The Life You Can Save’s charity recommendations are based on robust research on effectiveness. We use three criteria, which we call "the three E's:"
We formed a "Panel of Experts" to curate our charity recommendations. They aggregate the best research from outside sources and add additional scrutiny. The Panel includes experts in economics, ethics, nonprofit management, and business. Our Panel consists of:
To identify recommended charities, the Panel starts by leveraging great work done by several charity research groups:
In short, our Panel starts with the recommendations from the best charity evaluators we've found, and adds its own extra layer of diligence. The result is a list of charities that is more comprehensive than any of the lists produced by any individual charity evaluator. Donors can be confident that a donation to any of the charities recommended will make a real difference in the lives of the world's poorest people2.
You can read more about the rationale behind our selection methodology here.
In late 2016, the Panel made several decisions of this type. While GiveWell named The END Fund and Sightsavers as top charities, the Panel declined to add them to our list because we already recommend SCI, an organization that performs a similar intervention (deworming) and which GiveWell ranks higher. Similarly, GiveWell named Food Fortification Initiative as a "Standout Charity", but The Life You Can Save did not add it to our list as we already recommended three organizations working in food fortification that have the same ranking from GiveWell (Project Healthy Children, GAIN and Iodine Global Network).
The Panel also chose to add Village Enterprise to our list, but neither of the two other charities ImpactMatters recommends that share a similar "graduation" method. The Panel felt that Village Enterprise stood out relative to the other organizations due to the unusually high quality of the randomized control trial (RCT) they were conducting, and Village Enterprise's strong track record of iterating their process based on evidence-based learning.
The Life You Can Save has a focus on eradicating poverty, but we are also aware of significant interest in Peter Singer's opinions on charities working in other areas. If your priority is fighting climate change, we suggest you take a look at Founders Pledge's report, which recommends the Clean Air Task Force and Coalition for Rainforest Nations. For donors seeking to improve animal welfare, we suggest reviewing research from Animal Charity Evaluators
Caroline Fiennes (formerly Newhouse) advises people and companies on giving well to charities. She is one of the few people whose work has been featured in OK! magazine and The Lancet. Her book, It Ain’t What You Give, It’s The Way That You Give It, has been called "The Freakonomics of the charity world."
She is Director of Giving Evidence, a company which specialises in ‘advice on giving, based on evidence‘. She frequently speaks and writes in the press, and has been an award-winning Chief Executive of climate change charity Global Cool, which promotes green living. She has advised donors including the Emirates Foundation in UAE, Eurostar, ERM (Environmental Resources Management: a global environmental consultancy), the Ashden Awards, the Big Lottery Fund, the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, professional tennis players, the Private Equity Foundation, BBC Children in Need, Booz & Co., and Morgan Stanley. This work has spanned environment, health, education, international development, children’s issues and other areas.
She is on boards of the US Center for Effective Philanthropy, of the world’s largest charity rating agency Charity Navigator, Evidence Aid (part of The Cochrane Collaboration), and is the Corporation of London’s City Philanthropy Coach. She works with Innovations for Poverty Action and the University of Chicago.
Eric Friedman is author of the book Reinventing Philanthropy: A Framework for More Effective Giving. He is passionate about high-impact giving and has been quoted on charitable giving in publications such as the The New York Times, Chronicle of Philanthropy, USA Today, Forbes, The Los Angeles Times, and the CFA Institute's Enterprising Investor.
Professionally, Eric is an actuary and investment consultant. He holds the designations of Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA), Enrolled Actuary (EA), and Charter Financial Analyst (CFA). He graduated from Stanford University with majors in mathematics and economics.
Eric lives in Oak Park, Illinois with his wife, daughter, and two cuddly cats.
Dean Karlan is Professor of Economics at Northwestern University, Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action and Co-Founder of ImpactMatters along with Elijah Goldberg. He received his Ph.D in Economics 2002 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and prior to that completed an MBA and MPP from the University of Chicago. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. Dean is also on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the M.I.T. Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab.
Dean's research focuses on microeconomic issues of public policies and poverty. Much of his work uses behavioral economics insights and approaches to examine economic and policy issues relevant to developing countries, with particular attention to policies to increase income and financial wellbeing for those in extreme poverty. In the United States, he works on charitable giving, financial services for the under and unbanked, and behavioral health.
Peter Singer, founder of The Life You Can Save, is known as "the godfather of Effective Altruism", a social movement that encourages people to do as much good as they can with the resources they have available.
He is one of the world’s leading moral philosophers and has been named one of the world's three most influential contemporary thinkers by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute and one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time Magazine. Among countless other accolades, Singer was presented the 2016 Award for Contributions in the Fight Against Stupidity from Philosophy Now. His TED Talk, The Why and How of Effective Altriusm, has been viewed over 1.3 million times.
Peter is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, a position that he has held since 1999. From 2005 on, he has also held the part-time position of Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne, in the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. He has taught at the University of Oxford, La Trobe University, and Monash University, and has held several other visiting appointments.
He is the author of the seminal 1972 essay “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” and two recent books that make the case for effective giving, The Life You Can Save (Random House, 2009) and The Most Good You Can Do (Yale, 2015). Additionally, he has written or edited over 40 books on topics ranging from altruism, bioethics, animal liberation, and the environment.
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