2023 Annual Report


*All dollar ($) amounts specified in this report are United States dollars unless expressly indicated otherwise.

A Note From Our Executive Director

2023 was a year of change and reflection at The Life You Can Save. Early in the year our Executive Director, Rickard Vikström, decided to step down and reflect on the next step in his professional life. Fortunately, he agreed to remain on our Australian Board of Directors.

December marked the 10 year anniversary of the organization and we were close to moving an estimated $100 million to our recommended nonprofits (a milestone we’ve since surpassed).  With Rickard stepping down, and to keep our momentum going, I stepped back in operationally and immediately began to focus on finding the next generation of leadership to shepherd The Life You Can Save into the next decade. I was very energized by the work the team was doing and the progress the organization had made in helping those living in extreme poverty. 

While searching for our new leadership, our research team kicked off work to update our evaluation framework while simultaneously expanding our list of recommended nonprofits to include organizations focused on education and reducing violence against women and girls. Our fundraising team continued to deepen relationships with existing donors and attempt to make new connections with potential donors. One thing I am most excited about is our developing partnership with Humanitix that came to fruition towards the end of 2023. There has been nothing more inspiring than collaborating with Joshua Ross and Adam McCurdie, the two founders of Humanitix who are focused not on accruing wealth but making the most positive impact they can with the profits of their company. If you haven’t bought a ticket for an event using their platform yet, I highly suggest you check it out.

Around the middle of the year I proposed to our then COO, Jessica La Mesa, that she and her husband Andrea La Mesa consider taking on running The Life You Can Save. I was aware that the role was not something she was interested in taking on herself, and after some discussion they agreed to share this role on a volunteer basis. With very strong operating backgrounds coming from technology startups I knew from the beginning they would be an ideal pair to continue the work of The Life You Can Save into the future. 

With the new leadership set, I have been able to step back and consider my next step. I strongly believe that the new leadership needs to forge their own path without interference from me. While I remain on the Board and will continue to nurture existing relationships with donors and especially with Josh and Adam of Humanitix, I will look for new ways to make an impact. 

I’m grateful to Peter for answering my email when I reached out to him 10 years ago about starting a proper nonprofit and embarking on this adventure with me. I am proud of all that the Team has accomplished together, and hope for an even greater impact for The Life You Can Save in the coming years.

Do Good. Feel Good.

Charlie Bresler

Charlie Bresler
Executive Director

Clementine, Entrepreneur, Village Enterprise - Rwanda 2023
Mom and new born after a check up with Living Goods Community Healthcare Worker - Uganda, 2023
TaRL student attending school in Kyaka Refugee Settlement - Uganda, 2023
Alphonsine, Berancille and Pascasie, Village Enterprise Entrepreneurs - Rwanda, 2023

A Note From Our New Co-CEO’s

Andrea and I first connected with The Life You Can Save as donors who were very new to philanthropy, and looking to grant funds to high impact giving opportunities. Andrea had signed the Founder’s Pledge as part of a group of Airbnb employees who wanted to give back, and our advisor there recommended The Life You Can Save to us. We thought it was pretty incredible that you could make a donation to an organization and by doing so amplify your impact by more than 10x because the work of the organization would bring more funding to high impact nonprofits. Subsequently we hopped on a call with Charlie, and the first thing he said was that the organization needed people with our experience to help them grow, and would we consider working with them.

I joined The Life You Can Save as a strategic advisor early in 2022; it was so energizing to join this team and work directly on a mission that is so closely aligned with Andrea and my values. Over the next two years my excitement, and belief in the potential of this organization to continue to reach even greater heights in helping to change this world for the better was reflected in the continued expansion of my role in the organization. Ultimately, when Charlie suggested Andrea and I take over the leadership of the organization, we both felt there was no better opportunity to have the impact that we wanted to have with our time, talent and capital.

Today we are both so excited as we look to the future, and are so inspired not only by the people (staff, volunteers and donors) who have helped this organization achieve the great success so far of moving more than $100M to high impact charities, but also by the response in people who are exposed to the mission and our work for the first time. We truly believe that our collective effort will make this world a more just and ethical place for those who are suffering from the effects of multidimensional poverty.

We’d like to thank the board (Peter, Neela, Charlie) for their confidence in our ability to have a meaningful contribution to this organization, and we’d like to especially thank Charlie for having had the vision of offering this opportunity to us in the first place. We hope we have the opportunity to meet with all of you and learn more about what we can do to help you on your individual impact journeys. Please never hesitate to reach out directly to: andrea@thelifeyoucansave.org or jessica@thelifeyoucansave.org.

