Getting to the Mainstream

by PeterSinger 25th Jun 20178 comments



I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and writing about how we ought to live. The aim has always been to get people to behave more ethically, and so to bring about a better world.  The Life You Can Save (TLYCS), an organization I founded and which I now serve as board president, focuses on making effective giving part of mainstream thinking about giving .  I hope some of you will want to take a look at the organization’s Strategic Plan for producing large-scale behavioral change.  It provides some insights into our  thinking, where we are today, and where we want to be in the future.


In 2012, The Life You Can Save was a book, which I published in 2009, and a website set up by a friend and sjupporter, intended to promote the ideas of the book and encourage people to pledge to donate a percentage of their income to effective charities.  At that time Charlie Bresler  approached me, offering to turn TLYCS as a meta-charity, based both on his time and work (he became its unpaid Executive Director), and on his funding.  I thought it was risky (relative to Charlie’s alternative of giving his money to the Against Malaria Foundation) but a risk worth taking.  Since then, I’ve become more and more convinced that the bet has paid off handsomely.  Last year, we moved $2.7m (a conservative estimate) to our recommended charities, more than $9 for every dollar spent on operating expenses.  These metrics should continue to improve as growth in money moved has so far been strong in the current year, while expenses are roughly he same as last year.


TLYCS has built a small but talented team led by Charlie (former president of the Men’s Wearhouse) and COO Jon Behar (a 10 year veteran of the world’s largest hedge fund).   Our impact to date has been significant, and is growing at a steep trajectory, but this progress only represents the early stages of our plans.  Ultimately, TLYCS wants to develop the capacity to introduce huge numbers of people to the idea of effective giving, and to have available the tools and messaging to get them to act.  We also want to build a community that will nurture and increase their involvement over time.  Our Strategic Plan explains the vision for making this happen, and how added capacity will translate to more impact. I hope you’ll read the Strategic Plan and consider supporting TLYCS.