Frequently Asked Question

What organisations or charities ‘count’ towards a giving pledge?


All of our giving pledges commit members to donate a pledged amount to organisations they believe can best use it to improve the lives of others.

To help members and donors, Giving What We Can recommends some of the most effective charities in the world. We want to make sure that donations are having the biggest possible impact, so we only recommend charities that we believe are doing a lot of good with the resources they have.

Different charities will have a very big impact in very different ways. Some charities aim to improve lives directly, for example through medical aid or public health projects. Some do so indirectly, for example by researching the best charities to give to, or helping students find more effective careers. Some do so by advocacy work such as lobbying for nuclear weapons safety or corporate farming reforms.

Pledged members are free to decide where they donate, so long as you sincerely believe that they offer the most effective way to improve the lives of others.

Furthermore, the donations do not strictly need to go towards registered charities to comply with the pledge. An organisation might be in the early stages of getting registered, or it could be an advocacy or lobbying group that is not a charity. Some members have also donated their pledge money directly to individuals to help them pursue a high-impact project (such as setting up a new charity, or pursuing a high-impact research project). These options are all within the spirit of the pledge: to do the most good with our donations.

Finally, many members also make donations above and beyond their pledge to other charities for reasons other than their effectiveness (such as a personal connection). While we applaud their generosity and altruism, it is not in the spirit of the pledge to count these donations to their pledge. For more on this topic we recommend reading: “You have more than one goal, and that's fine” by Julia Wise (former President of Giving What We Can).

Still have questions?

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