With our limited budget, this is a question we all think about.
If you have under $10,000 to give, consider entering a donor lottery. It’s now possible to put $5,000 into a fund with other small donors, in exchange for a 5% chance of being able to choose where $100,000 from that fund gets donated. Why might you want to do this? In the case where you win, you can do a great deal of research into where’s best to give, to allocate that $100,000 as well as possible. Otherwise, you don’t have to do any research, and whoever else wins the lottery does it instead.
In short, it’s probably more efficient for small donors to pool their funds, and for one of them to do in-depth research, rather than each of them do a small amount of research. The Centre for Effective Altruism now organises a donor lottery once a year – two of them are open as of this writing in Dec ‘18, and will close on 9 Jan ‘19. You can find out more.
Ben Todd & the 80,000 Hours Team