Thank you,

Jessica and Andrea La Mesa

Money Moved
~$ 0 m
Net Impact
$ 0 m
3-Year Leverage Ratio
0 x
Books Distributed
~ 0

The Year In Numbers

Metric 2023 2022 1 yr % Change Compound annual growth since 2014
Net Impact $14,715,288 $15,946,603 -8% 42%
Money Moved $16,941,425 $17,678,763 -4% 40%
Money Moved ex large outlier donations $16,941,425 $17,678,763 -4% 40%
Expenses $2,226,137 $1,732,160 29% 30%

Net Impact: We measure our Net Impact by subtracting our total annual expenses from the total Money Moved to our recommended nonprofits. In 2023, our net impact was ~$14.4 million as we spent ~$2.2 million on our operations globally and raised ~$16.6 million for our recommended nonprofits.

Money Moved: In 2023, our supporters donated a total of ~$16.6 million to our recommended charities.

Money Moved excluding large outlier donations: The giving levels of one or a few large donors in any given year can have a significant impact on our overall results, and these donations can also be quite volatile year-to-year. We, therefore, report on both the total Money Moved and “Money Moved excluding large outlier donations” to help indicate our growth rate. We had none of these large outlier donations in 2023.

Expenses: Expenses grew to $2.2 million in 2023.

3-year leverage ratio: If you take all the money we raise annually for our nonprofits and divide that number by the money we spend operating our organization, you get what we call our “leverage ratio” for that year. To gauge our impact over time, we rely on a “3-year leverage ratio“ which is simply our average annual leverage ratio over the past three years.

From 2021-2023, our 3-year leverage ratio was 11:1. In other words, for every $1 we invested in spreading our message and helping others discover and donate to effective charities over the last three years, we raised $11 for our recommended nonprofits. We believe our 3-year leverage ratio is a helpful representation of our effectiveness and impact. But we also believe this estimate is fairly conservative since we’re unable to track all the donations that would ideally be included in our overall Money Moved metric.

A Time of Celebration and Change


Listen to Peter's episode on Charlie's Musings Podcast

This Annual Report comes at a time of celebration, and of change, for The Life You Can Save. We are celebrating the fact that, by our best estimate, we have now raised more than US$100 million for our recommended charities. I never imagined, when I wrote the book from which the organization takes its name, that it would have so significant an impact on people living in extreme poverty. Granted, some of that money would have been given to charities anyway, but the important point is that it has been donated to charities that are independently assessed as highly effective. That can make a huge difference, because a highly effective charity assisting people in extreme poverty in low-income countries may do hundreds of times as much good as one working in affluent countries – and I mean a genuine charity that is trying to use its resources well, not a fraudulent one. If you think that must be an exaggeration, see The Life You Can Save, (2019 edition) pp. 118-9 — and if you don’t have it, you can download it, free, from the TLYCS website. So $100 million donated to the most effective charities may do as much good as several billion dollars donated to less effective organizations.

This money would never have been raised, had it not been for an email I received in April 2012:

Hi Peter,
I am a former academic (graduate professor of psychology) who “stumbled” into becoming President of a large national retail chain. I really like your work, Peter, and your website. I have been thinking for over a year if I could be helpful to you in promoting your work geared toward philanthropy. Please let me know if you would like to talk.
In any case, great job, and good luck with your work.
Charlie Bresler

I accepted Charlie’s invitation to talk, and after that conversation, accepted his assistance in founding The Life You Can Save. Charlie became the (unpaid) Executive Director, and he and his wife, Diana Schott, were also, in those early years, the major donors. He arranged registration as a 501 (c) 3 charity, hired the first staff members, and essentially created the organization that exists today. He has served as Executive Director for the great majority of The Life You Can Save’s existence, and so is primarily responsible for raising the great majority of that $100 million. Without him, what those donations achieved would not have happened: lives saved, sight restored, life-transforming fistula surgeries performed, children educated, and people assisted in starting small businesses that enable them to escape poverty.

As Charlie writes elsewhere in this report, this year he decided it was time for new leadership, and on his recommendation, the board of directors appointed Andrea and Jessica La Mesa as co-CEOs. Fortunately, we are not losing Charlie entirely. He will continue to be a member of the The Life You Can Save Board of Directors, and the organisation will continue to benefit from his insight and wisdom, while I will always count Charlie and Diana as friends.

