Effective Altruism and the Giving What We Can pledge

Effective Altruism (EA) is about the use of evidence and reason to help others as much as possible with your time and money. Common practices include donations to effective charities and choosing careers based on the amount of good that you can do that way.

The movement was started by Oxford philosophers Toby Ord and Will MacAskill, who in turn were inspired by the Australian philosopher Peter Singer. In 2009 they founded the society Giving What We Can and in 2011 the Centre For Effective Altruism.

I first learned about EA in 2016 through a Sam Harris podcast with MacAskill about his book Doing Good Better. I started donating to EA causes in 2020, and in 2021 I took the Giving What We Can pledge which involves giving 10% of your income to effective charities each year until you retire.

Until now, I’ve donated to the four Effective Altruism funds. They focus on global health and development, animal welfare, the long-term future and EA infrastructure. EA experts in the funds decide each year how to allocate the donations for the biggest impact and their decisions are well researched. This approach saves me from doing the charity-picking research myself 🙂

A good alternative could be to follow the advice of charity evaluators like GiveWell who prioritise effectiveness in their charity reviews.

More EA info


3 TED-talks on YouTube:

Global income distribution chart from Our World in Data showing that if you make $60,000 per year or more, you are among the richest 1% in the world! On the Giving What We Can website you can calculate how rich you are.

In Dutch

Doneer Effectief. A Dutch foundation to facilitate donating to global effective organisations from within The Netherlands.

Als je gelooft dat iedereen gelijk is, waarom ben je dan zo rijk? Article by Dutch historian and author Rutger Bregman for the online journal De Correspondent (2021).

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