Giving Tuesday links

Admittedly 8 PM is not the best time to be getting to this, but since the day isn’t over I’m still technically in the clear. Last year I posted a few Giving Tuesday suggestions and so I thought I might do that again this year except without all the heavy verbiage that came along with last year’s post.

First off here’s a link to all the charity posts I’ve done here in the past, which include many causes and/or charities that could still use your money.

Then there’s GiveWell, my favorite of the so-called “meta-charities,” places that use your donations to research charitable organizations and then encourage donations to the ones they rate most highly. Places like this generate a multiplier effect, meaning that every dollar you give to them can generate more than a dollar (sometimes considerably more) for the charities they promote. Other meta-charities include Innovations for Poverty Action, The Life You Can Save, and the Institute of Fundraising.

GiveDirectly is a charity that doesn’t have the name recognition of some of the old standbys like the Red Cross, but they give cash transfers directly to the poor in Kenya and Uganda. Giving people cash, amazingly enough, may be a more effective poverty-alleviation strategy than piecemeal service provision (the research on this isn’t 100% clear, though, so if you feel better donating to a service provider by all means do that). However, since GiveDirectly is served by GiveWell, if you’re thinking of donating here it might make more sense to donate to GiveWell (that multiplier effect and all).

Then there are the, as I say, old standbys, who operate in conflict zones and in the wake of natural disasters, and are working with people displaced by conflicts in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, and elsewhere. Here are some of those (I’m trying to stick to places that have four star Charity Navigator ratings):

Last, and very much least by comparison, you could also contribute to keeping this website alive. I appreciate everyone who’s dropped a little money in the PayPal jar or made a monthly commitment through Patreon (both available via the front page), but I won’t lie, more would be very welcome, especially around this time of the year. If you value the writing here and have a little extra to spare, please consider supporting this place. Thank you!

Hurricane Matthew: where to donate

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, though that’s more about my inattention than any decrease in the amount of pain and suffering in the world, unfortunately. But as you probably already know, Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 storm, hit Haiti earlier today. It’s far too early to assess either the human or physical costs, but it’s a safe bet that both will be high. The storm is currently hitting eastern Cuba, and then it will continue north through the Caribbean before it begins to affect Florida and the US east coast.


Hurricane Matthew yesterday, as it was approaching Haiti (NOAA)

Immediate aid will be needed for people who have been displaced and long-term aid will be needed to rebuild houses and other structures. If you have the ability, you might consider giving to one of these charities or others not listed here (please do some research first; I’m trying to stick to 3- and 4-star charities per, and even for highly rated charities I find it’s a good idea to look into them a bit if you don’t already know about them):

Ecuador earthquake: where to donate

Ecuador was hit by a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake on Saturday night. The latest estimates are that over 350 people were killed and 2000 injured as a result of the quake, and unfortunately, due in part to poor weather hampering relief efforts, those numbers may well rise further. If you can, please consider donating something to one of the many charities responding to this disaster, a few of which I’ve listed here:

Cyclone Winston hits Fiji: where to donate


Satellite view of Cyclone Winston as it struck Fiji (Wikimedia | NASA)

Category 5 Cyclone Winston struck Fiji on Saturday, and it really must have been something:

At least 10 people were killed in Fiji when a record-breaking storm struck the island nation Saturday night, according to the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.

Now that Tropical Cyclone Winston has passed, the arduous tasks of cleanup and damage assessment from the most powerful storm on record in the Southern Hemisphere has begun, authorities say.

Nadi International Airport reopened Monday morning after being close for two days. Operations there are back to normal with few cancellations, according to airport staff.

Schools, however, will be closed in Fiji for one week, the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management said.

Winds that reached 296 kph (184 mph) lashed the tiny island nation in the Pacific, felling trees, knocking out power and causing heavy flooding, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center reported.

