Blog post

Spreading the word this July: Engaging friends with a Charity Giving Game

3 min read
6 Jul 2016

Throughout the month of July, Giving What We Can is running our Tell a Friend campaign, in which we encourage our members and supporters to start a discussion with their friends about effective giving.


We’ve done some research and found that talking to a friend is the single most common way in which new members hear about Giving What We Can. By just discussing effective giving with a friend, you may be placing them on the path to becoming an effective altruist. But how can we best communicate to our friends the difference between giving and effective giving?

Those who are new to effective giving probably rely on intuitions to assess charities. They may think that the most effective charities are the most honest ones, or that they should be donating to charities which speak to them on a personal level. But these factors do not determine whether or not a charity actually makes an impact, or how cost effective a charity is. Instead, a charity’s impact and cost-effectiveness is determinable by weighing up, among other factors, how much it costs to run the charity, how significantly the charity helps those in need, and the severity of the problem that the charity is ameliorating.

We know that engaging a friend about effective giving may feel overwhelming, so throughout July Giving What We Can is publishing tips and information about having these conversations on our blog and Tell a Friend campaign Facebook event. Our first tip is to open a conversation about effective giving by sending your friend a Giving Game.

A Path That’s Clear and The Life You Can Save have provided us with a Charity Giving Game, in which you are given information about a charity, asked whether or not you think the charity is effective, and then shown what studies have established about that charity’s effectiveness.

Also, to give an example of effective giving done right, the game also introduces two of the world’s most effective charities: Give Directly and the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF). At the end of the game, every player will choose one of these two proven effective charities to receive a $5 donation, so each player will make an impact. We will be funding up to $1000 in donations, so that’s 200 people we can reach out to!

Please share this game with your friends! By spending a few minutes working out how well they can guess charities’ effectiveness, they’ll already make sure $5 is donated to an effective charity. But even better- this could be a great way of introducing them to effective altruism; it’s sometimes surprising how seemingly similar charities can vary drastically in their effectiveness, and for many people, that’s enough of a spur to find out more about giving effectively. If you introduce a friend who ends up committing to lifelong effective giving, that’s a massive amount of good you’ve helped do, so it’s really worth giving it a go.

Here’s the link again:

Good luck!