- Blogging (or other forms of writing) are nice because reading is optional. If I write a blog post and link to it on Facebook, my Facebook friends can either choose to go read it or not. If they're not interested in the topic, it's not awkward in the same way that it could be in conversation. Because I'm not afraid of seeming pushy, I end up saying more in writing than I would in person, with the result that people who are interested can easily find what I have to say on the topic.
- There's value to just casually mentioning that giving is something you do and that's important to you. I think of it kind of like vegetarianism - if you didn't know any vegetarians, it would probably seem like a weird and difficult lifestyle. But once you are in an environment where you know several vegetarians (for many of us, this happens in college), it starts seeming much more feasible and normal. Likewise, if you've never met anyone who gives 10% of their income, that might seem like a freakishly large amount, but once you know a couple of people who do it, you might start to consider it yourself.
- For people with a tight budget, I think donating even a token amount every year is valuable because it lets you talk about your decision. You can say to a friend, "I try to donate some every December, and I was trying to figure out where to give this year. I was reading about [xyz charity] and found out [interesting fact], so I think I'll go with them because..." etc.
- I know a few people whose strategy is to talk about their favorite causes as much as possible and try very hard to persuade people. It's not necessarily a bad strategy — the Mormons have done very well for themselves by having a lot of earnest conversations with a lot of people — but I also think it's okay to take a more relaxed approach.
- If you're excited and ardent about this, it's fine to come across as excited and ardent, but please be careful of being obnoxious or looking like a crackpot.
- Please don't exaggerate your data. I've seen people using very low estimates for the cost to save a life, usually ones that are years out of date. GiveWell used to be a bit more forward with estimates like "It costs $X to save a life with mosquito nets," but after they found serious mistakes in even the best data out there, they're less more cautious about that kind of statement. You should be cautious, too. If you're slinging around numbers like $800 from an essay written years ago, and the current best estimate is more like $3,500, you're not helping the situation.
Friday, March 13, 2015
Recently someone asked me about much to talk about effective giving. Some thoughts:
Posted by Julia at 12:19 PM