Don’t Give More To Charity, Give It More Effectively

MILLY BOTES and RACHAEL HORE tell us how to make our charity more effective

cambridge charity charity effective altruism giving game giving what you can Peter Singer

How charitable are you?

It seems to be that charity for us students is measured by how much we give. Whether it be the two quid that goes towards the big issue seller down the road or the tenner that you donate to your friends just giving page on Facebook; we do our bit and give ourselves a comforting pat on the back for being the do-gooders that we are. But really what we should focus on is not how much we give, but how much of what we give is saving lives.

Giving What We Can is an organisation that measures the most cost-effective charities in terms of each pound donated and how effectively this will be spent in combatting global poverty. Founded in 2009 by Toby Ord, they’ve discovered that some charities can be up to 1,000 times more effective that others. Giving £1 to one charity can save as many lives as giving £1000 to another.

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The Great Peter Singer Explains Effective Altruism

The findings have revealed Against Malaria Foundation, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative and Deworm the World to be particularly cost effective.

Although donations of £1 spent well can be undoubtedly beneficial, we can all perhaps spare giving slightly more. In fact members of Giving What We Can our encouraged to take the pledge of giving away 10% of their salaries to charity. Before we all dismiss this as an insurmountable task, only fitting of the Buddha/Ghandi types that preach effective altruism over a sparse vegetarian meal, how different would the quality of life be for someone surviving on £45,000 as opposed to £50,000? Then consider the difference £5000 could make to those living below the poverty line in Africa.

The Against Malaria Foundation

The Against Malaria Foundation

However, making the pledge is a big step, and not one that needs to be undertaken for you to get involved with giving what We Can. The Cambridge Chapter of Giving What We Can, led by Nick Robinson and his committee, organises events including guest speakers and fundraising events. Coming up is the ‘Giving Game’. During the giving game, for every attendee, an anonymous donor will donate £10. Those in attendance will decide between two cost effective charities and vote for which charity will get the donation. Showing up is all you have to do to raise money, it literally couldn’t be easier.

SO if Movember isn’t your cup of tea (through choice or capability) come down to Queens Building at Emmanuel College tomorrow (Wednesday) to take part in the giving game. Remember it isn’t always about how much you give, it’s about who you give it to.