The Busy Person’s Guide to Charitable Giving

The Busy Person’s Guide to Charitable Giving

You've been wanting to donate money to help the poor for a while now, but there's just so much to think about: You want your money to go to the right place, you want it to do the most good it can do, and you want to be sure it's used the way it should be. Maybe you're also unsure how much you should give. At any rate, you simply haven't had a moment to give it much thought, and you keep putting it off because frankly, who's got the time to do their research on organisations to support? If that sounds like you, here are a few simple solutions!

Who should I give to?

Easy. You don't need to do the research because we have! Just pick one of our recommended charities: Either read through the list and choose whatever takes your fancy, or, if you're really pressed for time, you could even pick one from the list at random. That's the beauty of it is: they're all effective, they're all transparent, they'll all put your money to good use and help the extreme poor – you can't go wrong!

How much should I give?

Woman with question marks around her headPhoto Credit: Helga Weber, used under Creative Commons License

Ultimately, that's of course up to you, but to give you a ballpark indication of your giving amount, simply use our contribution calculator. Once you have a basic idea, you could either simply give that amount or adjust it to whatever seems reasonable or feasible to you.

How do I set up my donations?

This comes down to personal preference. Some people like writing cheques, others do individual transfers from their accounts. My preferred options are regular transfers from my bank account and credit card donations – you set them up once, and unless your credit card details change or you want to change the amount you're giving, they're absolutely hassle-free and really convenient. As a bonus, regular transfers also usually work best for charities as this having money coming in at regular intervals allows them to budget better.

At what intervals should I donate?

Again, this depends on what suits you best. I prefer monthly deductions as these tend to be the least noticeable amongst all the other stuff that gets charged to my credit card. You can go for bigger intervals if you choose, such as quarterly or annually, but it means a bigger chunk will be deducted at once, and that doesn't suit everyone.

Many people also choose to give at tax time as this has the added benefit of knowing exactly how much you made this year, making it easier to calculate your recommended donation amount.

And that's it, folks – you're done!

Added bonus: Whenever an organisation you don't know or aren't sure about approaches you about donations by phone or on the street, you can just tell them you're already doing your bit. It gets them out of your hair and makes you sound like the good person you are!

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About the author:

Charles Bresler

Co-Founder & Executive Director

After earning a PhD in Social and Clinical Psychology from Clark University, Charlie 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 treating anxiety & stress disorders. He was recruited to The Men’s Wearhouse where he became head of human resources, stores, and marketing and ultimately President. He stepped down in order to fulfil his long-standing desire to work directly on social and economic issues, especially wealth inequality. In 2013, Charlie became volunteer Executive Director of The Life You Can Save, a non-profit dedicated to reducing extreme poverty and its devastating effects on over 700 million people globally. Through his financial support and leadership, Charlie has helped TLYCS’s Founder, Peter Singer, develop the organization from the ground up. Charlie lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington with his wife Diana, a family physician, who partners in supporting The Life You Can Save. He welcomes discussion and questions at

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