The Life You Can Save November 2013
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Giving Season is here!

Giving Season is here! And so is The Life You Can Save's updated list of recommended charities. Over the next two weeks we will feature each of the charities on our Facebook page and, of course, you can find more information about each of them on our "Where to Donate" at thelifeyoucansave.org.

With our thanks to all involved who work so hard and give so much:

  1. Schistosomiasis Control Initiative & Deworm The World
  2. GiveDirectly
  3. Against Malaria Foundation
  4. Oxfam
  5. Proven Impact Fund & Dispensers for Safe Water
  6. Fistula Foundation
  7. Seva & Fred Hollows Foundation
  8. Project Healthy Children
  9. Nyaya Health
  10. Population Services International

This list reflects a significant amount of work by many people. I want to thank Dean Karlan and his colleagues at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), who have done many of the randomized controlled trials that are the science behind these recommendations. GiveWell and Giving What We Can have contributed significantly to my thought process. Jon Behar, a member of our core staff at The Life You Can Save, also helped me develop the list.

There are some changes in the list that I want to comment on here. Against Malaria Foundation has moved from the #1 spot to #3. This change does NOT reflect any concerns we have about AMF's ability to effectively use your dollars to save lives through the proper placement of treated malaria nets, but rather, is a consequence of what we believe is a short-term problem in net distribution. We have the utmost confidence that AMF will solve this immediate problem swiftly and so we are still rating AMF close to the top of our list. In fact, we believe the distribution issue stems from AMF's rigor in insuring that net distribution be done properly and be accurately verified to achieve the maximum life-saving effects. We have grouped SCI and DTWI together, because they accomplish the same goals effectively, and for the similar reasons we have chosen to list a few other charities jointly. Our decision to add extra charities to our "top 10 list" reflects our desire to share a variety of outstanding giving opportunities with you. I want to thank Larry Gilson at "Focusing Philanthropy" for bringing Seva to our attention. While The Hunger Project has been dropped this year, I encourage everyone to consider their work carefully and understand that donations to them will be used in a good cause and likely quite effectively.

Perhaps you have noticed that we have de-emphasized our Pledge on our home page. We believe that our own impact will be greater if we initially focus on encouraging people to give effectively, rather than asking them to immediately take the Pledge. That said, I want to emphasize that I still believe the Pledge, and the concept, represents an important standard for living an ethical life. I hope that many of you will pledge, if you have not already done so, and will even give more, but I encourage everyone to get started by donating some money, and challenging yourself each year to donate more than in the past. We call this "personal best," and achieving personal best each year will likely take you well beyond the amounts called for by the Pledge.

We have added a donation tracking form on our site, with the goal of helping us measure our contribution in moving more and more dollars to effective charities. If you choose to give to any of our recommended charities based on our suggestions, we hope you'll let us know through this form, which will also help you to track your own progress in achieving your "personal best."

We are working hard to improve the effectiveness of our own work at The Life You Can Save. We measure our effectiveness by the number of dollars we are helping to raise for our recommended charities. At the same time, we believe that we are part of a larger and growing movement trying to advance the idea that we all have an ethical obligation to effectively reduce, and eventually eliminate, global poverty. Thanks for all your help in this important and fulfilling work!

Peter Singer


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