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We’re excited to announce that applications for the Charity Elections program in 2022-23 are now open!

This post is for young people who are altruistically minded and would like to apply for sponsorship and EAs who have connections to high school students who would be interested in participating in the program.1

What is a Charity Election?

A charity election is a school-wide event in which high school students vote among three charities to decide which will receive up to $2,000 in sponsored funds. The program was created in 2018, and our team of five is funded at a total of one full-time position (~35 hrs/wk collectively) by a grant from the Effective Altruism Infrastructure Fund. The project has been incubated by Giving What We Can since 2021, and it was developed with the support of The Life You Can Save in years prior.

For sample election results, please see this video presented by a maths teacher who implemented the program in 2021, or this article co-written with two student leaders and an AP Government teacher. The event can be run by student leaders and/or teachers.

Charities on the Ballot

Schools running the program in their first year have a ballot consisting of the SCI Foundation, the Clean Air Task Force, and GiveDirectly. Other highly effective organisations that have been featured on the ballot include the The Humane League and the GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund. Before voting, students research and discuss the charities using a framework designed to empower high school students to apply principles of effective giving in an age-appropriate manner. Since 2018, nearly 5,000 students have voted after participating in the research and discussion process, and our goal is to run the event in 15-40 schools over the duration of the grant and potentially continue to scale up thereafter.

Piloting Student Mentorship

To enhance support for student leaders running the event, we’ve established the Student Mentorship Program this year. The student mentors are primarily university students based at Georgetown University, as well as one high school student in Canada, who are devoted to the idea that student leaders will appreciate support from peers as they coordinate the election. If you are connected with highly personable university students who might like to join our mentorship team, we are currently exploring ways to scale mentorship between university EA groups and student leaders running charity elections.

Nominate a Student Leader

Overall, we’re excited about the potential impact of this initiative, and we highly encourage you to share this opportunity with eligible participants or apply for sponsorship after reviewing the Charity Elections webpage.

You can also nominate a student leader (high school) via the form below.

Further Information

Please head to the Charity Elections webpage to learn more about the program, and follow us on Instagram for updates from the Student Mentor Team. If you would like to get involved or have suggestions for improvement or partnership, you can reach out to us at charityelections@givingwhatwecan.org.


1 Teachers and schools may also apply for sponsorship. If you are aware of a school that might be interested, please send an email to charityelections@givingwhatwecan.org letting us know your connection to the institution, its name and location, and a contact (if you have one).





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It is probably important to note that the Charity Elections website is still in progress and contains some interesting typos and technical glitches. That is all.

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