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Part A (20 mins.)

In this exercise, we’ll imagine that you’re planning to donate to a charity to improve global health, and explore how much you could do with that donation.

GiveWell is an effective altruism-inspired organization which attempts to identify outstanding donation opportunities in global health and development. Using this tool to estimate your future income and Givewell’s reports on their top charities, try and work out what you could achieve if you donated 10% of your lifetime income to one of these charities.

If you’re short on time, here’s a sheet with information about three top GiveWell charities. If you’d like to explore further, check out GiveWell’s cost effectiveness models.

Complete this exercise for three GiveWell charities, writing down your answer like, e.g.:

Malaria Consortium: X cases of malaria prevented, with an estimate of N deaths averted


Part B (10 mins.)

In the last section, you ended up with a few different options. Now imagine you were given $1,000 to donate to only one of these charities. 

There's a difficult judgment to be made now: since you have to pick, which charity would you donate to to do the most good?

Now write down your answer to the following questions:

Which charity do you pick to donate to? Why?

Part C (Optional, 10 mins.)

What are other decisions in your life that you might consider generating quantitative estimates and comparing outcomes for? 

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18 Answers sorted by

Part A. 114 lives saved [Medicines For Malaria] 163 lives saved [Helen Keller] 114 lives saved [New incentives]

Part B. I would go with Malaria Consortium. Even though the cost effectiveness of Helen Keller international is higher, the impact isn't exceptionally good. Malaria affects a large number of people and the death rate is higher. Moreover the room left for finding for Malaria Consortium is also higher. We have to make sure we help a large number of people with promising impact. This might be contrary to the decisions of other people but it's based on careful observation.

Part C. I'm interested in the field of medicine. I'm willing to work in the same area. Poverty kills people and mostly the reason is lack of resources for treatment and prevention of deceases. We can treat lack of nutrition via medicine which will not only affect individual lives but will also drastically improve economy.


Hellen Keller: 30,000 Vitamin A supplements, 10 lives saved 

New Incentives: 200 vaccinations, 6 lives saved

Malaria Consortium: 3000 children protected, 10 lives saved


With only 1,000 dollars, I would donate to Hellen Keller International because of the high cost-effectiveness of the charity.


Other issues I would like to consider include biodiversity losses and human rights interventions


I would go for Malaria Consortium, which, from the information I have read, has interventions at the earliest possible age of children, to provide anti-malaria drugs and immunization of infants, and are likely to avert so many deaths.  There will be prevention of sickness for millions of children, and probably 50% or more lives saved, of the total population of children. when children are young, their immunity is quite low and it is better to save lives at that tender age. Adults have higher immunity levels, so other interventions can be used with adults.

If immunization against malaria is recommended soon, the impact will be even greater. 


With only 1,000 dollars, I would donate to Hellen Keller International because of the low cost of one dollar per vitamin distributed. This would have a greater impact from the available total funding.  


Other issues I would like to consider include issues of both Legal and Medical interventions, especially where one must be done without ignoring the other.


1,malaria consortium:

3142 child protected      4.4 life saved

2.against malaria foundation:

4400 bed nets                    4 life saved

3. Helen Keller international:

11000 dose of supplement 4.4 life saved

4.new incentives:

141 child vaccinated               4.4 life saved


with $1000 to donate i'd prefer new initiatives over the other three because

  1. Though the number of people served per $1000 may be less but the impacts are long term as vaccines will protect the children for a much longer period of their life some even can protect them for life.
  2.  the protection is against a number killer disease.



  1. choosing my post retirement life options to be more impactful
  2. selecting between various health schemes for post retirement life
  3. creating a will for my leftover assets.


  1. Malaria Consortium: 28,571 cases of malaria prevented, with an estimate of 44 deaths averted
  2. Against Malaria Foundation: 40,000 nets distributed, with an estimate of 57 deaths averted
  3. Helen Keller International: 166,667 children supplemented with Vitamin A, with an estimate of 67 deaths averted

These estimates highlight the substantial impact that donations can have on global health, especially through highly effective charities identified by GiveWell.


Helen Keller International would be my choice for the $1,000 donation due to its high cost-effectiveness in saving lives, the broad health benefits of Vitamin A supplementation, and the significant number of children who can be helped with this amount.


By using quantitative estimates to compare the outcomes, my decision would be one can make more environmentally conscious choices that contribute to sustainability and reduce their ecological footprint.


New incentive 66 infants vaccinated, with an estimate of 8 deaths averted.


Helen Keller International demonstrates the highest estimated lives saved per dollar donated among the three charities. With a cost-effectiveness of $3,500 per life saved, the potential impact of saving lives is significantly higher compared to the other two charities. While all charities contribute to meaningful causes, the goal is to maximize the positive outcome with the available donation, and Helen Keller International appears to offer the most significant impact in terms of lives saved per dollar.


Track record.


Malaria Consortium: ~45,770 cases of malaria prevented, with an estimate of 64 deaths averted.
Hellen Keller International: ~320,387 vitamin A supplements delivered, with an estimate of 64 lives saved.
New Incentives: ~2,067 infants vaccinated, with an estimate of 64 lives saved.

With just $1,000 I would donate to the Helen Keller International Vitamin A Supplementation program. This program (while labeled "very strong" rather than "exceptionally strong"-- I'll need to investigate why) appears to offer the most impact per dollar spent (most lives saved per contribution). Furthermore, the estimate is that with just $1, an important vitamin A supplement may be provided for an infant. Though this does not necessarily correlate to saving that infant's life, the extremely small dollar amount could have other important implications regarding an increase to quality of life for that individual. 

