Chile: One step towards effectiveness

Chile: One step towards effectiveness

Fundación MAD is bringing Effective Altruism to Chile, importing charitable programs evaluated by J-PAL, that have demonstrated great impact and strong return, to be implemented by local charities.

The Life You Can Save is proud to be partnering with Pablo and his colleagues, who are dedicated to creating a culture of effective giving in Chile.

For many, it is evident that we should try to do the greatest good within our abilities. However, not everyone gives equal importance to the outcome of their donations as they do to other investments, making little—or no—analysis of the effectiveness of their giving, even if the amount of money or effort is the same.

One major reason for this behavior is feeling personal interest in a particular organization or program, regardless of the real impact that organization may have. This helps explain the gap between the number of dollars that go towards many donations versus how effectively those funds are actually used.

Pablo Cabello and Teresita Echaurren of Fundación MAD with TLYCS Founder Peter Singer during Peter's visit to Chile

Because of Chilean culture, and because Effective Altruism is still an unknown concept here, it would be impossible for a not-for-profit organization to focus only on effectiveness, forgetting the sensitivity and feelings of donors at the moment of giving. When we started building our organization, we realized that the essence of the Effective Altruism model would not resonate with all the potential donors that could give more efficiently.

We felt therefore that there needed to be more than one model to implement Effective Altruism. We wanted to bring Effective Altruism to the Chilean people and teach them about evidence-based charity, but to reach them, we would need to appeal to common interests.

Some time ago, together with a friend, we proposed an Effective Altruism model for Chile, which led to Fundación MAD. MAD is a nonprofit that serves as an intermediary between the donor and the grantee, bringing evaluated programs to be implemented (with financing) with local Nonprofits. Rather than work with far away organizations, that people “have nothing to do with,” we bring Effective Altruism to existing nonprofits, teaching them about evidence-based charity and effective giving. This way, we would also articulate different entities that are experts in specific and necessary tasks, such as social impact evaluations, transparency in the social action arena, and legal advice for the implementers and beneficiaries.

We are now partnering with J-PAL Latin America & Caribbean (LAC), a not-for-profit research center based in Chile which works to identify and promote the most effective programs and policies in the region. Together, we are identifying programs evaluated worldwide to address problems that can be found similarly in Chile, choosing those that can be adapted to our national context and achieve a significant difference from the common local programs.

The three main benefits of this model are:

  • generating evidence about each program’s social impact (to replicate/scale these programs)

  • familiarizing Chileans with seeing and expecting effective impact from the programs they support

  • improving public policies by replicating these evidence-based programs broadly and nationally.

The goal behind MAD is to change Chileans’ giving behavior, so that their decisions about how or what program to support lead to maximizing the social benefit of our society’s philanthropic efforts.

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About the author:

Pablo Cabello

Pablo is a co-founder of MAD, and lives in Santiago, Chile. While studying engineering, he founded Tineo, a financial consulting firm. He is also a consultant to nonprofits.

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The views expressed in blog posts are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Peter Singer or The Life You Can Save.