Charitable Giving with The Most Impact
In 2017 alone we have seen incredibly sad tragedies from hurricanes to shootings. For those of us not directly affected by these tragedies, we often find ourselves looking for ways to help those in need. If it is not natural disasters causing widespread destruction, there are commercials on TV petitioning for necessary money to feed children in need or it is a local food drive or campaign for those in need in your community. The point being there will always be more charitable organizations and causes to donate to than possible to keep up with.
This has left so many people wondering what charity is best to donate to, and how will you know which charity does the best with your donation? The answer to this common question, according to Peter Singer, lies within effective altruism – simply using evidence and reasoning when deciding how you can do the most good.
Peter Singer is a globally recognized ethicist who is a professor at both the University of Melbourne and Princeton University professor. He is very knowledgeable in the field of charities and charitable giving, knowing precisely how to do the most good with your donation. His recent book, The Most Good You Can Do, goes into great detail about just that.
He is not alone with his thinking regarding giving and effective altruism either. Charity Navigator, an online charity rating service, refers to this as “defective altruism,” sharing their belief that it will push all of us to a more organized and central form of donations. The result is a body of experts ultimately deciding where the donations go rather than individual donors.
Understandably this is a new approach to charitable giving, leaving many confused and some mildly offended. While people should be able to donate to the charity of their choice, something does need to be done to assist or correct the charities that are not as effective at helping others.
In his book, Singer delves into the controversial topic of donating funds to the arts. His argument is that giving tens of millions of dollars to an art museum is noble, but probably nowhere near as helpful or charitable as restoring the ability for a million people to have their sight again. It is easy to see his point of view and quickly become agitated that donors do not do what we feel is best with their money.
He further explains that a donation of $1000, give or take, is a sizable donation. However, to a family in America making around $23,000 per year for their family, $1000 is not a lot in the big scheme of things. To a family living in extreme poverty either here in America or internationally, $1000 is often the yearly income for some people. It is the equivalent of donating $25,000 to a struggling family here in America.
In some cases, a donation of just $400 will put a tin roof over a family, allowing them to live in dry conditions for an average of 10 years. It is tough to fathom how incredible that is.
One charitable organization from America, Kyani Caring Hands, focuses on enhancing the lives of underprivileged children throughout the world. They are not alone in their focus to look internationally to help others. After all, we each have the same basic human needs, so why help those exclusive to the country we live in?
Within his book, Singer does identify what he feels are the best charities and causes to regularly donate to. However, he stresses the importance of first obtaining great information prior to making any type of donation. Specifically, look at how effective an organization or program really is. There is no point donation any sum of money to an organization that has to spend 50% of it just to keep things running.
With that in mind, the next time you feel prompted to donate your money or time, take a minute and learn more. Chances are there is a better organization to donate to that can do more with less.