C. Other important life decisions that I would consider generating quantitative estimates and comparing outcomes for: (1) where I would prefer to live/work (between my 2 nationalities), taking into account salaries and social programs, (2) whether or not it makes financial sense to go back to school/earn a graduate degree, taking into account debt incurrence and potential for increased salary/positions with better benefits.


Malaria Consortium: about 42,800 cases of malaria prevented, with an estimate of 60 deaths averted.

Helen Keller: about 280,000 vitamin A supplements delivered, with an estimate of 86 deaths averted.

New Incentives: about 1,800 infants vaccinated, with an estimate of 60 deaths averted.


If I had $1,000 to donate, I would pick "Helen Keller" since it is the most effective charity in terms of averted deaths (0.3 deaths averted compared to 0.2 for the other two charities) and effective action fulfilled (1,000 vitamin A supplements), given the limited budget.


Since I am interested in geopolitics and would like to work in the economic or diplomatic field, I would consider such factors in the choice of my career. For example, I could look for a job as an economic advisor in an international organization or national government that needs to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of its policies.

By donating 10% of my lifetime income to the Malaria Consortium's SMC program, I could potentially save an estimated 20 lives. This donation could contribute to preventing malaria cases and averting deaths, based on the program's cost-effectiveness.

If I were working with a limited budget of only $1,000, my choice would be to donate to Helen Keller International. The reason for this preference lies in their cost-effective approach, where each dollar donated translates to distributing a vitamin A supplement to a child in need. With just a small contribution, we can make a substantial impact by ensuring that many children receive this crucial nutritional support. This not only improves their immediate health but also has the potential for long-term benefits in preventing malnutrition-related complications and enhancing their overall well-being.

The link provided in the article to estimate total earnings has this input value for the model "Estimated annual raises & cost of living increases". I do not know what this is. How do I calculate it for myself? 

Changing this input by 10% results in a roughly 3% change in the result or about $100,000 in total earnings. So the model output is pretty sensitive to this input. 

Against Malaria Foundation: 77,000 cases of malaria prevented, with an estimated 12 lives saved.

I would choose the Against Malaria Foundation because it is one of the highest-impact charities on the list. The effectiveness is exceptionally high and would allow more lives to be saved compared to my other choice, the Malaria Consortium. It also addresses a problem that is larger in scale compared to my other choice, the Helen Keller Foundation with over 600,000 people dying of malaria annually. Therefore, the numbers themselves state that the Against Malaria Foundation is where I should direct my donation.


A. Helen Keller INTL, $3,500 per life saved, 10 lives saved

B. Only being able to donate to one place with $1,000 I think I would choose to donate to the Malaria Consortium because it has a focus on children and infants and could save a lot of lives. In cost effectiveness, it costs "$7 to protect a child from Malaria." 

A. If I had to choose, I would donate to Malaria Consortium. Based on the information I have reviewed, they focus on interventions for young children, providing anti-malaria drugs and immunization to infants, which has the potential to prevent a significant number of deaths. By targeting children at an early age when their immunity is still developing, the impact can be substantial. Additionally, if there is a recommendation for early malaria immunization, the effect could be even greater. B. With only $1,000 to donate, I would choose to support Helen Keller International. Their distribution of vitamins costs only $1 per dose, which means that with the available funding, I can reach a larger number of people and have a greater overall impact. C. There are other decisions in life where it would be beneficial to generate quantitative estimates and compare outcomes. For example, when considering legal and medical interventions, it would be valuable to assess the potential benefits and drawbacks of each option to make an informed decision without neglecting any important factors.

A. Malaria Consortium: 134,683 cases of malaria prevented, with an estimate of 26 deaths averted.

Against Malaria Foundation: 134,683 cases of malaria prevented, with an estimate of 34 deaths averted.

Helen Keller International: 942,785 delivery of a vitamin A supplement, with an estimate of 269 deaths averted.

B. Helen Keller International: would be my pick. Simply because this is the most cost effective donation to impact most number of lives. 

C. Most consumptions on goods.

A. In line with the goals and objectives of e.a, I feel contributing to the malaria consortium, Helen Keller international and the new incentive platforms, which all are geared towards charities in the world,with respect to various dimensions and aspects regarding people's health and advancement, would be of immense benefits and should be supported.

B. I would support the new incentive scheme, because of the large number of people,whom owing to religious, cultural and certain social factors,have been denied certain basic immunizations,which if they were given,would have saved them from certain disabilities and health defamatory state,they are currently managing.

C. Other aspects of my life,which I would work on,includes issues as regards climate change,which is already an existential crisis,as the data and other analytical outcomes, would I continually work, towards effectively and efficiently understanding,and using it's outcomes,with the aim of positively impacting our societies and the world at large.

Absolutely true

Part A 

Malaria Consortium: 42,470 cases of malaria prevented, with an estimate of 59 deaths averted. 

Helen Keller International: 297,322 vitamin delivered, with an estimate of 74 deaths averted. 

Against Malaria Foundation: 59,464 nets provided, with an estimate of 54 deaths averted. 

Part B

The charity I would give $1,000 to is Helen Keller International because it is the most cost-effective. It enables a large amount of vitamins to be provided for little expenses, and this economic stability enables the actions undertaken by this charity to last over time. So I believe that Helen Keller International is not only the most effective instantly, but also the one that can last over time, since it requires less donations than the others for more impactful results. 

Part C 

I would probably focus on human rights, in particular humanitarian law and examine which intervention methods are the most cost-effective in case of war and armed conflicts. 

Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

For the sake of using the handbook for an intro fellowship - where is the "earlier estimate of your future income" located, if anywhere, in the handbook? Does it refer to some exercise or to a graph in one of the articles on economic inequality? And if there is no such thing, perhaps an alternative phrasing or including the estimate in the exercise would be great!

+1 here; looks like this is a  vestige from the previous version, and should probably be corrected

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