The GiveWell Blog

Check your “smart philanthropy” hat at the door?

The last blog post shares general thoughts on Money Well Spent. Specifically, though, this bit really struck me (page 12):

In our personal lives, we regularly make year-end gifts to organizations for which we have warm feelings. These gifts make us feel good, and doubtless they help good organizations. But this isn’t the way to change the world, and it certainly is not a responsible way to give away someone else’s money.

Why give away your own money in a way that would be “irresponsible” with someone else’s?

Why be smart, disciplined and strategic when giving large grants, and then drop all of these principles for your individual gifts?

Especially when individual gifts collectively dwarf foundations’ grants?


  • jsalvati on October 20, 2008 at 1:04 am said:

    People fail to be consistent in all sorts of areas; people are good at compartmentalizing. Yudkowsky talks about how scientists fail to apply the lessons of science to their own lives and beliefs. It’s probably especially common when the consequences mostly affect someone else (as in this case).

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