Our mission statement
The Life You Can Save is a movement of people fighting extreme poverty. We hold that an ethical life involves using some of our wealth and resources to save and improve the lives of those less fortunate than us.
For this reason, we spread knowledge of what all of us can do to reduce poverty and we encourage people to publicly pledge a percentage of their income to highly effective aid organizations.
If we could easily save the life of a child, we would. For example, if we saw a child in danger of drowning in a shallow pond, and all we had to do to save the child was wade into the pond, and pull him out, we would do so. The fact that we would get wet, or ruin a good suit, doesn't really count when it comes to saving a child's life.
UNICEF estimates that about 19,000 children die every day from preventable, poverty-related causes. Yet, at the same time almost a billion people live very comfortable lives, with money to spare for many things that are not at all necessary. (When did you last spend money on something to drink, when drinkable water was available for nothing?)
The Life You Can Save seeks to change this.
In 2009, Peter Singer wrote the book The Life You Can Save and he has recently been working with a team of people (some of whom you can meet below) to develop an organization of the same name that will spread and make practical the central ideas of the book.
We at The Life You Can Save want to change the culture of giving – to make giving to help the needy something that any normal decent person would do. We want unnecessary luxuries like expensive cars to become anti-status symbols. We want the idea of who is "in your community", and therefore deserving of your help, to expand beyond your immediate family, friends and geographical region to include the entire world. And we want people to think carefully about where they give so that they can help the world's poorest as much as possible with their donations. As Peter Singer argues in his book, if everyone who can afford to contribute to reducing extreme poverty were to give a modest proportion of their income to effective development charities, the problem could be solved. It wouldn't take a huge sacrifice.
In pursuit of these developments in popular thinking, we are working hard to spread our message through marketing/media campaigns, through the proliferation of local groups of informed givers and through a global online community. We encourage people to take the pledge and we want to support those who are not yet ready to. We are also developing ideas for employee engagement in effective giving and we will continue to keep abreast of issues surrounding philanthropy, global poverty and charity cost-effectiveness, sharing the latest news with our followers.
The Life You Can Save is part of a broader movement known as the Effective Altruism movement. Effective Altruists are individuals who devote a significant part of their life to improving the world as effectively as they can. The Effective Altruism movement is young but growing steadily and we welcome the day when Effective Altruism is a commonly recognizable lifestyle choice.
Meet some of our team
You can read more about our founder, Peter Singer, here.
"I spent most of my life thinking that it was unfair how much we have and how little others have. But like many others I suppressed the thought and went on providing for my own family and giving little to others. Then I started reading Peter Singer's writings…and I couldn't ignore the thought any longer. My wife and I have now decided to help financially support the development of The Life You Can Save and I am excited to be Executive Director, working alongside Holly Morgan, our Managing Director, and Llamil Silman, our Chief Marketing Officer. Until recently, I was president of a large retail company in the US, and now as I do this new work, I often have the feeling that the life I am saving is my own, because helping to ameliorate suffering and saving lives among the world's poorest people through the work of great charities like those we recommend is such a rare privilege."
You can contact Charlie at email@example.com
"Born and bred in Brighton, I moved to Oxford to study philosophy and have spent most of my university days volunteering full-time for various charities. I have always been a charitable type, but it wasn't until I came across the work of thinkers like Peter Singer that I started trying to make my help as effective as possible. I am so thankful for the opportunity to work on growing The Life You Can Save and I have now pledged to give at least 10% of my income to effective development charities for the rest of my life – this all gives me such an incredible sense of purpose and I am so much more confident and happy as a result.
As I sat here trying to think of how to tell "my story", I realized a wonderful way of looking at things: everyone has a story. Every life we can save is not just a statistic or a "drop in the bucket". Every single life is a person with a story. What's your story? …What do you want it to be?"
You can contact Holly at firstname.lastname@example.org
"I remember that, for quite some time, I had felt the desire to give something to those in need, but always had some excuse: I do not know who to give to…I'll do it next year…I have to pay my bills and if anything remains... It has not been until now, thanks to the opportunity of working with Holly, Charlie and Peter, that I have discovered that you don't need to have much to give something and that, although one is not necessarily responsible for the misfortunes of others, we do have a moral responsibility to help and it is our duty, as it is to pay our debts or educate our children.
If you are reading this, surely you can help save a life! I invite you to browse the different areas of this website, take the pledge, and discover the different organizations that we recommend."
If you have questions or suggestions regarding the website, please contact email@example.com
"I became interested in charitable giving after reading research by the charity evaluator GiveWell. I was in the midst of a ten year career at a prominent hedge fund, earning more money than I needed. So donating felt like a natural thing for me to do, and GiveWell’s analysis convinced me of the importance of giving to the most impactful charities. Later, I had the privilege to serve on GiveWell’s board. In an effort to leverage the impact of my personal donations, I began running “Giving Games” where I let participants donate my money to their choice of great charities. The organization I founded, A Path That’s Clear, has run Giving Games that have engaged thousands of people in conversations about how to give best. I’m excited that now I have the opportunity to use Giving Games to spread The Life You Can Save’s vital message, and I’m thrilled to be part of the team."
You can contact Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org
"When I first read about Singer’s work in the New Yorker article, The Gift, I was excited. I had expressed similar views to the chagrin of various family members, but never found such a clearly articulated argument for truly valuing and working towards the betterment of those on the other end of the global wealth divide. Our collective ability to reduce the suffering of so many around the globe with such relatively small personal commitments is inspiring.
Since college I’ve been studying, in some form or another, the relationship between creative forms of expression and social justice movements throughout history. As one friend put it, “Every massive social movement has a great soundtrack,” and I think there is a reason for that. Reducing global suffering is a cause that nearly everyone can agree with, and the international community is making giant strides towards measurably demonstrating the most effective ways to do so. Our challenge is to creatively communicate this movement to the millions of people around the globe who are already thinking along the same lines, but don’t have the resources or community to act with confidence in their efficacy. Once again, I’m excited. The stakes are high. I hope you’ll join us."
You can contact Laura at email@example.com