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A new tool designed by Harvard University to maximize the impact of GivingTuesday

Donating money to a charity is a benign act on the surface, but the debate lurks just below the surface: what are the causes and reasons we should support?

Believers in a movement called effective altruism give money to charities that help people in the wealthy world save or improve their lives the most, usually in sub-Saharan Africa. I believe that there is a moral obligation.

Companies that value charities, such as GiveWell, help donors find nonprofits that meet the beliefs of effective altruism. This movement is especially popular among the wealthy Silicon Valley, who see it as a way to optimize charitable donations.

But effective altruism keeps others cold. They judge them by claiming that there is no room for research to cure the illness that killed their loved ones, or for donations to important causes near their hearts, such as neighborhood grocery stores and art groups.

Current, Give a multiplier We are approaching this argument from a new angle. Instead of letting people choose between these two donation styles, you can do both and even match donations in the process.

Designed as a way to encourage people to explore effective altruism, Giving Multiplier was built with free web design and a $ 27,000 grant from an effective altruist organization. Based at Harvard University, it is now self-sufficient and has raised more than $ 693,000 since its launch in November 2020.

“This was far beyond our initial expectations. Joshua Green, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, who created the giving multiplier as a project in the lab with postdoctoral fellow Lucius Caviola in Green’s lab, said: It states as follows.

“Balance between mind and head”

Giving Multiplier leverages the psychology behind the charitable donations revealed by Greene and Caviola in their research. For example, a reduction in emotional return from giving to your favorite charity. People enjoy giving $ 50 to their favorite group, and giving $ 100 may make you feel a little better, but it’s not twice as much as you’ve found in the experiment. It leaves room for something else for the other $ 50, and Giving Multiplier offers that opportunity.

The mechanism is as follows. Donations should be split among Multiplier users. First, they choose their personal favorite charities that are not considered to be very effective, and then they are of nine highly effective charities scrutinized by effective altruists. Choose one. This list includes groups such as Give Directly, which pays cash to people in developing countries, and groups that distribute pesticide-treated nets to prevent malaria. The user then decides how to split the donation between personal favorite charities and highly effective charities. Giving a multiplier matches both donations, but the more the donor assigns to a highly effective charity, the greater the match.

“You balance this between your mind and your head,” Green said. “A very effective charity that can change someone’s life for less than $ 1 if you donate to a charity that you feel personally and feel warm and do something meaningful. Donate to an organization. ”

This platform is the first charitable donation tool to split and collate donations. We do not charge donors. Financial transactions are processed by the non-profit Every.org. Matching funds are fully provided by other donors who use the site. As Green says, this “virtuous cycle” is in contrast to the typical matching campaigns in nonprofits, which are usually funded by large “angel” donors.

Philosophical debate is flat for some

Green and Caviola created the giving multiplier after realizing that the philosophical debate that forced them to become effective altruists does not always resonate with everyone.

“I’ve been experimenting for a long time trying to persuade people to more effective altruists in a way I’m sure,” Green said. It can be saved through discussions from philosophers, including Peter Singer, the author of the 2009 book The Life You. The singer was one of the thinkers who brought effective altruism to the mainstream, but its origins can be traced back to utilitarian philosophers such as Jeremy Bentham.

The singer’s classic thought experiment tells of a little child drowning in a shallow pond. You pass by and meet your child, but saving your child will ruin your clothes and delay you to work. After all, is it wrong not to save a child who is not necessarily your responsibility? The singer’s audience usually says yes, not intervening is terribly wrong. Then he points out that people in the wealthy world are facing this situation — not at the actual pond, but at the world level — with a little inconvenience and a relatively small amount of money, they said Green. Like, “I’m drowning in poverty.”

“”“If you’re an investor, you’re a good investor if your investment yields high returns. When it comes to charity,” it’s all an option, so how good it is is actually It doesn’t matter. “


— Joshua Greene, Harvard University Psychology Professor and Co-Creator of Giving Multiplier

The singer’s ethical framework personally resonated with Green, but after conducting various experiments, he found that for the general public, such kind of discussions worked a little, but not so much. discovered.

Some say that the focus of effective altruism on cost-effectiveness does not speak of their personal values, while others are completely hostile to it. One bitter Criticism It was once equated with “charitable imperialism, thereby” my cause “is justice, and your cause-to some extent-a waste of precious resources.”

“Ultimately we want meaning.”

Michael Thatcher, CEO of Charity Navigator, a charity rating site, sees the Giving Multiplier approach as a useful solution because it recognizes the different paths people offer.

