Hide table of contents

Giving What We Can is making giving effectively and significantly a cultural norm - and raising a lot of funds for highly effective charities.

We're currently seeking funding to continue our work and ensure that we can inspire many more people to give effectively in the future. In 2024, we're hoping to hit 10,000 lifetime pledges.

At Giving We We Can, we encourage people to give more and give better.

  • Give more: We encourage people to pledge to give at least 10% of their income until the day they retire.
  • Give better: We provide a donation platform that makes it easy for people to donate to our recommended high-impact charities.

Over 8,500 people have taken the Giving What We Can Pledge to donate at least 10% of their income, and have collectively donated over $300 million. By 2030, we want to get to 100,000 pledgers and well over $1 billion of donations. Our ultimate mission is to make donating at least 10%, as effectively as possible, the global norm. We do this in three key ways:

  1. Our pledge: which has inspired a movement of donors to give more significantly, more sustainably, & more effectively.
  2. Our expertise: which helps donors to give more effectively across a diversity of causes and worldviews.
  3. Our donation platform: which makes effective giving easy & accessible for half a billion people on our expanding list of countries (more coming in 2024!).

Our audience

We believe that many people are in a position to do a lot of good by giving effectively. We aim to change the norms around giving, encouraging people to be more impactful and generous.

Our pitch

A decade of charity research has revealed something huge:

The best charitable interventions often have 100x more impact per dollar than average ones 

At GWWC, we help donors find those opportunities (leveraging thousands of hours of research) & make them easy to donate to via our donation platform.

Our impact

From 2020 to 2022, we estimate that we caused $45 million to go to charity. Once we account for the value of new pledge commitments, we estimate we generated $62 million in value.

These figures are our best guess of how much we caused to go to highly effective charities—they don't count money that would have been given anyway or money given to charities we aren't sure are effective.

The monetary impact of GWWC is best documented in our most recent Impact Evaluation, which suggests that from 2020 to 2022:

  • GWWC generated an additional $62 million in value for highly-effective charities.
  • GWWC had a giving multiplier of 30x, meaning that for each $1 spent on our operations, we generated $30 of value to highly-effective charities on average.  Please note that this isn’t a claim that your additional dollar will have a 30x multiplier, even though we think it will still add a lot of value. Read more on how to interpret our results.
  • Each new GWWC Pledge generates >$20,000 of value for highly-effective charities that would not have happened without GWWC.

This evaluation suggests something we long suspected:

If your goal is to get resources into the hands of highly-effective charities, we believe supporting Giving What We Can is a great funding opportunity.

The cultural impact of GWWC (although harder to quantify) has also been significant by making the idea of giving 10% effectively more accessible and compelling to a broader audience. “Pledging 10% to effective charities” has become a touchstone of the effective giving community—inspiring TED talks, launching clubs, & drawing curiositypraise from press around the world.

Our plans

We believe most of our impact lies in the coming decades, and Giving What We Can has spent the past 3.5 years building a sustainable foundation for growth in those decades. We:

  • Built a high-performing team (growing from one full-time team member to ten today)
  • Upgraded & streamlined our donation platform (expanding our reach to new countries)
  • Redesigned our brand & website to better serve the resources & research we offer
  • Built the foundations for international expansion and localisation

And these investments have just started to bear fruit. It took 10 years to get our first 4000 pledges and then only 3.5 years to get our next 4000. We believe that with the proper investments we can continue this trend, hitting our goal of 10,000 members in 2024 & 100,000 members before 2030.

In 2024, we plan to...

Continue:

  • Operating and improving our donation platform, which will likely process over $25 million in donations to highly-effective charities.
  • Expanding our international reach to support country-specific page translations and more country-specific tax-benefits.
  • Leveraging our expertise & research to guide our donors and the effective giving ecosystem.

Start:

  • Building out our advocacy, donor engagement, and fundraising capacity in our key markets.
  • Building better tools for education & persuasion (for the 99% of people who don’t know the power of effective giving). 
  • Building better means of showcasing and connecting our incredible community.
  • Improving the largest entrypoint to GWWC.org—the “How Rich Am I? Calculator—to better educate & convert visitors.
  • And more (announcements coming soon!!)

Our needs

We raise money for our operations so that we can direct more money to highly effective charities.

We’re currently fundraising for a baseline budget of $2.1m USD, aiming to provide Giving What We Can with a stable financial footing for 2024 and beyond. Fully funding our baseline and expansion budget would set the stage for an even more impactful future.

We are particularly funding constrained because we do not accept funding from several of the key funding sources within the effective altruism community due to our working hard to remain robustly impartial when it comes to the advice we provide to donors and the programs we choose to support on our donation platform. We have turned down funding for this reason and hope that we are able to grow predominantly through funding from donors and members who buy directly into our mission and see the impact of our work.