Fiji’s biggest cities appear to have been spared the brunt of the storm, but villages may have suffered quite a bit of damage and really it’s still too soon to know how much. There may be more deaths that simply haven’t been reported yet, and farming communities may be particularly hard hit moving forward.

If you have the ability to give something, here are a few places worth checking out:

Horn of Africa famine: where to donate

Drought has led to famine in the Horn of Africa, and the situation is critical. How critical? This critical:

Save the Children, the international non-governmental organisation, says that the drought in Ethiopia represents as big a potential threat to children’s lives as the war in Syria.

“We only have two emergencies in the world that we have categorised as category one. Syria is one and Ethiopia is the second. And so we’ve said we need to raise $100m for this response,” said Carolyn Miles, chief executive of Save the Children, US.

“Comparable to Syria” is about as bad as it gets, so please give something if you’re able. Some highly-rated options:

I almost always include Doctors Without Borders when I do these sorts of posts because they’re excellent, and you should definitely give to them if they’re your go-to charity. But given that we’re talking about a famine, I wanted to focus here on charities that will deliver food aid.

Typhoon Melor hits the Philippines: where to donate

 Residents wade through a flooded street after heavy rain at Candaba town, Pampanga province, north of Manila, December 17, 2015. – Reuters pic, December 20, 2015.

“Residents wade through a flooded street after heavy rain at Candaba town, Pampanga province, north of Manila, December 17, 2015” (Reuters | via)

If we could leave aside the incredibly important controversy over who won the Miss Universe pageant last night (congratulations to Miss Philippians, by the way), the Philippines has been hit by two separate tropical weather events in the past week: Typhoon Melor last Monday and tropical depression Onyok at the end of last week. The death toll is up to 45, with thousands displaced and massive flooding over parts of the country. If you’re able, please consider giving to relief efforts like the following:

Some Giving Tuesday links

Today is “Giving Tuesday,” the day we try to do some penance for the gluttony of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” by spending some money on someone other than ourselves and our friends and family members. Rather than doing some kind of omnibus list of charities and causes, which would be too big and inevitably incomplete, I thought I’d link to all the charity posts I’ve done on this blog. I tend to visit the issue of donating only in conjunction with some specific event, like a war or natural disaster, but most of the places/charities I’ve written about in those posts have ongoing needs that would definitely benefit from continued support.

I also wanted to mention a charity I haven’t linked to before, one that Vox’s Dylan Matthews really highlighted in a piece he wrote earlier today, called GiveDirectly. They operate in Kenya and Uganda, and their mission is pretty simple: they take your charitable donations and…give them to poor people. In cash. The radical theory that poor Kenyans and Ugandans might actually have a better idea how to spend your charitable donations than you do not only makes basic common sense, but it’s also backed up by considerable research into the effectiveness of simple cash transfers. My one concern, if you can call it that, with GiveDirectly is that they only work in Kenya and Uganda, but there are technical reasons for that having to do with countries’ access to electronic cash transfer networks, and at any rate Kenya and Uganda are both among the poorest nations on Earth, so there’s plenty of need just in those two countries.

Matthews also recommends giving to “meta-charities,” which research charities for their effectiveness and work to increase donations on their behalf. Donations to groups like this (he suggests GiveWell but offers a few alternatives) can actually have a multiplier effect that increases the value of the money you give:

Another option is giving to groups like GiveWell, Innovations for Poverty Actionthe Life You Can SaveGiving What We Can, and 80,000 Hours that evaluate development approaches/charities and encourage effective giving. Suppose that every dollar given to Giving What We Can — which encourages people to pledge to donate at least 10 percent of their income until retirement — results in $1.20 in donations to the Against Malaria Foundation. If that’s the case, then you should give to Giving What We Can until the marginal effect on donations to AMF hits $1 or lower.

GiveWell has a list of its top charities, including the Against Malaria Foundation, the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, and DeWorm the World, in addition to GiveDirectly and others. Any would be well worth your support.