There are so many charities out there. The choice is overwhelming but, in the true pursuit of doing good, not just any charity will do. You want to make sure that your choice of charity lives up to its advertised impact. This can be hard to determine up front. In fact, most charities are notoriously opaque with how they spend their money and more importantly, what true impact they have on their intended recipients.

Give wisely, give well

With all that in mind, the TopLine team did some research and came across GiveWell. This non-profit organisation was founded out of sheer frustration. Its founders were battling to find a charity that would ensure that their donations would be put to effective use. They soon realised that they weren’t the only ones: in the US alone, individual donors make up 70% of charitable giving and in 2016, donated $282 billion to charity compared to $59 billion from foundations and $18 billion from corporations.

However, most hard-working, income-earning people just don’t have the time or skills to work out what is the best way to donate their money. GiveWell fills the gap and takes a data-driven approach to assess charitable impact. It operates according to ‘effective altruism’ – the belief that charitable giving must do the greatest possible good. All the charities recommended by GiveWell are currently underfunded and have been thoroughly researched and vetted.

We took an instant liking to GiveWell, decided to sign up to their philosophy and support one of their recommended charities – GiveDirectly.

The power of giving directly

GiveDirectly transfers cash directly to low-income households in developing countries via mobile phone-linked payment services. For every $1 of total organisational expenses, GiveDirectly delivers 90c to the very poor. According to GiveWell, cash transfers have been more rigorously studied than any other non-health intervention they know. And the results show a net positive impact.

How does TopLine support GiveDirectly? 

We no longer give birthday presents at TopLine. That’s not to say we don’t celebrate birthdays! We’re just doing it a bit differently now. Every time a staff member turns a year older, we’ll donate $50 to GiveDirectly to the recipient of their choice.

The same goes for Christmas presents. Instead of sending out lots of silly Christmas tat like pens and badges, we are going to donate what we would have spent to GiveDirectly.

We will also hold two events this year to raise funds for GiveDirectly.

And last but not least, from 2018, our CEO will be donating 10% of everything she earns from TopLine to the charity.

As the new year gets underway, it’s important to consider the true charitable impact your donations have on the world. Rather than simply giving money to tick a box, question your choice of charities and demand evidence of impact.

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