. Thanks to the website, I can also deduct my donations from my taxes in Germany, which means that I have more money to donate this year.

In addition to these two large donations, I have supported many other organizations with smaller amounts. For this year, I plan to donate a larger sum to the worldwide work of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), because I consider these weapons of mass destruction to be an underestimated danger. At the moment I am looking for possibilities to donate tax-exempt from Germany to this work.

Now I have written a lot about myself. What can you do? A few suggestions:

  1. Think about how you do the most good. The principles of Effective Altruism can help: Where can you improve the lives of as many people or other sentient beings as possible? What cause area is being neglected?
  2. Look for the most effective organization and set up a regular donation.
  3. Make your donations public to inspire others, for example by taking a Giving What We Can pledge.
  4. Volunteer for a good cause in your spare time.
  5. Keep yourself informed and talk to friends.
  6. As a business consultant: join the Effective Altruism Consulting Network (EACN).

If I can help in any way, please feel free to contact me.

This post was contributed by one of our members, Felix Werdermann. It was originally published in German on March 10, 2021. Translated with the help of (free version).