- Published 27 Sep 2020
Since its founding in December 2009, Giving What We Can has attracted members from 87 countries. Together, we have donated at least $195 million to highly effective charities across many different cause areas. This money has a tangible impact on the lives of many individuals now, and will help many others in the future.
Thank you for your generosity, your support, and your commitment to helping others.
To celebrate, our members are hosting events all around the world (in-person and virtually) for you to meet other people who have made effective giving a meaningful part of their lives. We encourage you to attend one of these events!
Several of our members have submitted some words to share with our community – we’ve collated them all below for you to read (or watch).
If you’d like to share something please do so in the comments or email us at email@example.com.
Toby Ord (Co-founder, researcher at Future of Humanity Institute)
“I’m so excited that Giving What We Can is over 200 times larger than when we launched 10 years ago. It’s overwhelming to be part of such a large and friendly community of people, all striving to make the world a much better place.”
Will MacAskill (Co-founder, researcher at Forethought Foundation)
“Getting to 5,000 members absolutely blows my mind. That’s a full 217 times as many members as we had at launch 11 years ago. I remember when I first took the pledge, it felt really quite scary. I was a graduate student at the time and I had a scholarship for my accommodation paid for but I was living on about £4,500 per year and I was trying to give £900 of that away over the year. It was tough. I remember I refused to get a haircut because it seemed like an unnecessary expense… One of the things I worried about back then was whether I’d be a social outcast, always having to explain to people why I’ve chosen this weird life for myself. The answer turned out to be “no”, quite the opposite in fact. The pledge functioned like this bat signal, attracting people all around the world with a similar set of values and it’s been such a joy to see so many people come together and make a commitment to use a significant proportion of their income for the common good. So thank you, for taking the pledge and for showing what it means to take giving seriously.”
Julia Wise (Member #179 and former President of GWWC, community health at CEA)
"When I first learned about Giving What We Can, I remember feeling so relieved that there were all these other people out there who were not just thinking about what we can do for others, but were taking concrete action on that."
Derek Ball (Member #57, Lecturer in the philosophy departments at the University of St Andrews)
"I first read about Giving What We Can in a newspaper article almost 10 years ago. At the time, I strongly felt that I needed to do more to help others, but I wasn’t sure what to do. Giving What We Can provided guidance and inspiration that I needed — an easy-to-follow recipe for doing some good. I can honestly say that it has changed my life. Congratulations on 5000 members!"
Michelle Hutchinson (Member #153 and former ED of GWWC, Head of Advising at 80,000 Hours)
"It’s been really incredible watching GWWC grow from a few members early on to a 5,000 strong community. It’s really incredible how much people in our community donate and how much they think about how to use those donations to help people as much as possible. I really feel it’s helped me to live up to my values and I hope it’ll make a better world for [my son] Leo to grow up in."
Peter Eckersley (Member #8, artificial intelligence researcher)
“It’s felt extraordinary to be part of a growing movement to try to structurally address those problems with the resources we have available… Now at 10 years on, with Giving What We Can having now having 5,000 taking that pledge, and being part of a larger and flourishing effective altruism movement, it seems like we’re really succeeding… To pause in reflecting on this particular moment in 2020, it feels in some ways a stranger and darker time than the period in which we were setting up to create this movement. But I really think that we’re positioned as effective altruists to be a constructive force for change in the years ahead.”
Habiba Islam (Member #105, Advisor at 80,000 Hours)
“I first came across Giving What We Can at a talk that I went to as an undergraduate at Oxford University. The talk was about 80,000 Hours and they mentioned The Pledge. So I’d already thought that I’d donate some proportion of my income to charity but hearing about Giving What We Can really helped me raise my ambitions to donate a significant portion of my income and also think really hard about the effectiveness of the charities that I was donating to. Both those ideas made a lot of sense to me and so I signed the Further Pledge while I was an undergraduate. Fast forward 10 years and now I really enjoy being part of the effective altruism community. Many of my close, best friends, and my colleagues are people that I’ve met through EA – and that all traces back to that first meeting about 80,000 Hours, and hearing about (and signing) the Further Pledge.”
Peter Singer (Member #16, Moral philosopher and author of books including Animal Liberation and The Life You Can Save)
“I date the start of the Effective Altruism movement from the founding of Giving What We Can. I'm delighted that it has now reached the significant milestone of 5000 members, because that means a very significant sum going to help the most effective charities. But let's not forget that GWWC has done so much more than that - it has been the spark for a movement that has inspired many more people to think about their charitable giving, and about the overall direction of their lives.”
Nick Beckstead (Member #29, Program Officer at Open Philanthropy)
"I took the GWWC pledge because I believed my donations could do much more good for others than they could do for me; I had enough money to be happy and productive; and I wanted to encourage others to give for the same reasons. I think there's something powerful about putting our ideals into practice as a group with the core intention of doing the greatest expected good for others. It's been a great way to inspire myself and connect with people who have similar priorities. I'm delighted that our numbers have grown to 5,000, and I look forward to celebrating the 10,000 mark in the future!"
Ben Eidelson (Member #26, Assistant professor of law at Harvard Law School)
"It’s extraordinary to see the way this community has grown over the past decade and all of the good that it has accomplished. When Will MacAskill shared the idea of a giving pledge with me in 2009, I thought it was a great way for a handful of people committed to certain values to raise the cost of drifting away from them. But I don’t think anyone imagined that the community would grow as it has, or that it would help to spark a broader movement. I’m grateful for and inspired by all of the work that so many put into achieving a milestone like this."
Joseph Millum (Member #6, Bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health)
"For more than a decade, this pledge has reminded me and inspired me to give. The incredible growth of the effective altruism movement in that time – exemplified by nearly 5000 people taking the GWWC pledge – makes me optimistic about what we can do, as individuals and as a collective. Each of us can make a meaningful difference to the lives of others. Together we can keep each other committed to giving more, and to doing so on the basis of good evidence."
Tom Ash (Member #42, Founder of Rethink Charity)
"I look forward to the 10,000th member! I've always thought that effective giving is one of the most valuable ideas in EA and something that's worth putting more focus on, which was part of my thinking behind the annual EA survey. This growth in pledgers is heartening, and I hope it encourages EAs to spread that core, practical concept."