In terms of marginal funding: our growth strategy will be most affected by not meeting our expansion budget, followed by our research capacity, and internationalisation efforts. 

You can see a summary budget here and we can provide a full budget on request:

Depending on how current funding conversations go and a few other factors we expect to begin 2024 with a shortfall of somewhere between US$300k and US$900k for our baseline budget (and further short of expansion budget). Due to our unique position (mentioned above) we are most excited about finding sustainable funding from a combination of regular donors making smaller recurring gifts and larger donors making multi-year commitments (that may come in tranches). This would enable us to focus our fundraising efforts on advocating for our recommended charities/funds and raising money for the programs we support (instead of our own operating costs) while maintaining and improving our ability to ensure our advice is impartial.

If we are able to raise more funds than we can cost-effectively use for our own operations we will:

  1. Use it to fund projects that are promoting effective giving (“giving multipliers”); then if those opportunities are below our target cost-effectiveness we would
  2. Grant it to our supported programs (likely a combination of grantmaking funds)

Support our work

If you would like to support our work, you can:

  1. Check “Add 10% to support our work” when making a donation with Giving What We Can (if all donors start choosing this option we could become ~entirely sustainable from these donations and grant any surplus funds to other cost-effective projects)
  2. Donate directly to Giving What We Can using our website
  3. Contact luke.freeman@givingwhatwecan.org (we ask that you do this for larger gifts in particular, or if you want to support us from outside the US, UK, or Netherlands)

Postscript: 
We’ve been enjoying the marginal funding discussions on the EA Forum SO much and are looking forward to all that’s ahead this Giving Season! Thanks to the EA Forum team for their efforts on Giving Season this year also! It’s so lovely to see the EA community getting behind effective giving to a greater extent again.

Comments8
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 4:11 PM

Thanks very much for sharing this, and all your good work!

We are particularly funding constrained because we do not accept funding from several of the key funding sources within the effective altruism community due to our working hard to remain robustly impartial when it comes to the advice we provide to donors and the programs we choose to support on our donation platform. We have turned down funding for this reason and hope that we are able to grow predominantly through funding from donors and members who buy directly into our mission and see the impact of our work.

Would you mind saying a little more about declining funding from impartiality concerns? I assume in practice this means refusing OpenPhil dollars, and I'm wondering in what way you think this would undermine your impartiality. Is the fear that you would feel under pressure to support their cause areas?

(Thank you!!)

We take funding from Open Philanthropy (currently our largest funder) but not from the evaluators and grantmakers whose recommendations we use (eg Founders Pledge, GiveWell etc) because we don't want it to undermine people's trust in our recommendations.

For various reasons both OP and us would like us to reduce the portion of funding that comes from them as time goes on.

This seems like a case in which it might be helpful for OP to consider pre-committing to GWWC's funding for the next three years or so, with the exact amount of funding each year determined by an algorithm related to GWWC's non-OP funding. Optionally, each year it could announce the algorithm for the fiscal year that began three years from the current year so that there was always a three-year funding algorithm in place.

This would be vaguely similar to what it is doing for some of the EA Funds (although given GWWC's more democratic spirit the formula should factor in number of donors rather than being so heavily based on volume raised). In essence, OP would be deferring to the community's pocketbook vote as to renewal of GWWC's grant and (within bounds) adjustments to the amounts granted. There's a cost for OP there -- the algorithm might lead to a somewhat different grant amount than OP would have chosen under the traditional system, but proper construction of the algorithm should keep the amount "on rails." And GWWC's budget is on the smaller side, so the possible variance should be possible despite the risks of endowment changes and similar events. (Or they could be written into the algorithm.)

This is also a more general idea for other components of what we might term "EA Core Democratic-Leaning Infrastructure," which would also encompass the basic expenses of running the Forum (not the entire CEA Online Team budget request), most of CEA Community Health / Special Projects, and probably a few other things as well. These are all functions for which it would be good for the work to be funded more by a broad base of donors and less by Open Phil.

Makes sense, thanks for explaining!

I agree with this and I'd also be curious to hear more details about where GWWC's current funding does come from, to help evaluate the extent to which GWWC is impartial (though to be clear I do think GWWC is impartial).

Our largest funder has been OP, and we received some (now returned) money from Future Fund. Other than that it hs mostly been individuals and small foundations (eg family foundations).

I'm really happy to see the “Add 10% to support our work” button and I check this every time it comes up!

Thanks!! Great to hear!

Curated and popular this week
Relevant opportunities