Donating to fight poverty

There are 1.4 billion reasons why we should be generous with the money we have and use it to contribute to the movement to end extreme poverty. By giving to aid and development organisations we support valuable work that benefits individuals and communities and brings about real change.

At the Global Poverty Project, we're not after your money. But, we are keen to help you find an organisation that is giving aid effectively, so that any donation you give will really make a difference.

What to look for when giving

When you are considering giving a donation, here are some questions to keep in mind, and to ask the organisation:

  • As precisely as it's possible to say, how will someone's life change because of this donation?
  • What does success look like for the project/initiative that I'm giving to?
  • What real change has this organisation created or enabled in people's lives to date? Can they show it to you?
  • How does this project enable a community to be more self-sufficient and capable so it won't need aid in the future?
  • What steps does your organisation take to ensure that my money won't be corruptly used? What will your organisation do if corruption is suspected or found?

And, a couple of questions that we suggest you stay clear of:

  • How much money goes in administration? Organisations need to spend money on administration to make sure things are done professionally — it's best to ask the above questions to work out if they're effective.
  • How much money did your organisation raise last year? Turnover isn't necessarily a good indication of quality.

How to give

If you are interested in giving, it's worth considering the most efficient way to do so that will minimise the structural costs of fundraising (ie, the amount of money the charity would have to spend just to get and process your donation). The easiest option here is to ask the charity themselves, but for a couple of pointers:
  • Regular is better than one off. Regular giving allows charities to plan more effectively for the future, as it gives them a better understanding of cashflow.
  • Electronic is better than paper or in person. People – even volunteers – cost money to look after, so it's easiest to make donations and do your interaction with the charity online.
  • More is better than less. It costs about the same amount to process a donation and look after a donor, regardless of how much you give.

Who to give to?

It's ultimately up to you, but we strongly suggest that you give to organisations who you think give the best answers to the above questions.

In considering who to give to, you might also want to think about some of the following:

  • Issues fit. You should give to the organisations who work on the issues that you're most passionate and interested in.
  • Values fit. You should give to the charities who you feel best fit your values and priorities in terms of how they work, where they work, and why they work that way.
  • Level of work. You should give to organisations who you feel are working at the most important level – grassroots, regional, national, or international, and who find the right balance (in your mind) between doing things on the ground to improve lives and campaigning to change the rules.
  • Accredication. Are they member of the peak-body for development charities, BOND (www.bond.org.uk), a full list of whom is available here.