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Giving Now 

Just some thoughts on giving now instead of later.

I have a bias towards giving now. On account of there is suffering occurring now, and telling someone that help will come later, the lifeguard will come later, justice will come later, pain-relief will come later or start-up funding will come later doesn't seem that helpful. 

In fairness, I certainly can see cases for giving later. 

I think of TB, the current DOTS program has its limitations. 

Directly observing medication intake over months has it's problems. In comparison to later funding the distribution of a fictional one jab vaccine for adults. 

Yet, doing nothing about the TB cases now seems to me unhelpful. 

Give later, invest to give, and earn to give I find too slow. 

There's no doubt they all have their merits. 

Giving later when one is more familiar with an issue and effective solutions. Invest to give, ongoing funding to give to new charities or to respond to things like the COVID-19 pandemic. Earn to give, when one has more income to make a greater impact. 

My thinking {and I can be wrong} is that at some point we have to act. 

We can't just keep waiting to make a decision or for more research. 

There may always be that fog of solutions. 

Just like the fog of war, when you may not have the complete picture, but need to act. 

There is hopefully enough research in fields like global health and global poverty to achieve more good now. 

I'm okay with the donation being a drop in the bucket. A donation of even one billion dollars would be a drop in the bucket. When I think about the money from charities, foundations and governments for social issues, but that’s okay. 

A small amount of help now is better than no help at all. 

So, investing to give or earn to give doesn't appeal that much to me. 

I can, however, understand a case for a Donor-Advised Fund to provide ongoing funding.  

My focus is currently on global poverty and global health. So, perhaps other causes are more suitable to give later.

I think {rightly or wrongly} that global poverty and global health need giving now. 

Be it ensuring early intervention for families before the trap of intergenerational poverty. 

The need to stop jobs depleting in an area now to stop the disintegration of that community, and the harder work to undo the problems. 

The need to reduce poverty now to stop the delinquent behavior that can come from being in a low-socioeconomic and jobless community. 

Stopping people being homeless now spares the emotional damage of homelessness and the increased cost of helping later. 

The cures, existing and improved treatments that need to be given to people as fast as possible. And the thinking is also people shouldn’t have to wait a second longer for liberation. 

This is meant to be my decision to give now (and not to say it’s the only way others should give). 

I do, however, wonder what tools there are to increase giving now by people that need incentives to do so. 


Answer by D122

I should preface this by noting that the current charities are not EA ones. This giving plan is also a work in progress and could change. 

Yet, the sharing on why and to whom may be of use to me and the EA community. 

How Much

I currently donate 10% or more to charity. 

It is not a magic number, but is one I am familiar with through the concept of tithing in religion and the Giving What We Can Pledge. 

It also represents a greater commitment to the causes. Yet, it still means 90% for me as one person and 10% for the world, hardly a good deal for the world. 

Where and Why

Poverty and global-health charities. 

Doing something about poverty has always been a focus of mine. Global health becomes more and more of a priority because ill health can prevent not only life, but a quality of life and prosperity. 

I tend to focus on direct relief and not advocacy or system change. 

The evidence of impact for system change and advocacy is more unclear to me than direct relief. 

If the advocacy is successful that does not mean the donation I gave to an advocacy group was effective. As there are so many actors involved in the campaign and the campaign may have been successful regardless of the group I have given to. 

Political candidates can receive significant money with no certainty they will be elected or can achieve what they want, if elected.

So, I have more confidence in direct relief. 

The  Charities  

The International Rescue Committee

I have changed from giving to single intervention charities like the Against Malaria Foundation to broader ones like the IRC. 

I think if the circus is going to come to town that it should have more than just bed nets for those that do not already have malaria. 

It should also have other medical interventions for those with it and other medical issues. 

Yes, some of the programs in a broader charity may be less cost-effective than others or less effective than others. Yet, overall I think the broader ones are the better choice. 

The Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic 

It provides free primary healthcare to people in LA. 

I am okay with helping people in developed as well as developing countries. 

For me, the debate was primary healthcare or medical research. 

I certainly support more funding for medical research, yet I did not know which medical research charity is the one more likely to get to a cure and sooner rather than later. 

Yet, primary healthcare charities {no matter which one really} are likely to provide that primary healthcare to people. I also figured that my small donation could cover more of a primary healthcare service than a billion dollar cure, thus be of more use. 

The Association to Benefit of Children. 

ABC provides healthcare and education to kids in poverty in New York {including in a very poor Congressional district in America, The South Bronx}. It also provides job help and accommodation to families. 

They claim to achieve high outcomes for people {much higher than those not in the program}. They have also been recommended by at least one independent program evaluator. 

I must admit that education philanthropy is not something I am that supportive of. 

I find people treat education as this magic wand that is the solution to everything,  but things are not that simple.

Research notes what happens outside the school has more of an impact on educational outcomes and prosperity later in life. So, the focus on philanthropy should {in my mind} be outside the school. 

I also want more immediate support to people and not a multi-year school program whose results {like a good job as an adult} is too far away.  

I don't , however, want to completely ignore early intervention. I like the medical programs of the charity and education is important. So I support it. 

The fourth area of giving is for one-off donations or irregular donations {unlike the above mentioned}, to a variety of charities.  

One idea was that if a charity is good enough to receive one donation that it is good enough to receive more than one. Yet, I thought by having a fourth area of giving like this it means charities not missing out on donations because they are not the ones I give to regularly. 

It also keeps me motivated to research other charities. 

The focus is global, developing countries and developed countries. 

They have to be effective and the donation has to equate to at least 1% of the intervention {that's a rough guide}. 

So, I would imagine the one-off donations will be at least slightly higher than the regular donations to the charities I give to on a regular basis.  

After reading about McKenzie Scott's donations including to lesser-known charities, I am interested in browsing the lesser known ones as well as the more known ones.