Another important change is the development of our own research capacity, directed by our first in-house team over the past couple of years, which means that we are no longer reliant on research done by other organizations, but can broaden the range of nonprofit organizations we assess and recommend. The adoption of our new Charity Evaluation Framework, which takes into account not only lack of income, but also other dimensions such as access to health care, education, and the conditions in which a person must work, closes loopholes in our approach to poverty, reducing the risk that we will overlook people who may be earning a little more than the World Bank’s extreme poverty line, and yet cannot live even minimally decent lives.

I am looking forward to another exciting year for The Life You Can Save. Under our new leadership, the organization will seek to spread more widely the twin messages of how good it is to give, and how easy it is to learn where to give so as to have the maximum impact in assisting people in extreme poverty. If we can do that, the donations to our recommended non-profit organizations will continue to increase.

Peter Singer

In 2023 you helped us distribute

copies of the book
(full and abridged versions)
~ 0
books given away or sold since Dec 2019 when we assumed the publishing rights for The Life You Can Save
~ 0

Meet Safari – A Teaching at the Right Level Success Story

In 2023 we had the opportunity to visit some of our recommended charities and hear stories of changed lives. Safari is one of them. After his family fled to Uganda to seek refuge, Safari fell far behind in school.

Now, thanks to the Teaching at the Right Level approach, he has the skill and confidence to speak publicly at his community gathering.

As a young refugee in Uganda, Safari struggled to stay in school, much less keep up with his grade level. The transition from a French-speaking school to an English-speaking one was difficult. In a foreign country with little support for refugees, Safari found himself falling further and further behind his peers.

Things changed when Safari was introduced to the Rise Up program, which provides additional learning support for refugee children and prepares them to transition to the mainstream school system. At the heart of the Rise Up program is the “Teaching at the Right Level’s (TaRL)” approach, a methodology that emphasizes meeting students at their current learning level rather than enforcing often unrealistic expectations based on grade level or age alone. TaRL classrooms assess and place students according to their current learning level, not their age. And they allow children the opportunity to express themselves through playful, engaging activities that also teach numeracy and literacy skills.

After just 6 months in the program, Safari’s learning outcomes have significantly improved. In June 2023, Safari successfully transitioned to formal school, where he continues to progress. He is no longer a “beginner” in English and has graduated to “paragraph-level” proficiency.

When we met Safari and his family during our June 2023 visit, they expressed just how thankful they were for the Teaching at the Right Level approach. “It has transformed Safari’s life,” his mother told us. Once unable to participate in his new community, Safari now has the English language skills and confidence to speak publicly at church gatherings. 

Safari’s is just one of many success stories of the Teaching at the Right Level approach, and it’s a story we are delighted to share with you through the power of film.


Learn more about Living Goods.

Learn more about Village Enterprise.

Thank you to the ~3200 donors
who helped fund our operations in 2023.

For every $1 dollar we spend on operations, we raise $11 dollars for our recommended charities.
Amplify your giving by donating to The Life You Can Save itself.

Donate to The Life You Can Save (by credit card)

If you are giving more than $1,000, we recommend using one of these other ways to donate in order to avoid fees.


Our Supporters and Partners

View key supporters and partners

Get in Touch

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Our Key Metrics: Net Impact and Leverage Ratio

The main metrics we use to assess our performance are our “Net Impact” and our “Leverage Ratio.”

Our “Net Impact” takes the money we raise (i.e. our “Money Moved”) and subtracts our operational expenses from that figure. Our “Leverage Ratio,” by comparison, takes our Money Moved and divides that number by our expenses. We typically talk about our Leverage Ratio in terms of a three-year period (money moved over three years divided by expenses over three years) as it can be rather volatile over a one-year period.

Both of these metrics compare the amount of money we raise for our nonprofits to the money we spend operating our organization. We believe both of these metrics are important and are ideally looked at together rather than in isolation. However, we believe our Net Impact is a more important single measure than our Money Moved because it captures our absolute impact, which translates into real-world impact on the lives of people living in extreme poverty. As such, our primary goal is to maximize our Net Impact while maintaining a reasonable three-year Leverage Ratio.

