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The Giving What We Can Donor Lottery is now open with a block size of $100,000 USD! 

Interested in donor lotteries? We suggest you read our in-depth page on donor lotteries to understand the concept better. Here's a quick summary:

  • A donor lottery gives you a chance to direct a larger sum of money while keeping your own donation amount the same. For example, you could donate $1,000 and have a 1% chance of directing a $100,000 pot, or donate $5,000 and have a 5% chance of directing a $100,000 pot.
  • If you win, the larger sum makes it worthwhile to spend more time deciding where the money should go. This extra time can lead to better decisions and greater impact, without changing the amount you were planning to donate in the first place.
  • Because of this, we believe donor lotteries are one of the most effective ways for smaller donors to give, provided you're comfortable with the approach.
  • Winners also get advised by our team and may be introduced to other experts or experienced grantmakers to make the most informed decisions possible.
  • It’s best to enter a donor lottery if you or someone you trust will actually commit time to think more about where to allocate the funds if you win.
  • You can enter anonymously (your name will only be shared with relevant members or our team).

Key dates

  • Close date: 10 January 2024 at 12:00 PM UTC. New entries will not be accepted after this time.
  • Lock date: 24 January 2024 at 12:00 PM UTC. Any payments not confirmed by Giving What We Can after this time will not be accepted as entries.[1]
  • Draw Date: 31 January 2024 at 12:00 PM UTC. The UNIX timestamp of this date will be used to select the NIST beacon entry from which the winning lottery number is derived.

How to enter the donor lottery

Enter the lottery by making a donation to the Donor Lottery before the close date.

Providing backstop funds

We are looking for new funders to act as a benefactor and backstop funds for future lotteries. We will likely open up bigger pots if we are able to find enough funding. If you are interested in providing backstop funds please contact us.

Questions?

For more in-depth information about the lottery process (including the important terms), please see the donor lottery website or contact us.

  1. ^

    It's up to the donor to ensure that Effective Ventures UK or Effective Ventures US receives the payment before the lock date. Especially if you plan to donate in January, we recommend using a payment method that we can confirm quickly (like via credit card, or via bank transfer if you're confident it will arrive before the lock date). Otherwise, tickets will be allocated for the next lottery.

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Update: Winners have been drawn!

 The lotteries have been drawn and results are in!

The winners will receive an email in the next few days with more information.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone who participated this year!

Probably not worth the time to tinker with the site this year, but it would be nice if we had options for attribution other than "Anonymous" and our full name, such as first name only or Forum user name (which are actually the same for me).

Thanks for the feedback!

For now, you can enter as "Anonymous" and then contact us at tech@givingwhatwecan.org with the payment reference and the name you want to have associated with that entry. (Please contact us from the same email address that you entered for the payment)

Hopefully, that's good enough? Sorry for the inconvenience.

Done!

Sorry for the delay, updated the entry https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/donor-lottery/227966102255917

If anyone reading this wants the same, let us know

Is there any way to give a donor lottery entry as a gift to someone?

Not at this time, sorry! You could enter the lottery and, if you win, ask someone else for advice on how to recommend to allocate the amount.

Someone apparently bought a significant number of $5 tickets all in a row. I'm guessing those might have been a sort of charitable lottery tickets given as gifts? If so, interesting gift idea!

Yes, I think that was very probably their intention. I am not sure if it would be a great gift though, as many (most?) people seem to find the concept of a donor lottery a bit counterintuitive.

Who was behind the backstop funds in the previous years? Do you know why they would not offer the backstop funds this year?

While I can't share specific details about our previous benefactor for various reasons (e.g. privacy), I can assure you the reasons for this are not related to any issues with the Donor Lottery itself (e.g. support of the approach, estimation of its value or cost-effectiveness, any issues with the process etc).

Our previous benefactor has been instrumental in supporting the lottery in the past and we deeply appreciate this. We'd be excited to find more backstop funds to increase the size of the Donor Lottery again.