It’s a different way to give.
Most of us base our giving decisions on the heart: a loved-one has suffered from a disease, a friend asks us to invest in a cause, a local organization asks us to support the community. This personal connection to giving is good and necessary. It’s what inspires charitable donations in the first place.
But truly making an impact also requires the head. We need to base our giving on an objective analysis of what works. You’re short-changing yourself — let alone the people you’re trying to help — if the charity you choose to support isn’t cost-effective, evidence-based, and well-run.
Some charities provide hundreds, even thousands, of times greater impact per dollar than others.
When we say this, we’re not comparing a fraudulent charity with a genuine charity. We’re comparing genuine charities that are doing good in the world.
Consider this: It costs about US$50,000 to train a guide dog that will help a blind person in the United States — a very good cause. For that same cost, an organization like Seva or the Fred Hollows Foundation can restore sight to at least 1,000 people living in extreme poverty through interventions like cataract surgery and trachoma prevention.
Smart giving requires us to grapple with the question: Does it matter if my donation could help more people who are suffering?
We think the answer is yes.