​How Does “Effective Altruism” Impact Your Nonprofit?


There are thousands upon thousands of “good causes” in the world, and many millions of people who wish to help them, but how does a philanthropist, or even a one-time donor, choose which cause to support -- and can you influence that choice?

Giving strategies have been promoted by philosophers like Peter Singer and William MacAskill, and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz. Learning about these theories may impact how your organization solicits donations. One premise is to “donate in the most effective way,” espousing the theory that donors should give to the cause that will have the most impact -- for example, a focus on saving lives in poorer countries. While supporters of effective altruism claim it is a more “scientific” approach to allocating donations, there is no universal definition of “most effective” and any charitable organization can assert that they will put their funds to the best use. Others theorize that donors should contribute to whatever gives them the greatest satisfaction.

To read more about the theory of effective altruism, see Can “Effective Altruism” Really Change the World? http://nonprofitquarterly.org/2016/02/24/can-effective-altruism-really-change-the-world/

For more on Peter Singer: https://www.princeton.edu/~psinger/

For more on William MacAskill: http://www.williammacaskill.com/

For more on Dustin Moskovitz: http://www.forbes.com/profile/dustin-moskovitz/