I never thought the day would come when I would be enthusiastic about reading an annual report, but it just happened; The Life You Can Save’s 2016 Year in Review was just published today.
The mission of The Life You Can Save is to change the culture of giving in affluent countries while dramatically raising annual donations to highly impactful nonprofits that reduce suffering and premature death for people living in extreme poverty.
We want to find charities offering the most “bang for the buck.”
The Life You Can Save organization was founded by Peter Singer, widely recognized as one of the world’s most influential contemporary philosophers. The organization advances the ideas in his 2009 book, The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World PovertyThe Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty, which Bill and Melinda Gates described as “a persuasive and inspiring work that will change the way you think about philanthropy.” In it, Singer argues that if we can provide immense benefit to someone at minimal cost to ourselves, we should do so. And since there are charities that dramatically improve, or even save, the lives of people living in extreme poverty (i.e. living on less than $1.90 USD/day) for relatively little cost, we should support those highly effective charities.
The methodology they use to select their top charities is admirable, and should put to rest the sometimes understandable fear that donations will be spent badly, or will not reach those in need.
Their choices are based on robust research on effectiveness. The report says they use three criteria:
Evidence: Why do we believe the charity produces good outcomes? We consider the size, quality, and relevance of the evidence base for the charity.
Efficiency: How cost-effective are the charity’s programs? We want to find charities offering the most “bang for the buck.”
Execution: Do we believe the charity can translate marginal donations into good outcomes? We consider whether the charity has good programs in need of funding and the capability to execute those programs.
The entire process is laid out in great detail on their website. If you want to be sure your donation dollars are going to the very best charities, check them out.
They have also published a 21 page Strategic Plan for 2017. If you’re planning to give but need to be convinced it will do the most good, this plan should set your mind at ease. You will be impressed.