What if you focused intently on earning as much money as humanly possible in the next five years?
How much could you earn? How would that feel?
Here’s a very different question that sounds quite similar: What if you spent the next five years focused on earning as much as humanly possible so that you could give away as much as humanly possible?
Now how would that feel?
The Atlantic published a fantastic piece from Derek Thompson on finding the greatest good to spend your time, talents, and money on. As they put it, “Earning to give argues for maximizing the amount of money you can make and donating a large share of it to charity.”
The idea of effective altruism is made of three key tenents:
(1) You can make a truly enormous difference in the world if you live in a rich country; (2) you can ”do good better“ by thinking scientifically rather than sentimentally; and (3) you can do good even better by trying to find the greatest need for the next marginal dollar.
If you’re reading this, I would bet you live in a pretty decent place, which means you have the means, if you choose, to make a difference (if not, more power to you, and thank you for reading). If you’re like the average person, then your charitable giving has likely been reactive, at best, in the past. And finally, I would bet that the relative good your giving can do could be vastly improved with a relatively small amount of effort.
In 2014, Americans set a new record by giving $358 Billion to charitable causes. Now, imagine if every one of those dollars could have 10x the impact.
Here’s news: the next dollar you give can be 10x as impactful if you’re willing to do a bit of research.
Most people don’t think about their giving dollars. It’s a relatively selfish act meant to make us feel better about how we use our money. You’re not most people.
The next dollar matters. Make it count.
To give you a head start, here are three causes where you’ll see the direct impact of your funding:
- New Story Charity – where they’re building a house for a family in need for every $6,000 they raise. (Compare this to the six houses the Red Cross built after raisig a half billion dollars for Haiti.)
- Charity:Water – where 100% of your donation goes to providing clean drinking water to people who have none.
- Camp Horizon – where we’re in the process of tranfsorming a 30 year old organization into a best-in-class operation through radical transparency and tying every dollar to a camper. [Disclosure: I’m currently serving on the board]