Giving what we can

gwwclogo.jpg_-_copyI came across Giving what we can yesterday, and thought it was rather inspiring. It’s a network of people who have realised how easy it is to give away a large proportion of their incomes, and have pledged to do so, starting with 10% and aiming to give the money to the best value for money charities.

It’s a practical extension of Peter Singer’s ideas in The Life You Can Save, and he is a member himself.

I was particularly interested in the story of the network’s founder Toby Ord, told in the FT here. He plans to give away over £1 million by the time he retires, something he chose to do “after realising just how much more good my money could do for others than for me.” Since the money is given to charities that will be saving lives through fighting neglected tropical diseases, Ord reckons his money will save thousands of lives.

How can he can afford to give away a million? Because he has worked out how much he needs to live on, and anything over that £10,000 or so is a surplus.

It’s another example of ‘enough’, something I’ve explored in the past. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reckons you need £13,400 to provide a basic standard of living. Oliver James put his best estimate at £15,000. I guess it’s going to be different for each of us and our family and living arrangements.

We can all give more away. If you’re not convinced of that, check out how rich you are with the Giving What We Can site’s little online tool.

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6 Comments on “Giving what we can”

  1. N May 14, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    I like your blog a lot – you cover many of the issues I feel strongly about.

    If we care about social justice and have compassion for the global poor, then I think we have to think carefully about how we should respond personally, and giving is a vital part of this.

    As well as the amount though, I think it’s important to consider carefully how and to what to give – we need to ensure every penny counts!

  2. Next Starfish May 14, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    I like your blog a lot – you cover many of the issues I feel strongly about.

    If we care about social justice and have compassion for the global poor, then I think we have to think carefully about how we should respond personally, and giving is a vital part of this.

    As well as the amount though, I think it’s important to consider carefully how and to what to give – we need to ensure every penny counts!

    (second attempt to comment – due to my cat walking across my keyboard and pressing send!)

    • Jeremy May 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

      🙂

      Making sure every penny counts is something the ‘Give what we can’ folks take very seriously. They deal with it quite scientifically, working out lives saved per pound, and recommend two or three very specific medical charities.

      I take a more personal approach myself, funding local initiatives and good ideas, donating to campaigns and projects I’m passionate about. I’m particularly interested in Madagascar, where I grew up.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  2. The Most Good You Can Do, by Peter Singer | Make Wealth History - June 19, 2015

    […] organisations and charities. I’ve mentioned some of them before – the Giving Pledge, Giving What We Can, or Give Directly. I’ll mention some more in a separate post, as there are some intriguing […]

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