“Ultimately, we seek meaning through what we do and how we give it,” Thatcher said. “If it doesn’t make sense, we won’t give it.”

He is not a personally effective follower of altruism. Because you can feel like “I’m being told what to care about.” But effective altruism provides an “intelligently rigorous” framework for those who want altruism to give, he said.

“”In the United States, it costs about $ 40,000 to train a visually impaired guide dog, but the same amount is spent on 2,000 Africans to cure blindness with surgery to undo the effects of trachoma. You will pay.

But “it creates distance,” Thatcher said. “When you’re saving thousands of lives in other countries, it’s very different from actually meeting people and engaging in a neighborhood soup kitchen that involves people.”

The method of measuring the effectiveness of charities has changed over time, thanks in part to effective altruist-led research. Charity Navigator recently updated its own metrics. When Charity Navigator launched 20 years ago, Thatcher said it roughly modeled the investment research firm Morningstar, which assesses the performance of investment funds on a 1- to 5-star scale. However, that approach was so limited that it focused too much on financial factors such as expenses that are currently considered less relevant. Recently, Charity Navigator, the world’s largest charity evaluator, has expanded its rating system to focus on factors such as impact and consequences, organizational culture, leadership and adaptability.

Why people donate to “ineffective” charities

One element of Giving Multiplier’s success is that they do not try to convince them that they are wrong, following the natural trend of people around charitable donations. Of course, there are many reasons why people donate to charities, but that has nothing to do with effectiveness.

Caviola and green paper Earlier this year it was announced why people donate money to so-called “ineffective” charities. One is that people are usually driven to give by “emotional motivations such as empathy (or empathy) for the victim” and the desire to feel “warm brilliance”, but give very effectively. That does not always satisfy those desires. They also tend to prefer to help the people closest to us, culturally or geographically.

Another reason is that we think green is important. People lack a basic understanding of the major differences between influential and general charities in terms of their impact on people’s lives. According to Green, people misunderstand that it resembles the difference between a short person and a tall person, but it resembles the difference between a person and a skyscraper.

“The most effective charities are 20%, 50%, and 80% less effective than regular charities. They are 100 times, and even 1,000 times more effective than regular charities,” Greene said. I am saying. The philosopher Toby Ord, the founder of the effective altruist group Giving What We Can, explained this principle as follows: essay In the United States, it costs about $ 40,000 to train a guide dog to one visually impaired, but in Africa, 2,000 people will be paid the same amount to cure blindness with surgery to undo the effects of trachoma. ing.

Joshua Green (left), a professor of psychology at Harvard University, and Lucius Caviola, a postdoctoral fellow in Green’s lab, collaborate with Giving Multiplier to encourage people to think about the effectiveness of donating to charities. created.

Stephanie Mitchell / Harvard University

It is also true that people may not accept “effective” donations because they are skeptical that it is possible to accurately measure the effectiveness of charities. Measuring effectiveness isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible, and there’s an evidence-based way to do that, Green said.

Donations to charities are completely voluntary, so you can feel that it’s okay to evaluate them through a subjective lens, “moral tribes: emotions, reasons, and us and theirs. Green, the author of “The Gap Between”, said.

“If you are an investor, you are a good investor if your investment yields high returns,” he said. “I’m an investor, but I don’t like getting a lot of money back from an investment.” When it comes to charity, “it’s all an option, so it doesn’t really matter how good it is.” there is. Ultimately, it’s the ones that move you and make you feel good that dominate your decisions. “

Giving Multiplier does not necessarily convince everyone to accept effective altruism, but at least it should encourage those who use the platform to look up assumptions about why and how to give it. .. Greene and Caviola plan to continue the platform for the foreseeable future and may eventually partner with larger organizations or companies to expand their reach.

Green says he wants to speak to people who are wary of the platform trying to measure the effectiveness of charities.

“Some people don’t like the idea of ​​doing research to understand what’s best at the gut level alone,” Green said. “Perhaps they see it as a threat to what is most personally meaningful to them, so I hate the idea that someone says,” Your cause is a second-class cause. ” I understand it to some extent. In a sense, Giving Multiplier is aiming for improvement. We are not abandoning the existing values ​​of others. “

Editor’s Note: MarketWatch readers can get a higher match rate with the Giving Multiplier. This promotion code..

A new tool designed by Harvard University to maximize the impact of GivingTuesday

Source link A new tool designed by Harvard University to maximize the impact of GivingTuesday

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