Giving What We Can is a nonprofit with the mission of making giving effectively and significantly a cultural norm.
Part of that is promoting a culture of transparency. On this page, we outline our history, how we’re funded, and any potential conflicts of interest.
Giving What We Can was founded in 2009 by Toby Ord (a philosopher at the University of Oxford), his wife Bernadette Young (a physician in training at the time), and William MacAskill (another philosopher at the University of Oxford). Today, our team is managed by an Executive Director (Luke Freeman) who is overseen by the Trustees of Effective Ventures Foundation (EV Foundation).
As of November 2022, almost everyone in our team has signed the Giving What We Can Pledge to give 10% of their income to effective charities throughout their lifetime. While this isn’t a requirement to join the team, it reflects our commitment to our mission.
Giving What We Can is funded through a combination of direct donations from members and other individuals, as well as grants from philanthropic foundations. So far our largest funders have been Open Philanthropy and the Future Fund. We don’t take any fees from donors who use our platform or from organisations we choose to recommend.
Being funded by large philanthropic foundations provides some advantages compared to relying on individual donors:
Yet, having our funding being limited to a few key funders carries some risk, and we strive to further diversify our funding sources going forward.
There are also tradeoffs we need to make to ensure we are balancing responsibly managing any potential conflicts of interest with furthering our mission to the best of our ability.
Here is an example of a tradeoff and how we manage it:
We have a commitment to being transparent and open to feedback. Here are some examples of this commitment.
We maintain a page outlining our mistakes. While we believe we have made significant progress towards our mission, we have sometimes fallen short of the standards we have set for ourselves and believe it is important to publicly acknowledge these mistakes so that we can do better in future.
When conducting research into which causes we recommend donors give to, we think it’s important to make it clear who did this research and how that research has changed over time. See here for an example of our research notes. (Note — we may move away from the research notes process in the future if we decide there are better ways to document our process.)
Users of our website can provide feedback on the quality of our work through our content feedback form.
While we generally acknowledge conflicts of interest wherever relevant on our website, the following are our key potential conflicts of interest: