Giving What We Can is considering broadening the pledge it asks people to make. We’d like to hear your thoughts about that idea!
If the Effective Altruism movement increases in size (particularly with the release of books by Peter Singer and Will MacAskill) it will become very important to make sure that enthusiasm for effective altruism translates into impact. It might be easier to do that if there were a standard, concrete action everyone in the movement tended to take. One promising such action is donating 10% of our salaries (and committing to doing so). Currently, many people who identify as effective altruists join Giving What We Can. However, Giving What We Can’s pledge is currently somewhat restrictive in cause areas it covers. Broadening Giving What We Can’s pledge would be one way to bring together effective altruists and thereby increase the chance of enthusiasm for effective altruism translating into concrete actions and long-term commitment.
To work out if this plan is realistic, we need to know how many people actually would join Giving What We Can based on this change to the pledge. So bear in mind as you read this – if you aren’t yet a member of Giving What We Can, would you join if this change was made? Do you know others who would?
The proposed pledge is: I recognise that I can use part of my income to do a significant amount of good. Since I can live well enough on a smaller income, I pledge that for the rest of my life or until the day I retire, I shall give at least ten percent of what I earn to whichever organisations can most effectively use it to improve the lives of others, now and in the years to come. I make this pledge freely, openly, and sincerely.
This differs from the current pledge (the full text of which is below) in two ways: it takes out ‘in the developing world’ from the first sentence, and replaces ‘to help people in the developing world’ with ‘to improve the lives of others’ in the second sentence. Importantly, it continues to use the phrase ‘organisations which can most effectively use it...’. This is significant because most people think that the charity they donate to is effective, but to fulfil the pledge, they need to believe the far stronger claim that it is the most effective.
This pledge gets to the heart of what we care about: that we should help people out of extreme poverty because we care about suffering and about making others better off, and because we are in a position to be able to help those in extreme poverty so much at so little cost to ourselves. We understand ‘improving the lives of others’ to include organisations seeking to improve the welfare of animals. If Giving What We Can adopted the new pledge, it would mean that someone joining who believed that a particular organisation helped others even more than the most effective organisation improving the lives of those in developing countries would be fulfilling the pledge by donating to that organisation.
Even if this change to the pledge were made, we plan to continue to focus on alleviating extreme poverty. Our mission, vision, values and branding would remain the same. We would continue to evaluate only global poverty charities (broadly construed as now, including for example climate change charities). We think that we can do more good by continuing to focus in this way – it is our comparative advantage and it provides a concrete and motivating focus. There would be some changes to the website: for example to explain what the new pledge encompassed. We would likely have a page along on what causes other than poverty members might be interested in (for example, this might say a little about animal suffering and point interested people to ACE).
Hopefully you’ve now got a sense of our thoughts. So – if you aren’t yet a member of Giving What We Can, would a change like this prompt you to join? Do you know others you think would be prompted by it? Do you have any comments or suggestions on the wording of the new pledge? What do you think about the idea of our changing the pledge? We’d love to hear from you, so please let us know your thoughts, whether by commenting below or writing to us privately!
The current pledge:
I recognise that I can use part of my income to do a significant amount of good in the developing world. Since I can live well enough on a smaller income, I pledge that for the rest of my life or until the day I retire, I shall give at least ten percent of what I earn to whichever organisations can most effectively use it to help people in developing countries, now and in the years to come. I make this pledge freely, openly, and sincerely.
If you’re interested in more of our thinking about this question, below is the more detailed document we previously sent to members for comments:
What’s the change?
We’re considering changing the pledge to: I recognise that I can use part of my income to do a significant amount of good. Since I can live well enough on a smaller income, I pledge that for the rest of my life or until the day I retire, I shall give at least ten percent of what I earn to whichever organisations can most effectively use it to improve the lives of others, now and in the years to come. I make this pledge freely, openly, and sincerely.
This differs from the current pledge in two ways: it takes out ‘in the developing world’ from the first sentence, and replaces ‘to help people in the developing world’ with ‘to improve the lives of others’ in the second sentence.
What would the change imply?
This broadens the pledge from only being about helping people in the developing world to being about those we can most effectively help whether inside or outside the developing world. It does not mean that people in rich countries would be likely to be fulfilling the pledge if they give to local charities, since we can typically do far more good for those in extreme poverty (which is why GWWC focuses on the charities it does). It does mean that people who think that the most effective way to prevent suffering is to donate to charities which help animals – for example which try to eradicate factory farming – would be fulfilling the pledge by donating to those organisations.
The change is not likely to make a difference to people who think that the best way to help others is to ensure that the future will go well, since the pledge already explicitly includes people who will live in the future, as well as those alive now. (We already have members who believe, for example, that we should be trying to avert catastrophes in the future, and that that is the best way to help humanity, including those in the developing world.)
Giving What We Can’s focus would not change. Our mission and vision would remain the same, the website would continue to be oriented towards poverty, and the events we put on would continue to be about extreme poverty. We would continue to evaluate only global poverty charities (broadly construed, as it currently is, including (for example) climate change charities). This is somewhat similar to the fact that currently some people think that the biggest risk facing those in poverty is from biological terrorism, and those people might join GWWC and fulfil the pledge by donating to organisations that aim to fight bio-terrorism, but we do not evaluate charities of that kind.
We would have an explanation of the fact that the pledge included charities other than ones directed towards extreme poverty on the FAQs page. We would likely have a page on the website along the lines of ‘Beyond poverty’. It would say something like: ‘You might think that the most effective organisations are those working outside of the area of extreme poverty. If you think, for example, that the most effective organisations are those which work to prevent animals from suffering, we encourage you to check out Animal Charity Evaluators...’
Why would we make the change?
Giving What We Can is about ending extreme poverty, but it is also part of the effective altruism movement, which is about helping others as effectively as possible and making doing so a serious part of one’s life. This idea has had some exposure so far (for example through GiveWell and the wide exposure of Peter Singer’s TED talk). Over the coming year, two books on Effective Altruism are going to be published by William MacAskill and Peter Singer, which have a chance of making effective altruism more mainstream than it has been in the past. This brings with it increased risk of the term getting watered down, such that it does not change people’s behaviour. Therefore, it seems sensible to have a clear action associated with effective altruism which is considered the minimum standard for people to do: donate 10% of their income to the most effective charities. The way we can really persuade others that this is the right thing to do, and encourage them to join us, is for a large number of us to stand together. At the moment the separation between organisations focusing on different cause areas seem to imply that you should make a commitment to helping one to the exclusion of the others. That seems antithetical to effective altruism: it seems better to avoid such fragmentation by having one clear commitment which unites us.
Issues we would need to work out:
- How the old and the new pledge would interact. One possibility would be for both pledges to exist in parallel, although new members encouraged to take the new pledge. Another possibility would be to simply replace the existing pledge for new people joining. In either case, we would give existing members a choice of whether to change to the new pledge or not.
- How we made clear that Giving What We Can is focussed on poverty alleviation, but supports those who believe there are more effective ways of helping others. This is likely to be through the pages mentioned earlier.
- The precise wording of the new pledge. In particular, one option we would consider is adding on to the first sentence something along the lines of ‘...and that there is a large evidence base suggesting that some organisations are orders of magnitude more effective than others.’ This might help to ensure that people took a global rather than local focus when deciding which charities to donate to.
Alternatives we considered:
- There being a cause-neutral pledge which brings together people donating to different effective causes, but hosted by a different organisation. In particular, we discussed this in the context of Effective Altruism Outreach. This seems like it could be a worse option for a couple of reasons:
o Giving What We Can has an infrastructure built up for people to take a pledge and join a community, including My Giving dashboards, a CRM, member newsletters etc. It would be a huge understanding to replicate this for a second organisation.
o Giving What We Can is an established community with a large number of members, which has existed for a number of years and endeavoured to build up solidity and credibility. That seems likely to help both in encouraging people to join the community and in ensuring people take the commitment seriously and change their actions accordingly.
o Having a number of different pledges is likely to lead to a fractured community. In addition, someone might initially feel that the most effective way of helping living creatures is to fight extreme poverty and later change their mind to thinking that the most effective way is to prevent factory farming. It seems like if they still intend to donate at least 10% of their income to the most effective charities, it would be better to support them in that than to say that they have leave GWWC and join a different community instead (unlike, for example, if someone decides they no longer want to rely on evidence to pick effective charities, or no longer wants to donate as much as 10% of their income).
- Giving What We Can having multiple pledges – the current one and a cause neutral one – and allowing people to take whichever they would prefer. This seems to be a worse option to us because it would be confusing for people, particularly as the two seem so similar. This confusion could be reduced by having the cause neutral pledge be harder to find on the website, so that people only get to it if they are looking for it. But a large part of the point of the pledge is in order for people to stand up and be counted – to publicly declare that they believe we are in the fortunate position that we can afford to donate at least 10% of our income to help others, and that we should think carefully about where we donate to. Therefore, a pledge that was deliberately difficult to find would seem to diminish a large part of the impact. We have in the past tried having multiple pledges – we used to have a ‘Give More Tomorrow’ pledge, because we had had requests from people for being able to commit to donating when they had a pay rise, or got their first job. Although the psychological literature seems to provide additional evidence that future pledges are effective, GMT did not catch on at all. It seemed merely to cause confusion. We would therefore be unwilling to institute two ongoing pledges again.
Potential concerns we have:
- Current members being against the change. That might be due to them disagreeing with the current pledge, or due to being unhappy about the idea of the Giving What We Can pledge changing. In order to try to work out to what extent our members will feel this way and whether there are ways to prevent or ameliorate it, we will be talking to them as much as possible throughout the decision process.
- New members thinking that their pledge would be fulfilled by donating to a charity in their local area, rather than considering charities on a global scale. We think that the website as a whole, and our recommended charities in particular, will make clear that this isn’t the case. We also try to talk to people both before and after they become members. Therefore, we have multiple opportunities to make sure that people fully understand the pledge.
- That the broader idea of ‘helping others as much as possible’ is not as appealing as specifically helping people in extreme poverty. We are less worried about this than we used to be, because we had assumed that the idea of ‘effective altruism’ would be entirely unappealing to people, and that has turned out not to be the case (given, for example, Singer’s TED talk). In addition, the extent to which people find the ideas compelling and plausible does not depend just on what the core idea is, but also on what ideas are presented first and context. Right now, all of our members care about helping those in the developing world as effectively as possible, and the fact that some people think that the best way to do that is to ensure that the far future goes well does not seem off-putting to those who think that only current people matter.
- Confusion over the fact that Giving What We Can is focused on preventing extreme poverty, but that its members also donate to other causes. It is difficult to know how much confusion this might cause. So far we have not had a problem with people finding it strange that one could think that the best way to help those in the developing world was to work to avoid e.g. biohazards, even though Giving What We Can does not deal with charities of that kind. It does not seem particularly surprising that Giving What We Can would need to have a focus area for its research, and for the talks it gave, even if some of its members cared about and donated to a broader range of organisations than those in that focus area.
After much thought about the various considerations at play, the Giving What We Can staff and the trustees are all inclined to think that changing the pledge as above is the best course of action. It wouldn’t involve a change in the focus of what Giving What We Can works on, or its research. But we’re really excited about possibility it provides for bringing together people who all want to help the world as effectively as possible and are willing to donate a significant portion of their income to doing so. We hope that this change would ensure that as the effective altruist movement grows it continues to inspire real change in people’s actions towards helping others as much as we can.
I'm strongly against changing the pledge, as well as the underlying motivation to more tightly incorporate GWWC with (cause-neutral) EA
It seems part of the GWWC 'brand equity' is that basically all morally serious people agree that giving large amounts to help those in desperate poverty is a good thing to do (although some EAs would add that there might be something else that can do much better). All other causes EAs commonly endorse (i.e. animal welfare, x-risk) have much poorer common sense credentials.
GWWC is a valuable intersection between Effective Altruism and the wider world. In one direction, GWWC packages some EA ideals (moral commitment, looking at evidence and data carefully, some moves towards cause agnosticism) in a manner that not-too-inferentially distant from most people, and a common route for people getting 'more EA'. Looking the other way, the wider appeal of global poverty over the currently-coalescing 'Tenets of Effective Altruism' can attract those not 'fully on board', and this group of more liminal 'EA' people can be an anchor against the EA community drifting further towards becoming an insular, epistemically overconfident and morally arrogant monoculture. ... (read more)
It's interesting that a number of people have said they would take the alternative pledge with the implication they won't change their behaviour (ie they will take the enabled pledge if it reflects what they already do or plan to do). It seems to me then that including these members would therefore be of limited value in terms of money moved., though it would allow them to feel included in the gwwc community.
Weighing against this limited benefit is the risk of the amended pledge being less likely to attract new members for whom joining wild be a change of behaviour. As others have said, poverty is a cause well geared towards engaging people, and this has been vital for GWWC's growth.
Additionally I'm worried that a watered down wording would risk a loss if focus and encourage people to take the pledge less seriously. In fact I am worried that good faith efforts to be inclusive in membership have already done so to some extent. Today on the Facebook group I read one member openly saying he doesn't abide by the pledge and that he thinks that's no problem, he doesn't feel constrained by the 'literal text'. Others are arguing we should amend the pledge should become cause agnostic because some members have joined with the sincere belief that x-risk or movement building charities are the best way to help those in extreme poverty.
The primary reason why I have not signed the GWWC pledge is that I do not want to commit myself to global poverty causes. If this change were made, I would be much more likely to sign the pledge.
I am donating to global poverty causes, and do not currently foresee changing my mind about this. But I'm uncomfortable with the pledge, because I change my mind about a lot of things, and doing so about a pledge I've signed would leave me in a pretty awkward position.
I would love to sign the new pledge.
Thanks for writing this up and seeking feedback, Michelle!
I'm in favour of the change - you know this, but I'm saying it here because I'm concerned that only people with strong disagreements will respond to this post, and so it will end up looking like the community is more against the change than it in fact is.
I think ultimately having a broader pledge will better represent the views of those who take it and the community, and agree that having a clear action which becomes standard for all EAs could be very beneficial.
I have not signed the GWWC pledge, and will very likely not while the pledge retains its current wording, but would sign if the proposed changes were made.
It'd be good to discuss how this fits with the EA Donation Registry which I and others spent a fair bit of time building earlier this year. We created it partly to provide a place for EAs who were interested in publicly stating their donation plans but weren't giving to global poverty charities and so might not take the GWWC or Life You Can Save pledges. (We'd earlier had a place for animal welfare donors to do this on the old Effective Animal Activism website which I built for Eitan Fischer, but this hasn't been up for a while.) We mentioned this to GWWC in April, and put the website up in May with donation plans shared by people who took the annual EA survey - there's a recent EA Forum post describing it, and notes on the .impact project page.
Of course, it's quite different to Giving What We Can or The Life You Can Save - they're organisations with members who take a set pledge, whereas the Donation Registry is simply a website on which EAs can share any donations plans they choose to, even if they're not lifelong pledges or 10% of income, and has more public information alongside the EA Profiles. So it's not like they're in competition! People can sign up on the EA Donation Regi... (read more)
I was initially in favor of the change, but after reading comments from the people who are against it, I'm less sure.
I do currently donate to MIRI. I do this somewhat cautiously - there are good reasons to still be skeptical. If I didn't donate to MIRI, I'd still think that global poverty would likely not be the best contender for "top charity", except for PR reasons.
But I do acknowledge that there are already good flagship organizations and networks for non-Global-Poverty EA, and it may be important to preserve the brand integrity of GWWC and not having it bend towards "the generic EA 'donate a lot of money' charity."
The flipside is it is good for the EA community to have a standard of giving larger amounts, and having GWWC represent that has been helpful.
I'm not certain, just wanted to note that as a "Future People" donor, there's room to think that this is at least an open question.
I am not currently a GWWC member, but I intend to join in the future. This change wouldn't have a large effect on me either way, but I would support it.
I have watched the EA movement evolve over the last few years, and it seems to be broadening its scope. This has been especially evident at with GiveWell's Open Philanthropy Project (OPP). When I first became familiar with GiveWell, my initial reaction was that they were missing the big picture. The OPP has been a big positive for me because it addresses areas that could have massive impact, even if there is more uncertainty and attributing direct impact is difficult. I have also noticed 80,000 Hours broaden its message and career recommendations over the past year from mainly focusing on earning to give, to acknowledging that a high risk, high reward career with direct impact might also be a reasonable choice for certain people.
This broadening of scope is essential because it includes people who initially feel the movement is missing the bigger picture (even if they change their minds later). I think the EA community will incorporate more ideas from development economics and x-risk over the coming years, and that this is a good thing.
I remember that GWWC management asked us this in the pledgers' Facebook group, and that a lot of us expressed unhappiness about it, saying that it'd be a big rebranding, change the organisation from the one they joined, be unproductively vague, and we'd "perceive it as a big loss", etc. So I'm a bit surprised and disappointed to see the apparent determination to push this through regardless of our wishes. (I apologise if I'm wrong to perceive this, and there's a chance that GWWC will stay focused on the global poor.)
My initial reaction was negative - I wanted GWWC to stay focused on global poverty both due to my personal preference of that cause plus the concern that expanding it could scare off / confuse new people. But after reading the rest of the post I don't have those concerns anymore, and I think this would be a good change. I suspect some of the others who gave negative feedback might have not read the whole thing and have an exaggerated idea of what is actually being proposed.
Thank you Michelle for posting this, and to the Giving What We Can staff for being willing to revise their beliefs in such an open and thoughtful manner.
I support the change – My girlfriend and I are starting an EA Meetup group. We were originally going to make this a GWWC chapter but decided against that once we learned that GWWC isn't cause-neutral. So that's one behavior change which would clearly come out of the name change.
As a GWWC member, my initial reaction is that I would be strongly against this change - one of the reasons I joined was infact specifically because GWWC was committed only to the narrow cause and not a club for EA types in general.
GWWC has brand equity precisely because it focuses on the specific cause within EA that has wide appeal and impeccable credentials. Making this change would basically allow other causes that may have significant philosophical and/or practical baggage to trade on that reputation while undermining the focus and work on extreme pov... (read more)
I think that cause agnosticism is probably the most important novel ingredient of effective altruism, so seeing this kind of sentiment is disheartening. (I don't have strong views on the pledge itself.)
The issue isn't one of fitting several goals in one pledge. If you take the current GWWC pledge to literally require supporting interventions in developing countries, then that's not something that a cause-agnostic donor should be willing to agree to early in their life, even if they currently think that interventions in developing countries are most promising.
Which cause you support should be open to change as you learn and as the available opportunities change.
My suggestion is to keep GWWC poverty-focused and keep the same pledge, but have the GWWC website also direct interested parties to an 'effective altruism pledge', with the informal understanding that making the GWWC pledge is tantamount to making the EA pledge, but not the other way around.
[Edit: Or GWWC-pledge doesn't entail EA-pledge, because EA-pledge is cause-neutral and some GWWC pledgers may not be cause-neutral. Plus 'you secretly committed to this pledge too, surprise!' isn't the right approach. But if the GWWC-pledge is qualified to permit cause-... (read more)
I don't feel strongly about this, but moderately support a switch - it won't affect my decision to pledge, which I'll do so either way as soon as I can support myself while donating.
Community-wise, I support global poverty above other causes intellectually, but empathise more with transhumany types, so maybe I don't have a horse in the race. I do feel as though GWWC is and should remain an important haven for those committed to poverty, who - in other EA orgs - often seem to be looked on as incomplete or fledgling EAs, an attitude which surely wouldn't he... (read more)
One thing that I didn't make sufficiently clear: It is already the case that donating to an organisation which seeks to prevent future catastrophes (whether that be climate change, global pandemics or whatever) would fulfil the pledge, if you thought that was the most effective way to help those in the developing world. The pledge specifically includes 'now and in future' to make clear that not only currently existing people are important. We already have (and I believe have for many years had) members who donate to, for example, the Future of Humanity Ins... (read more)
I support the change. I mean, I would, as someone who's taken advantage of the ambiguity in the current pledge to donate to x-risk-related causes, but I think even independent of that I support the change.
The GWWC pledge is a good institution. It provides a unified community norm of "at least ten percent" and helps keep people honest. It's a piece of "social technology" that makes effective altruism easier.
As such, if GWWC restricted it to the developing world, I would expect and encourage the animal rights movement and the x-risk movem... (read more)
I'm not a GWWC member, because I don't want to lock myself in to a pledge. (I've been comfortably over 10% for a few years, and expect that to continue, but I could imagine, e.g., needing expensive medical care in the future and cutting out my donations to pay for that.) For that reason I wouldn't take the pledge in either its current or its proposed form.
My take on this is that it's okay to make a pledge in good faith if you intend to fulfil it and will make an effort to do so even if this becomes inconvenient.
That doesn't mean committing yourself come what may. If we thought we had to carry through on our promises no matter what, nobody would make promises, and the world would be a sorrier place for that. Similarly people getting married usually intend in good faith to stay with the marriage for the rest of their life, and to make an effort to make that work, but I think the process works better by allowing the prospect of divorce.
For reference, here's what the GWWC FAQ has to say on this:
I have been for a couple of years an interested observer of the effective altruism movement, with my primary concerns being ecosystem conservation and climate change. I would have joined GWWC already had it not been for the restrictions in the current pledge. I support the new pledge, and if it were to be adopted I would have no hesitation in taking it and joining GWWC.
I have been reading on EA and GWWC etc for some months now.
I find it strange that again and again, many of the discussions assume that the givers are in rich countries and that "giving local" is essentially synonymous with "giving within the rich country that the donor resides in".
If GWWC/ EA is aimed only at donors residing/ earning in rich countries/ the developed world, I think the assumption should be recognized and clearly stated.
If this is not an assumption, the write-ups and discussions need to recognize the possibility that do... (read more)
I am not a member of GWWC, and the primary reason for this is that humans are not the only "others" I care about, so the restriction to considering only what will do the most good for humans in the developing world is not one I am willing to make. I would consider joining GWWC if the pledge were changed. This might or might not have an effect on the amount I donated or where I donated it. If GWWC requires members to disclose where and how much they donate, sharing that information would be a difference in my donation behavior.
I personally think f... (read more)
I am a stickler for honesty, so although this is a small point, I'd be concerned about the part:
Because this sounds like I have to do 10% per year every year (or at least, this year, since it says "now").
In general, I'm just averse to binding myself to anything that could make me deviate from doing the most good. I could see situations where it's not best for me to donate >=10% (like this year since I'm a student), and I feel bound to anything I sign.
But I think I'm unique in being a stickler here, so don't take this comment too seriously.
I find myself really quite strongly against this. I'll try to find the time to compose a comment explaining why, but for now I'll simply state this as a data point.
I see why you might say that, and understand your position, but I hope you can see how it could be a little uncharitable to those of us who feel crowded out of what was originally an organisation that made a compelling case about our obligation to help people in the developing world (with things like the calculator showing that many potential GWWC members were in the richest 1-5% of the world). You say that changing the pledge would just include additional groups, and that this wouldn't define it. But - without having anything against people who are focused on different causes! - I don't think we should broaden the pledge (or other global poverty pledges/groups) just because we can do so without technically excluding people who took the old version.
You make it sound a bit like I'm being unwelcoming to other groups. But I think that they have their own venues (look at the size of LessWrong and its meetups), and that there's merit in having multiple venues with clear purposes. Being "part of the EA community" i... (read more)
There are two aspects to having more impact: giving more effectively and giving more. The GWWC pledge says something about both, but I think it is only the latter that really needs the behavioral support that you get from something like a pledge. Once people have got the idea of giving effectively, I think it is unlikely that they will stop giving effectively when they give. It's a hard idea to unsee! But they might find it harder to keep giving as much.
So I think the most important bit is the 10%, when it comes to actually affecting people's behavior.
That... (read more)
I am already a member, but I am in favour of changing the pledge because I see 'cause neutrality' as one of the most valuable and distinctive components of effective altruism.
I would prefer see "I recognise that I can use part of my income to do a significant amount of good in the developing world" remain in the pledge. On similar grounds, I do not really like the language "beyond poverty."
Many commenters have focused on the effects of a change on GWWC's branding and its ability to attract additional members. These may be important effects. But depending on how seriously you take the pledge and on how narrowly you read it, the direct effect may also be quite important. Namely, the a narrow reading of the cur... (read more)
Unfortunately, it seems that this would satisfy the pledge, assuming the donor genuinely thought those charities were the most effective. And there are plausible epistemic states that might lead to such a view - for example, skepticism about the reliability of reports about the impact of distant actions.
This would not be a concern if GWWC was prepared to say "and ... (read more)
I would strongly consider joining GWWC if this change were made. I agree that there are a number of thorny issues to work out.
EDIT: In particular, I'm really uncomfortable with the prospect of environmentalists joining GWWC.
I plan EA meetups and attended the EA summit and give about 20% of my income. I haven't taken the pledge, but was thinking about it, and my guess is I will take it anyway. I would be more likely to take it and take it faster if you made the change.
I wonder if you've had a a poet look at the pledge. It would be nice if it also sounded poetic. For example, you might replace "a significant amount of good" with "much good", and I'm sure with more wordsmithing, you could develop real beauty.
Michelle, my great respect for work you and your organization are doing.
I am not a native English speaker, and it will take me long time to get 10 karmas, unless members of this forum accelerate me.
I am not a member of GWWC. Not Yet. I even did not know 3 weeks ago that EA-minded organizations exist. My remarks to you this post are as follows:
“to improve the lives of others” sounds better to me than ” to help people in developing countries”.
“Pledge” sounds heavy loaded of many meanings, confusing people and potential donors. http://www.merria
You might consider italicizing the word "most" in the phrase "whichever organisations can most effectively use it". This might guard somewhat against ineffective or complacent giving.
I understand that change of pledge would broaden what people (old, young, those with no income currently and working folks) can do. However. current GWWC pledge is more specific. It specifies the percentage of donation, 10%, which is measurable and can be used as a benchmark. People with less income like students are welcomed to donate less than 10%, say 5%.
Although the proposed pledge states the ultimate goal of ultraism, it lacks measurement as in how people make efforts, e.g. donating, volunteering? It is possible that some people take a vague pledge b... (read more)