Happy 2017! We’re probably a bit late to say that but so much has happened in January already that it seems to have raced by.

We’ve just finished reviewing our Giving What We Can pledge campaign which saw 318 new members join Giving What We Can and 114 start Try Giving. This took us to 2575 new members by the end of the pledge campaign but today we're already on 2,629 members! A big welcome to all the people who are new to our community.

Jose pledge campaign 2016/17 image
Thank you to amazing volunteer José Oliveira for designing this image for us.

This has been our best campaign yet, December was a record breaking month with 171 new members joining in that time and yet this month we’ve already had 190 new members take the pledge. The image above (a huge thanks to volunteer José for designing it) is based on our dashboard data (see the graph below), the spike at the very end shows December and January, our recent pledge campaign.

Giving What We Can Dashboard 27.01.2017

We’re really excited to see our community growing so quickly. Together we’ve already donated over $20 million to highly effective charities which is a staggering amount. In 2015, (the most recent year for which we’ve conducted our full giving review) members recorded over $1.3 million just to the Against Malaria Foundation. Based on GiveWell’s calculations this could have prevented as many as 425 premature deaths from malaria!

Most commonly our new members from the pledge campaign noted that they first heard about Giving What We Can from their friends which is a great testament to all of our current members who have been spreading the word. Thank you so much for supporting us and encouraging others to give more and give more effectively. These extra donations mean more children safe from malaria, better quality of life for people suffering from various neglected tropical diseases, less animals suffering in factory farming and more progress on preventing existential risks. This is what our work is all about. If you’d like tips on talking to your friends about Giving What We Can we have lots of resources and ideas on our website.

It’s been fun being involved in such a lively and creative campaign but now our focus is getting to know our new members better and working out how to support them.

If you are new, there a few important things you can do now.

What next for new members?

1. Make your first donation

Now that you’ve pledged to give 10% of your income (or 1% of your spending money while you’re a student or unemployed) to the organisations that can most effectively use it to improve the lives of others, it’s good to get into the habit of giving early. If it is financially viable for you, consider setting up a direct debit to a charity to come out of your account just after your pay cheque, that way it’s easier to budget and you won’t forget.

If you’re unsure about where to donate have a look at GiveWell and Animal Charity Evaluator’s top charities or work through our where to donate flow chart to find top organisations that are working the most promising areas.

You can also make your donations go further by finding out about things like tax deductibility for charitable donations in your country. We've written up some advice on this for various countries.

If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch any time.

2. Log your donations in My Giving

We ask all of our members to record their donations in My Giving. This helps you see what your money is achieving and whether or not you’ve met your pledge for the year. This is our main source of data for assessing the impact we and our members are having so it’s really important we get as much information as possible.

My Giving demo image

3. Get involved in the community

We are all trying to do the most good we can by donating a significant portion of our income to effective organisations. This means we’re part of a growing community all working towards a similar goal. If you need help with something, have questions or want moral support you have a community of over 2,600 Giving What We Can members to draw on, not to mention over 30,000 people who’ve signed up to the Effective Altruism newsletter because they want to improve the world. A few of us from the Centre for Effective Altruism (which runs Giving What We Can) will also be in touch with new members about chatting on Skype. If you’re already a member and haven’t spoken to one of us feel free to request a Skype by emailing community@givingwhatwecan.org

Join the Giving What We Can community group on Facebook

Join the Effective Altruism newsletter to stay up to date on developments in research and from the community.

Class of the pledge campaign 2016/2017: a community support experiment

One thing we also trialling to help support and connect our members is setting up cohorts for our new members by join date. This means giving you an online space where you can talk to people who joined at the same time as you, swap tips on things like giving and budgeting and share experiences of being a new member. We’ll also post information to help new members with getting started. Things like where to donate, how often and how to budget.

We’re trying this out with everyone who joined during the pledge drive (Tuesday 29th November - Tuesday 10th January) so if you joined Giving What We Can in this time and haven’t received your invite get in touch.

If this group finds it useful we’ll consider creating Facebook groups for cohorts of future new members so there is always somewhere to go for introductory resources when you join.

A huge thank you again to everyone who has been involved in our pledge campaign and to those of you who have newly joined because you want to use your donations to improve the world as much as possible. We are regularly humbled by this community and look forward to hitting the next milestones (3,000 members isn’t far away!) together.