Myth #04 – Compassionate – to be or not to be?
African children sitting in their desk at school in Bamako, Mali.

Myth #04 – Compassionate – to be or not to be?

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination.”

– Nelson Mandela –

If you are reading this newsletter, you likely use both your heart and your head to guide your donations. Your heart inspires you to help people much less fortunate than yourself, and your head guides your decisions about how best to help. But what about your family, your friends, and your wider community?

Very likely, they do not make donation decisions like you do.

According to the most comprehensive study on charitable giving to date — “Money for Good II,” led by Guidestar and Hope Consulting and funded in part by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — only 16% of donors list “high impact” as the primary motivation for their giving. Other motivations include:

  • supporting organizations that have had a direct impact on yourself or your loved ones (23%);

  • giving to well-known organizations because it isn’t complicated (18%);

  • supporting a faith-based organization (16%);

  • supporting local organizations where people can “see the difference” their contributions make (13%); and

  • giving to organizations where you are personally connected (14%).

We need your help spreading the word about the importance of cost-effective, high-impact philanthropy that uses both the heart and the head. You can multiply your influence significantly if you are willing to share the bookdiscuss the major points in the book, share your own giving journey, and have zoom meetings to discuss the book.

Becoming an evangelist for effective giving can feel self-righteous and intrusive. I know because it is my role to do it all the time :)! But please consider taking your giving journey further. Help us spread the word on behalf of those who can’t!


Do Good. Feel Good.

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About the author:

Charles Bresler

Co-founder, Board Member

After earning a PhD in Social and Clinical Psychology, Charlie Bresler became director of behavioral medicine for The California School of Professional Psychology, Fresno (CSPP-F), where he was a full-time professor and founder of a teaching clinic for anxiety & stress disorders. In 1993, he was recruited by The Men’s Wearhouse, where he went on to be head of human resources, stores, marketing, and, ultimately, president. He stepped down in 2008 to fulfill his long-standing desire to work directly on social and economic issues, not too long after he read Peter Singer’s book, The Life You Can Save. Catalyzed by the concept, Charlie reached out to Peter and proposed combining Peter’s theory with the formation of a nonprofit to advance Peter’s ideas and to raise money for high-impact, cost-effective organizations. Together, they founded The Life You Can Save, where Charlie took on all organizational operations as executive director until 2024. He was supported in this work and in his financial support for the organization by his wife Diana, a family physician, and executed the role pro bono.

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