Why  your inner control freak needs taming when it comes to charitable giving
Some time ago, I had a conversation with a friend about charitable giving. She said that one of the reasons she was giving locally rather than globally was that she felt more in control about where the money goes. But do you really have more control? And what does that mean for those in need?
You could be the Warren Buffett of social investing
Suppose I told you about an investment that would easily generate a 60-fold return in a few years with very little risk. And then I tell you that some of the world’s top economists have looked at the opportunity and agreed with me.
The Panama Papers Reveal the Solution to Global Suffering
No one should experience avoidable suffering. Cost-effective interventions could relieve a great deal of suffering around the world. The revelations of the Panama Papers in early April show where the money that could pay for effective interventions resides - stashed away by wealthy tax evaders in offshore tax shelters. Redirecting even a small fraction of that money could end global poverty.
Taking Distributions When You Don’t Need the Money to Live on
A 68 year old divorced man with two grown children wants to know how he can avoid paying unnecessary taxes on required distributions from his retirement accounts, which is money that he does not currently need. Can charitable giving provide a solution to this man's predicament?
The Science of Effective Fundraising: Four Common Mistakes to Avoid
Charities that have the biggest social impact often get significantly less financial support than rivals that tell better stories but have a smaller social impact. For example, while one successful fundraiser raised over $700,000 to remove a young girl from a well, most charities struggle to raise anything similar for causes that could prevent many more deaths or lift thousands out of poverty. Drawing on academic research across different fields, this article highlights four common mistakes that fundraisers for effective charities should avoid and suggests potential solutions to these mistakes.
Part III: How to change your behavior and achieve your personal best
For those of us whose awareness and behavior are not so inherently or concertedly altruistic, I believe we can follow a program wherein we intentionally build up our consciousness and actions to alter our “normal” giving behavior so it more closely aligns with our goals and values around protecting lives; we can escape, or redefine, normal. By following these steps, we can become more educated about effective giving and build elements into our lives that help us remain aware of and committed to devoting more of our resources to improving and even saving the lives of our fellow human beings who desperately need our assistance.
Part II: Understanding “normal” giving behavior
One reason for the poverty/giving disconnect is that our brains are not equipped to focus on multiple variables simultaneously, so we prioritize those needing immediate attention. This can explain at least part of why we have trouble keeping in mind what the global poor are going through when our teenage child is having a social crisis, or our spouse wants a kitchen remodel.
Part 1: Escaping Normal
There is a disconnect for many of us between the supreme moral value we place on human life and the way we are able to tune out awareness of the millions of people globally who are caught in a downward spiral because they had the misfortune to be born into extreme poverty. In principle, we feel all people deserve a chance to have a happy, healthy life, yet we turn a blind eye to the 702 million people who live (or try to live) on less than $1.90 per day.
4 Ways to Donate Better
From picking a worthy charity to making your contribution go further, there's a lot to learn about how to be the most effective altruist you can be. Here are 4 essential tips for making your donation.
How Effective Giving Can Protect Us from Charity Scandals
Anger and dismay greeted the March 10 announcement that the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit that helps wounded veterans, fired its top staff, who spent millions of donor dollars on first-class airfare, employee retreats, and extravagant salaries. Each of us can protect ourselves from falling victim to such scandals by combining the impulses of giving from the heart with the direction of the head to become a more effective donor. The easiest way to do this is to take the perspective of a savvy investor and research your donation options to make sure you do the most good per dollar donated.
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