Related to: Can Humanism Match Religion's Output?

I thought it would be helpful for us to have a central space to pool information about various organizations to which we might give our money and/or time.  Honestly, a wiki would be ideal, but it seems this should do nicely.

Comment to this post with the name of an organization, and a direct link to where we can donate to them.  Provide a summary of the group's goals, and their plans for reaching them.  If you can link to outside confirmation of the group's efficiency and effectiveness, please do so.

Respond to these comments adding information about the named group, whether to criticize or praise it.

Hopefully with the voting system, we should be able to collect the most relevent information we have available reasonably quickly.

If you choose to contribute to a group, respond to that group's comment with a dollar amount, so that we can all see how much we have raised for each organization.

Feel free to replace "dollar amount" with "dollar amount/month" in the above, if you wish to make such a commitment.  Please do not do this unless you are (>95%) confident that said commitment will last at least a year.

If possible, mention this page, or this site, while donating.

New Comment
13 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

I strongly disagree with the idea of impulse donations in this thread. Rigorous evaluation of charitable effectiveness, even where the aims are well-defined (e.g. saving lives or life-years over a short local time-horizon) is very difficult work: read about the adventures of GiveWell, a nonprofit that analyzes charities for effectiveness in various such categories. Making donations based on these short comments would be like investing in a startup company based on a 2 minute elevator pitch with no other data.

I would advise giving to pay for research into charitable effectiveness before any specific charity, e.g. GiveWell or the MIT Poverty Action Lab, but neither has a broad enough mandate (yet, GiveWell is interested in going into evaluation of the existential risk category in addition to their current domains) to evaluate the highest return domains.

Watch out for Scope Insensitivity!


I never give to any charity, all information I have makes me strongly believe that increasing per capita income is the best long term solution to most of the problems. I believe there are a few exceptions, polio eradication effort comes to mind, that can give important and lasting results for little money, but I have seen very little research supporting any of them.

So GiveWell gets my vote, even if not my money - no rationalist should be giving any money to any charity that doesn't publish its effectiveness data.


"I never give to any charity, all information I have makes me strongly believe that increasing per capita income is the best long term solution to most of the problems."

There's no logical connection between these. If you think that working at your job and maximizing your income/productivity is your best personal contribution, there's still the question of what to spend your disposable income on. seems to have a clever idea: small scale targeted charity that defends people against being tipped over the boundary between "poor but coping" and "homeless on welfare", for example by losing their car or having a medical bill wipe out their rent. A comparatively small bit of charity now might be able to prevent an awful lot of expensive government or charity intervention, plus keep them in the productive sector and prevent much suffering / learned helplessness

Nobody has mentioned the Methuselah Foundation.

I don't know if Marcus Hutter takes contributions for the Hutter Prize, but I would recommend it if he did.

The Poverty Action Lab at MIT aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of other organizations' anti-poverty programs. They use rigorous experimental social science methods, conducting randomized studies to evaluate the effectiveness of programs around the world. They partner with anti-poverty organizations to help them evaluate and improve their programs, publish their evaluations on their website and sometimes in academic journals, and consult with other aid organizations (including the World Bank) to encourage them to use more of an experiment-based methodology. They take donations.

For more info you can look through the Poverty Action Lab website, see this Esquire article, or this subscription-only article in Nature.

With respect, I ask that you delete the competitive, top-upvoted-post-gets-X aspect. I have my own ideas about how to arrange coordination between altruistic causes that require rationalist support. This sort of competition is exactly the wrong way to start off, psychologically speaking.

It was not my intent to create a competition, simply a way for an individual to defer to the judgment of the community, and signal same. On reflection, I see how it could come off that way, and have deleted that aspect -- thank you for the suggestion.

Within a single community, your reasoning makes sense. But unbeknownst to you, I had longer-range plans for coordinating with other, pre-existing communities on a different basis than "We want to steal all your rationalists for OUR cause!"

Cool, I'll look forward to seeing that =)

Since my original plan to avoid sticking my neck out by signing up only after a lot of other people did has a certain easily perceptible flaw...

...25 dollar one-time commitment to the charity chosen. Reserve the right to retract commitment if the system breaks down for some reason, ie obvious joke votes. Can't afford any more as I am a student, but hopefully this will prime the pump a little.

EDIT: In response to Eliezer's request, I retract this commitment, possibly in favor of whatever Eliezer's project is.

Perhaps check out some of the "irrigation" charities listed here: