In 2019, our founder Peter Singer–often considered the world’s most influential living philosopher– published the 10th anniversary updated edition of his seminal book, The Life You Can Save. The book aims to inspire people to give more effectively and generously to help people living in extreme poverty. And to reach the widest audience possible, we are distributing the audiobook—narrated by celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Kristen Bell and Shabana Azmi—for free. We have spent the last year working hard to introduce the book to as many people as possible, as we believe its message can play an important role in influencing people to think about their giving and the greater good of the world around us.
We are excited that numerous organizations have joined us in this mission. Through our partnerships initiative, influencers, companies and organizations are able to provide their audiences access to a free, thought-provoking book while we benefit by getting the book into the hands (and ears) of more people at no cost—a win-win-win approach! Moreover, these collaborations have led to generation of new and creative formats for sharing the ideas of the book. Together with our partners, we have co–created messaging to engage audiences like employees and staff, while simultaneously making an impact.
The success of our book launch project has been in no small part because of the willingness and generosity of our mission–aligned partners to help spread word about the book. Here’s how some of them did it:
A Free Book in Your Inbox!
One of the most popular ways our partners have spread word about the new book is by sending a tailored email to their staff, customers and subscribers, letting them know that the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Life You Can Save is available to them for free. Others have featured the book in their newsletters. Tailored outreach—either through standalone emails to subscribers or through an organization’s newsletter—allows organizations to creatively customize messaging to drive greater reader engagement.
Dan and Chip Heath, co-authors of four New York Times bestsellers—Decisive, Switch, Made to Stick, and The Power of Moments—recommended The Life You Can Save to their subscribers:
“Dan’s personal pick is the 10-year anniversary edition of Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save. This book changed my life. And you’ll like its new anniversary price of FREE. There’s even a free audio edition with chapters read by celebs such as Paul Simon, Kristen Bell, Stephen Fry, and more.” –The Heath Brothers email excerpt
Similarly, Angel News sent a tailored email to its network of largely UK-based Angel Investors announcing support for the new book, along with the downloading link. The Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS), the UK’s professional body for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), included a mention and link to download the book in its monthly newsletter to all subscribers and members. And Bain & Company promoted the book in a series of company-wide newsletters to global employees, inviting readers to write up their own personal “take on the book,” which generated creative and inspiring responses.
A Life–Saving Website Pop–Up
A creative and engaging way our partners have helped share news about the book is by featuring it as a pop–up on their website. Viewers who visited GiveWell’s website in late 2019 and early 2020 were greeted with a large pop–up announcing the release of the new edition of The Life You Can Save, along with a download link. GiveWell is a charity evaluator that helps donors find charities that save or improve the most lives per dollar; they have been a trusted partner to The Life You Can Save, and we rely on their research for many of our charity recommendations.
“Many of GiveWell’s donors and staff have cited The Life You Can Save as a reason they became involved (or more involved) in effective giving. We’re excited to be able to offer a free copy to visitors to our site…. We expect the biggest impact of this effort will come from people who read the book and change how they think about giving in the long run.”– Givewell
The Life You Can Save has developed a pop-up module that can be easily installed on any website or webpage to deliver the free book to visitors and we welcome like-minded organizations around the world to install this potentially life-saving value-add pop-up to their site—if you’re interested, please let us know!
“Reflections on Bravery” and Other Free Content
Through our partnerships initiative, we invite organizations to use our resources to add value to their websites for their visitors. We also invite organizations to co–create compelling content with us, tailored for their audiences. Our partnerships initiative encompasses not only sharing the book, but also sharing the message of the book through unique and creative mediums. Take for example, our Executive Director’s reflections on bravery, featured on GivingCompass.org. Philanthropy knowledge hub Giving Compass has not only shared the book on it’s website, but also uploaded a bite–sized video titled “You Don’t Have To Be Brave To Save Lives.” Click on this link to view the humorous yet thought–provoking reflections of Charlie Bresler, executive director of our organization, on how the message of the book has influenced his thinking on bravery.
Playing (Meaningful) Games
Giving Games are experiential philanthropy workshops that convey the core ideas of our organization and the book. They can be conducted in–person or online. In a typical Giving Game, each participant is provided with $10 and must decide where to donate it between a selection of several charities.
One For The World (OFTW), a nonprofit that encourages students and young professionals to pledge at least 1% of their future income to effective charities, has partnered with us to conduct in-person Giving Games. The games have been held so far at 10 campuses in the U.S. and Australia and have elicited enthusiastic reception from chapter leaders.
Online, the learning platform Coursera conducts a course on Effective Altruism by Peter Singer. In celebration of the 10th anniversary edition of the book, we developed an online Giving Game which was incorporated into Coursera’s Effective Altruism course. The game, along with an announcement about the new book, was sent to Coursera’s 20,000 subscribers.
We are excited to be working with multiple partners to further explore how online Giving Games can be incorporated not only into online curriculum for educational institutions, but also into employee engagement activities for companies.
Organizations, particularly media outlets, are uniquely well–positioned to spark meaningful conversations in society. The Life You Can Save also aims to do precisely that, by challenging our widely-accepted views of what it means to live a good life. One way in which organizations have helped spread the book’s message is through thought–provoking conversations with the author, Peter Singer.
The 80,000 Hours Podcast features unusually in–depth conversations about the world’s most pressing problems and how we can use our careers to solve them. The podcast featured Peter Singer in a thought–provoking conversation about the book, his advocacy, his ethical views over time and the drowning child thought–experiment.
Media coverage about the book included interviews and articles by the Associated Press, CBS News, CBS This Morning, ABC Eyewitness News, Vox, The Big Think, Crazy Money, Devex and Nonprofit Chronicles.The Princeton Alumni Weekly, Princeton University’s alumni magazine, also featured a story on the book and Singer’s views about our moral obligations to the impoverished.
Finally, a number of organizations have helped spread the word about the book through social media. Organizations such as Giving What We Can, Centre for Effective Altruism and the Centre for High Impact Philanthropy have shared news about the book on these channels. We invite organizations to get social, get posting and get tweeting about this free resource.
What Can YOU Do To Join the Mission?
We are immensely grateful to each of our partners for helping spread the word about the book. And we hope that some of the above examples will inspire even more people to join us in our mission to create a culture of giving.
Partnerships at The Life You Can Save encompass diverse and creative collaborations to share the book and its core ideas. We welcome interested organizations to take advantage of this free resource, and hope that the book and supporting materials can provide for stimulating conversations amongst your audiences! We also recognize that the crisis caused by COVID–19 has resulted in a truly unprecedented and heartbreaking time for the world. With so many people currently in isolation, we hope that the free audiobook can be of help. Moreover, if even a few of your members, followers, employees or subscribers begin to think more deeply about their giving, it could be a great win for people living in extreme poverty while bringing a sense of meaning to the readers and donors themselves.
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas, feedback, or questions—we would love to hear from you!