Last week I was asked to be a part of an interesting conversation from an East Coast Think Tank. One of the topics that came up was Effective Altruism. Today, I thought we would jump into the topic. There has been a lot of recent talk about the term Effective Altruism. What is exactly is effective altruism?

What is Effective ALTRUISM?

The simplest way to define it is to answer the question, “How do we use our resources to help others? ” In 2011, philosopher Peter Singer began asking these questions of the global community. Since that time there have been a number of books and the movement has grown.

Some of the key leaders in this global movement are Give Well and the organization 80,000 Hours. These two groups are asking questions such as, “Which charities improve global health the most per dollar?” Other questions such as, “How can I use my career to make a difference?”

The 80,000 hours Philosophy

The 80,000 hours philosophy is this: You have about 80,000 hours in your career: 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, for 40 years. That’s more time than you’ll spend eating, socializing, and watching Netflix put together. And it means that time is the biggest resource you have to help others. So if you can increase the overall impact of your career by just a tiny amount, it will likely do more good than changes you could make to other parts of your life.

The Give Well Philosophy

The Give Well Organization wants to help guide you and your dollars towards global issues such as malaria and a host of global issues where your dollar is stretched farther. They are willing to guide you in investing your giving as well. Here are a few of their thoughts: We take zero fees and use our most up-to-date research to grant your gift where we believe it will help the most. We typically grant this pool of funds to one or more of our recommended charities each quarter. Once we grant your donation, we’ll email you to let you know which charity or charities we selected and what we expect your donation will accomplish.

While Effective Altruism is not one organization but rather a global movement with many groups coming together trying to change the way we look at our world’s problems. There is also a large group of people that are trying to get us back to our roots which is taking care of our own communities at home. Another grass roots movement where going local, supporting small business and your local nonprofits versus the global movement presented by effective altruism. The local movement believes that if we each take care of our own communities we will not have to worry about those around the globe. Almost a shift back to the primitive days of tribes when no one in the tribe went hungry.

Both groups want the same thing, and that is to make our world better. Each side of this argument has their own ideas and beliefs. No matter how we help our fellow man, as long as we are helping, well that is good enough for me!

Charity Matters.


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