Frequently Asked Question

Should I split my donation between multiple charities or choose just one?


When thinking about how to donate most effectively there is some discussion about whether you should donate only to the one thing that you think on balance will do the most good or whether you should split your donation. When it comes to splitting between charities one attempt to solve this dilemma is to donate to a charitable fund instead (that will pool people's money together and have experts figure out the optimal allocation).

But what about choosing whether to donate 100% of your money to one cause area or split it across multiple?

On the one hand, if you think one cause area has the highest expected value (the amount of good that can be achieved multiplied by the probability of achieving that good) then there are strong arguments for only donating to that one area because you think that is where the highest positive impact can be achieved. This article goes into greater depth on expected value and why it's important.

On the other hand, it could be that different cause areas act as multipliers on each other meaning it is important to maximise all areas. For example, it could be important to both ensure the continuation of our species by safeguarding the long-term future but also to make sure that future is favourable by improving the way we treat animals.

As this post points out it may be important to donate at least a small amount to all the different cause areas as a way to reduce the biases we have to different cause areas perhaps because we identify with particular communities or identities (such as being vegan) or don't want to lose status associated with changing our minds.

How you think about these different arguments may affect how (and if) you split your donations between the different cause areas but it is an important area to think about before you donate.

Still have questions?

Pre Footer

Stay in touch

Join our monthly newsletter to get the latest effective giving news. No spam—just news.

Support us directly

Our site is free to use but not free to operate.
Help us keep GWWC up and running.