In December I decided to donate to charity for the first time. I won’t explain here what charities I donated to or how much… I’ll just say that I mostly chose causes that I care about and think are important.
I’ll also explain a few interesting concepts that I learned while educating myself on how to donate effectively (these are all explained in the videos listed at the bottom of this blog post). Here are the concepts:
The percentage of your donation that goes to the cause isn’t important; what matters is the results generated by your donation
Peter Singer uses the example of helping blind people. If you wanted to help blind people one thing you could do is donate money to organizations that train guide dogs. In America it apparently costs about $40,000 to fully train a guide dog and to train the blind person to work with the dog. And it costs $20-$50 to cure a blind person in a developing country if they have trachoma. So if you have $40,000 to donate, you could either train one guide dog, or you could actually cure over 1,000 people of their blindness. I think it’s clear what the most effective use of the $40,000 would be.
Even if the guide dog organization put 90% of your donation towards training the dog and the blind person and used only 10% for their own overhead, whereas the organization that cured trachoma put only 10% of your donation towards the cause and used 90% for their own overhead… your donation would still generate far greater results in the hands of the trachoma-cure organization.