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This opportunity for impact is aimed primarily at parents or those that have another connection to a secondary (or middle) school. 

You can have a powerful effect by emailing or writing a letter to a teacher you know, or your child’s high school, to recommend they run a charity election. This is an opportunity for you to connect dozens or hundreds of young people with key concepts around effective giving and civic participation merely by taking 20 minutes and adapting an email, provided below.

A Call to Action

Parents and friends of parents: You can help get the ideals of effective giving in front of schools-full of future givers by letting a school know how easy it is to get sponsorship up to $2,000 from Giving What We Can (GWWC) to run a charity election.

Towards the end of this post, we provide a message you might adapt and send to a school.


It’s time to tap more fully into the power of the EA community to spread the word about Charity Elections from Giving What We Can. 

Students and teachers alike who have participated in a charity election praise the experience as meaningful and memorable. The program is showing notable signs of impact (where it can be measured) and has proven its scalability and readiness to run in more schools and more countries.

The basics, for those who have not heard

A charity election is an event in “experiential altruism” that empowers high school students as they learn about and experience making a real impact on the world. In the program, adapted from Giving Games for a younger cohort, students choose among three causes selected from the GWWC list of recommended charities to decide which will receive an event sponsorship of up to $2,000 (sponsored by GWWC).

Before voting, students research and discuss the charities using a condensed framework designed to empower high school (and possibly middle-school) students to apply principles of effective giving in an age-appropriate manner. 

Designed to be student-led, a charity election lasts about three class hours and can be run across a set of classes or the whole school. We provide schools with self-contained materials and resources to make it as easy as possible for teachers to support their students. 

Students who participate engage in meaningful discussions and powerful reflection about altruism as they get first-hand experience at changemaking, expanding their moral circles and helping them develop an understanding of the power of effective philanthropy.

The program was created in 2018 with the support of The Life You Can Save and has been incubated by Giving What We Can since 2021.

Charity elections have run now in six countries—including several events entirely in Italian—and, since 2018, nearly 11,000 student votes have been cast after the research and discussion process. Schools typically come back year after year to request sponsorship. 

If you want to learn more, please visit our webpage or reference the additional resources listed in the postscript below the following model letter. If you have any questions, please write to us.

What you can do right now

You can copy and adapt the letter below to send to a school or a particular teacher who you feel would be intrigued by a program that gives students confidence and a sense of accomplishment as change-makers while cultivating a culture of (effective) giving and fostering positive school climate.

If you don’t know a parent, a student, or a teacher

You can still help spread the word about Charity Elections. If you still have a connection to your own high school, please consider recommending them to the program by adapting the note above. You can make a difference for dozens or hundreds of students at your alma mater, helping them learn the importance of evidence and reasoning in decision making around important world issues and fostering compassion and empathy in their school. Questions? Write us at charityelections@givingwhatwecan.org.

Sample letter (through the postscript below) - adapt as needed


I am a [PARENT] of [STUDENT NAME] in [GRADE LEVEL] at [SCHOOL NAME]. This note is to let you know about a free, nonprofit educational program that I think would be a great success at the school and contribute to a positive school climate.

Called Charity Elections, it’s an activity in “experiential altruism” that sponsors a school up to $2,000 as they run an event across three class-hours over the course of about a week. There is no charge to the school and all materials are provided. 

The broad objectives of the program are to provide a memorable experience for students that promotes youth voice and civic engagement on real-world issues (world poverty, climate change, more) and develops compassion and SEL (social and emotional learning) skills. The ultimate aim is to cultivate a culture of effective giving among young people.

Above and beyond sparking meaningful reflection and discussion on authentic issues, the program provides service leadership opportunities to students and results in real funds being directed to highly effective charities.

Charity elections tend to be run across a department (such as Social Studies, Government/Politics/Civics, History, Econ, Philosophy, or Theology) or the entire school, but they’ve also been hosted by librarians and school counselors, Geography teachers and service-learning leaders. Events have been run in six countries with no costs to the schools, and participants across the globe typically find the experience so valuable that they apply to run it again in following years.

Rather than giving more details, please allow me to point you to charityelections.org, where you can learn more and take about five minutes to apply for sponsorship here. (You can also write in for more information—they’ll even call you back personally.) I’ve also linked some additional resources below.

If you don’t have capacity yourself this year, perhaps you can consider the program for the next school year, or pass this note on to another teacher who might be able to follow up on the opportunity. Giving What We Can is promoting that they still have sponsorships available for the 2023–2024 school year. The more students participating, the better!

Thanks for thinking about this great program.



P.S. Here are a few additional resources for a deeper view of the program:

  • Here’s a set of student and teacher testimonials.
  • Here’s the FAQ.
  • You can also refer to the program’s detailed Project Brief.
  • For sample election results, you might watch this video presented by a Maths teacher who implemented the program in 2021
  • This article was co-written with two student leaders and an AP Government teacher. (The event can be implemented by student leaders and/or teachers.)





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Hi Adam and thanks for sharing. Do you know if there is a similar thing in Germany? 

Hi, @André Kirschner. We are able to run the program in Germany, though it has not yet been translated into German. If you have thoughts about schools that might be interested, I might be able to dive into my contacts and find localization resources. 

FYI @André Kirschner I have a volunteer looking at translating into German now, though some parts have to wait until next school year's three presented charities are selected, which we hope will be by early June.

Executive summary: The post calls for parents and friends of parents to help spread awareness of Charity Elections, a program run by Giving What We Can that empowers high school students to research and vote on which effective charities should receive up to $2,000 in sponsorship.

Key points:

  1. Charity Elections is an "experiential altruism" program that gives students hands-on experience with effective giving principles.
  2. The program has run in six countries, with nearly 11,000 student votes cast since 2018, and schools often request to host it again.
  3. The post provides a sample letter that parents and others can adapt and send to schools to introduce them to the Charity Elections program.
  4. If you don't have a direct connection to a school, you can still help spread the word by recommending the program to your own former high school.
  5. The program aims to cultivate a culture of effective giving among young people, promote youth voice and civic engagement, and develop compassion and social-emotional learning skills.
  6. The post includes links to additional resources about the Charity Elections program.



This comment was auto-generated by the EA Forum Team. Feel free to point out issues with this summary by replying to the comment, and contact us if you have feedback.

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