How cost-effective are the charities you support? Innovative organisation Giving What We Can investigates
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As its pledged donations hit $140m, Giving What We Can is being hailed as one of the most exciting organisations in the not-for-profit landscape - and it all started just four years ago in Oxford’s student digs.
Back in 2009, Toby Ord was a DPhil student of philosophy with big ideas. Should we sacrifice small luxuries to save lives? And how can we make sure that our money has the biggest possible impact?
Fast-forward to 2013, and Giving What We Can, the charity founded by Ord and his friend William MacAskill, has chapters in Oxford, Cambridge, London, Warwick and Birmingham, and is about to launch in Edinburgh, St Andrews, and Atlantic College, Wales. Their mission: to encourage people to commit to long-term donation to those charities that provide the most cost-effective poverty relief.But what’s caused this explosion of interest? And why are so many students getting involved? Of the online list of people who’ve pledged 10% or more of their income to Giving What We Can-recommended charities, about a third were students at the time. One of those, Ben Clifford, says: “I really liked the idea that I could know that I was doing something really great, and that there was a large amount of other people doing it made me feel like it was a real option.”
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Perhaps Giving What We Can's appeal to students lies in its efficiency. For cash-strapped undergraduates, it's important to know that the money they can spare is being used as effectively as possible. But there's also a feeling of community surrounding the movement. Student Joey Savoie says that "it is easy to keep my pledge because I have a community and friends and family that both support and donate themselves."
Get involved, donate, or find out more at givingwhatwecan.org
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