Great reasons to support high-impact nonprofits

Great reasons to support high-impact nonprofits

Giving is a matter of justice.

Most of us know that while we may work hard, external factors help bring our efforts to fruition, and these external factors largely depend on where we live. Being born in an affluent nation greatly increases our chances of benefiting from good infrastructure, healthcare, access to education, and the availability of stable jobs.

For people born in a low-income country, the chances that their hard work will pay off are greatly diminished. They may not be able to work due to an illness for which they can’t afford the treatment, there may not be any work available, they may not have the education required for a job that pays a living wage – the list goes on. 

This means that people in low-income countries are at an unfair disadvantage compared to others worldwide. Children have no say over where they live or whether they receive an education. Struggling families may take their children out of school so they may contribute more immediately to the family income. This contributes to a cycle of poverty that traps people who may be extraordinarily smart and hard-working, yet beholden to circumstances over which they have no control.

Giving to organizations that help people in extreme poverty is a matter of fairness. The global North-South divide shows clearly that socioeconomic trends are geographically correlated. Once we accept that varying circumstances lead to drastically uneven economic outcomes worldwide, we must also recognise that we have an obligation to help those who face considerably more barriers to well-being than we do. 

Giving brings us closer to creating the world we want to live in.

Today, 1.3 billion people around the world experience multidimensional poverty. That means they live in an environment that doesn’t provide basic access to healthcare, education, or living standards. Even though all of us would like to think that our sense of well-being, political freedom, and personal accomplishments are the results of our own efforts, we know that none of these realities are possible without certain essential material conditions: food, clean water, shelter, basic healthcare, and political stability. Donating lets us work toward building a better world—one that’s safer, healthier, more stable, and happier for all of us.

Giving makes us happier.

Research has shown that spending money on ourselves does not significantly increase our happiness or well-being. A Harvard Business School study suggests that donating to others is directly correlated with an increased sense of happiness. The Harvard researchers write: “Happier people give more and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop.”

Other studies have shown that people experience pleasure when they see money go to charity—even if it isn’t theirs. However, people experience the most pleasure when they give directly to charity. This may be tied to the benefits of aligning our behavior with our goals and values. Suppose it is true that most of us would like to live in a world where everyone has the same opportunities to live a fulfilling life. In that case, donating to nonprofits working in that direction is an excellent way to match your actions with your values.

Donations of all sizes have an impact.

When thinking about extreme poverty, many people feel deep sorrow but conclude that there is nothing we can do. The scale of poverty is immense and we seem powerless to stop it. Such despair is understandable, but the facts tell a very different story. While poverty is indeed extreme and widespread, it is easy to forget just how many people there are in affluent countries, and how powerful our donations can become when pooled together.

When donating to high-impact nonprofits, your donations and those of other supporters can spark innovation in how a program is delivered, help an organization expand into a new country, or run studies to understand what works best. This innovation and scaling could bring about better quality healthcare that allows a parent to continue supporting their families. Similarly, your help could bring more people to access cash transfers as social safety nets, helping people with essential resources necessary to attain a better standard of living. There are proven ways of creating environments where people can thrive. At The Life You Can Save, donating plays a crucial role in supporting organizations to scale, innovate, and implement the most impactful solutions.

Share this story:


About the author:

Matias Nestore

Matias Nestore is passionate about ways in which public policy and international development can become more equitable and effective by using evidence and amplifying the voices of those impacted. After studying education and international development at the University of Cambridge, Matias acted as research and impact officer and chief learning officer at Shaping Horizons, an incubator for social enterprises. He has worked as a researcher and project manager on initiatives and with organizations in the UK, Tunisia, Italy, and Argentina.

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