Now that the relentless buying sprees of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, why not complete the trifecta by celebrating Giving Tuesday?
Started by the New York cultural center 92nd Street Y in 2012, Giving Tuesday (the day after Cyber Monday) helps remind people the holiday season is about charity, not consumption.
92Y estimates online charitable donations have risen by 470% since the campaign started.
Finding the right charity can be tough, though, since there’s so much debate over what will actually put your money to good use.
Givewell is here to help.
For $3,340, you could save a life right now.
In the developed world, mosquitoes are pesky insects. But in sub-Saharan Africa, mosquitoes carry a raft of diseases. Easily the most deadly of those is malaria, which is responsible for approximately 600,000 deaths annually.
Rather than invest millions in finding a vaccine, AMF tries to avoid infection through insecticide-treated bed nets, simple pieces of mesh that drape over children’s beds and kill mosquitoes on contact.
Loads of research says that bed nets are incredibly effective.
Mosquito nets only cost between $5 and $7, GiveWell’s research shows. Based on the organization’s model, for roughly $1.50 one bed net can extend one person’s life for a year. Multiplied over a person’s entire life and adding in the overhead costs and cost of wasted or ineffective nets, GiveWell arrives at $3,337.06 per death averted.
GiveWell has three major requirements when selecting its top charities, and AMF fulfills all of them. The solution is proven to work, it successfully passes a vetting process (in this case, figuring out if AMF makes good on delivering the bed nets to people in need), and it’s underfunded, which means there is a real need for outside donation.
While other charity evaluators tend only to look at where money is going, GiveWell’s research seeks to understand how much gets there, who needs it most, and, perhaps most important, what that money can do.
AMF rises above the rest.
AMF is one of only a handful of charities that meet the organization’s strict criteria, says Catherine Hollander, an outreach associate at GiveWell. Once a charity stands up to those measures, GiveWell’s research arm can root out how far a dollar actually goes.
The $3,340 total is a rough guideline, GiveWell stipulates. It’s meant to be a helpful placeholder that can guide people’s donation. With myriad overhead costs, including manufacturing and delivery costs, there are always unknowns.
That’s why GiveWell argues it’s a tad disingenuous when charities purport to save lives on the cheap.
A bed net may cost $5 to manufacture, but a $5 donation won’t necessarily save a life.
As the effective altruist Peter Singer noted in “The Life You Can Save,” not every child who uses a bed net would necessarily have died from malaria — only a fraction would meet that fate. Likewise, not every donated net will save a life, as some will inevitably be misused.
Charities that make such claims typically refer to the “cost per child treated” as the relevant metric in deciding whether to donate. But as GiveWell’s research shows, that approaches a solution from the wrong direction: Donors need to account for all the other costs that make the charity work. For AMF, GiveWell uses the “cost per life saved.”
So while the total of $3,340 may seem high, it’s only because other numbers have been artificially low. GiveWell’s research into AMF takes into account all the surrounding costs and statistical likelihoods that could prevent a lesser donation from reaching its ultimate goal: the prevention of fatal malaria.
But according to Sean Conley, a research analyst at GiveWell, you don’t need to give thousands of dollars to make a difference.
“On an intuitive level, giving people additional money who are among the poorest in the world — even small amounts of money — will make a big difference in their lives,” Conley says.
And if you give to a charity like AMF, you know the money is going to the right places.
from Business Insider http://ift.tt/1Sv9zk2