To use an extreme example, given the choice, we would much rather be an organization that moved $100 million to our recommended charities and spent $10 million to do so (in which case we’d have a Net Impact of $90 million and a Leverage Ratio of 10:1) than an organization that moved $100 and spent $1 to do so (which would give us a Net Impact of $99 and a Leverage Ratio of 100:1). In the latter scenario, our work would be highly efficient but wouldn’t necessarily lead to much real world impact. That said, we believe our Leverage Ratio (which we also refer to as our “Multiplier”) is an important metric because it captures the efficiency of our operations. And we recognize that our Leverage Ratio is an intuitive and meaningful metric for many supporters who donate to fund our operations, one that helps supporters understand the “multiplier” they get on their gift. For instance, by applying our 3-year Leverage Ratio of 11:1 to a gift of $1,000, a donor could expect that donation to help us raise ~$11,000 for our recommended nonprofits.

We believe that both Net Impact and Leverage Ratio are conservative measures of our impact. This is because we know the Money Moved metric used to calculate both metrics doesn’t account for all the donations we may have inspired. While we can measure donations that flow through The Life You Can Save, our ability to track donations that we influence that are made directly to our recommended nonprofits is much more limited. We rely on our nonprofits to track those donations, and many of our nonprofits have limited ability to do so. A donor survey we send out helps fill some, but not all, of the gaps in our data. We’re confident that we’re still missing some donations made directly to our nonprofits. We’re also confident that we’re undercounting donations that we influence where foreign donors give through intermediaries that allow them to claim tax relief.

Even if we could perfectly measure donations made to our recommended nonprofits, our key metrics would still understate our impact. They assign no value to donations that we influence to effective nonprofits that aren’t on our list of recommendations, and they don’t capture non-monetary influence like motivating people to use their careers for social good.

The Life You Can Save Financials 2023

View financial information here.

Money Moved 2023 – What’s Included?

In the ‘Money Moved 2023 – What’s Included’ appendix, we provide a detailed account of our total “Money Moved” (i.e. the total donations to our recommended nonprofits that we either processed directly or inspired) and our operating expenses. We view these figures as a helpful supplement to the standard regulatory reporting measures commonly used to conduct financial analyses of nonprofits (ex. the Form 990 in the US and statements filed with the ACNC in Australia). 

Please note that the figures provided in this Annual Report may at times differ from those provided in official financial records for a few reasons:  

  • Global results vs. National Results: In our Annual Report, we aggregate the money moved and operating expenses of The Life You Can Save (a US-based nonprofit) and The Life You Can Save Australia (which is a registered charity in Australia) in order to assess our overall global impact. Technically speaking, however, “The Life You Can Save (US)” and “The Life You Can Save Australia” are separate legal entities subject to different reporting requirements imposed by their respective jurisdictions. As such, their official records will be separate.
  • Revenue for our recommended charities vs. Revenue for The Life You Can Save itself: Our official income statements include two different types of donations we receive: 1) donations given to The Life You Can Save itself for our own operational expenses and 2) donations made through The Life You Can Save and granted by us to one or more of our recommended nonprofits. Our grants are officially recorded as “expenses” and “program costs” in our financial statements in the US and Australia respectively, but to best understand our financial status, it’s important to distinguish between this granting activity and our operational spending.  
  • Donations processed vs Donations influenced: When calculating our total Money Moved to our recommended charities, we include both donations that we process directly as grants and donations to our charities (either directly or through a third party such as Network for Good or other intermediaries) that our outreach inspired or influenced in some way. Since our official financial statements only record funds directly processed by our own organization, they reflect most, but not all, of our total Money Moved. 

For stakeholders interested in reconciling the figures in this Annual Report with those provided in our official financial records, this document and this table offer additional details.

Money Moved 2023 – by Charity

This table provides a representative snapshot of the Money Moved — or amounts raised — for each of our recommended charities in 2023. The table excludes donations made by foundations and individuals who have requested that the designation of their contributions remain confidential.


The Life You Can Save Operational Income – by Source

The chart and table below illustrate the sources of income for The Life You Can Save’s operational expenses. We’ve prioritized achieving a healthy breadth and diversity of revenue streams in recent years, and we believe our funding sources reflect that priority.

Note: The data below aggregates income for The Life You Can Save US and The Life You Can Save Australia. Also, this section excludes some minor “corner case” sources of income that are not indicative of our typical sources of funding. As such, the numbers in this table may not correspond precisely with the numbers in our official financial statements.

Type of donation

USD Revenue


Interest income



Recurring donation



One time donation: add 10% or a tip for TLYCS



One time donation (< 1k)



One time donation (1-10k)



One time donation (10-100k)



One time donation (100k+)



Workplace giving platform (aggregate donations)