I'm a software developer at a small IT company that has been developing a mobile application pro bono in collaboration with The Life You Can Save since October. We are doing this because we share EA values and want to do good in the world in the best way we can - and what we do best is software.
First, a bit of background about me. I first came into contact with the ideas of effective altruism a couple of years ago by reading Practical Ethics by Peter Singer. Since then I have been both learning more and more about effective altruism and trying to apply its practices in my own life. I have a MSc in Software Engineering and currently live in Stockholm where I am active in an effective altruism group.
Now to the app we're making.
Unfortunately, most people are not effective altruists (yet!). People mostly do good based on getting a happy, fuzzy feeling. The problem is that donating money to effective charities does not provide a significantly happy, fuzzy feeling.
The Goal of the App
Make donating to effective charities provide a happy, fuzzy feeling. The focus is entirely on making people feel awesome by doing good effectively. Other, less effective charities are getting donations because they provide that fuzzy feeling, among other things. We want to create the same thing for effective organizations .
People who already donate money to charities but don't know about or are not convinced enough by EA to go through the "hassle" of donating effectively through GiveWell, The Life You Can Save, EA funds or other alternatives.
A great example of a successful mobile charity application and an app from which we've drawn a lot of inspiration is Share The Meal. In their 2017 report it says 9,610,028 meals were shared thanks to donations made in the app. They've also received a ton of positive media exposure. All donations in the app go to the United Nation's World Food Programme which is not considered an effective charity.
We are not competing with GiveWell, GWWC or EA funds since we believe they are focused on utilon donations.
The idea is to take a lot of inspiration from Share The Meal, because they do some things really well, then do some things even better, and make donations go to effective charities through The Life You Can Save instead of to WFP.
How you, the effective altruism community and the world can benefit from this
I have personally had a struggle to convince people around me, good-hearted people that regularly donates money to charities, to donate to effective charities. It is just too much of a hassle for them. Having an app like this that can be shown to friends and family would make it much easier for them to try giving to effective charities, which could in turn be a gateway into effective altruism.
What we need help with: feedback!
We recently held a successful launch party at our office in Stockholm and received a lot of positive feedback. We are committed to this project and right now we need more user testing and feedback. We figured the natural place to find testers was the EA forum since the app is based upon the ideas of effective altruism and you are all experienced at giving intelligent feedback and constructive criticism.
How to get involved
1. Download the app! We would love for you to download the app and try it out yourself. The released version is only available in Sweden so far, but the beta is available worldwide on both iOS and Android. (The released Swedish version is available on App Store and Google Play Store)
2. Give feedback! We'd love to hear your thoughts about this project so please comment below or feel free to send an email to email@example.com. If you're going to use this app, great! If not, what would make you use it?
3. Future ideas? We will continue to develop this app and would love to hear what features or functionality you would most like to see to use an app like this.
4. Follow us on instagram to keep up to date with what we're doing :)
Thank you for reading,