The following organisations use rational, evidence-based approaches to reducing human and animal suffering and are some of the most worthwhile to support:
The Effective Altruism Foundation is a think tank applying critical, rational thinking to the intersection of science and ethics. Founded by a young, ambitious group of students, it has initiated major new projects in the areas of charity, politics and research, and collaborates with other international organisations that aim to reduce human and non-human suffering in the world. It is a major player in the growing effective altruism movement. One of its projects, Raising for Effective Giving, has successfully recruited some of the world’s best poker players to channel part of their earnings to highly effective charities.
The Centre for Effective Altruism is a growing coalition of projects that put the ideas of effective altruism into practice in different ways. Based at the University of Oxford, two of its main projects include Giving What We Can, an international society dedicated to eliminating extreme poverty, and 80,000 Hours, which helps young people to choose a career where they can do the most good in solving the world’s most pressing problems.
GiveWell is a non-profit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities. It conducts in-depth research to determine how much good a given program accomplishes according to criteria such as lives saved or improved per dollar spent, and publishes the full details of its analyses to help donors decide where to give. Its 4 top charities in early 2015, all evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, underfunded organisations, were:
- Against Malaria Foundation: Preventing deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa
- GiveDirectly: Distributing cash to very poor individuals in Kenya and Uganda
- Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI): Treating people for parasite infections in sub-Saharan Africa
- Deworm the World Initiative (led by Evidence Action): Treating children for parasite infections in developing countries
Animal Charity Evaluators is a non-profit that finds and promotes the most effective opportunities for improving the lives of animals. It evaluates animal charity organisations based on effectiveness: creating comparatively large positive impact in terms of reduced suffering or improved well-being at low cost. It uses research from other organisations and conducts its own research to gather the largest possible pool of data to inform its decisions. Its top 3 charities in early 2015 were:
These organisations are effective in mobilising many people at once to defend human wellbeing from oppression and callous self-interest:
Avaaz is a global web movement that allows millions of people to take action on urgent global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change. Avaaz’s campaigns include petitions, media campaigns, lobbying governments, and organising protests and events. Avaaz is often effective at critical moments in pressing governments to make decisions that put wellbeing above greed. You can lend your voice to petitions with a simple click of a button, and also provide financial support.
Amnesty International is one of the premier global movements defending human rights. Through detailed research and determined campaigning, Amnesty helps fight abuses of human rights worldwide, bringing torturers to justice, changing oppressive laws and freeing people jailed just for voicing their opinion. When it comes to human freedom from oppression, Amnesty serves as the world’s conscience.
And a new organisation:
The Algosphere Alliance is a budding network of individuals and organisations dedicated to alleviating suffering in the world through collaboration and political mobilisation. The Algosphere was created in 2011 by a small group of individuals who recognised the necessity for a new structure focused on this most universal of needs. It was designed according to a simple set of principles, allowing it to function as a strictly non-hierarchical, directly democratic organisation and to grow in size and influence through human connections, dialogue and consent. Although still in its early stages and intentionally pursuing a strategy of slow but methodical growth, the Algosphere has the ambition to become a major force for compassion in the years to come.