If you’ve been planning to get around to maybe thinking about Effective Altruism, we’re making your job easier. A group of UK students has set up a drive for people to sign up to the Giving What We Can pledge to donate 10% of their future income to charity. It does not specify the charities - that decision remains under your control. The pledge is not legally binding, but honour is a powerful force when it comes to promising to help. If 10% is a daunting number, or you don't want to sign away your future earnings in perpetuity, there is a Try Giving scheme in which you may donate less money for less time. I suggest five years (that is, from 2015 to 2020) of 5% as a suitable "silver" option to the 10%-until-retirement "gold medal".
We’re hoping to take advantage of the existing Schelling point of “new year” as a time for resolutions, as well as building the kind of community spirit that gets people signing up in groups. If you feel it’s a word worth spreading, please feel free to spread it. As of this writing, GWWC reported 41 new members this month, which is a record for monthly acquisitions (and we’re only halfway through the month, three days into the event).
If anyone has suggestions about how to better publicise this event (or Effective Altruism generally), please do let me know. We’re currently talking to various news outlets and high-profile philanthropists to see if they can give us a mention, but suggestions are always welcome. Likewise, comments on the effectiveness of this post itself will be gratefully noted.