Our mission here at Soapbox Project is to make it easy peasy for busy people like you to make a difference in the world. So here we are, for Giving Tuesday!
Methodology: We want to be intentional about how you make that difference. So, we've picked 10 causes and 1 organization for each.
The first five on this list are going to be your highest impact-for-dollar organizations. We leaned on Effective Altruism, GiveWell and The Life You Can Save. These organizations conduct rigorous research to break down your financial impact. All three orgs have ways you can automate donations through them if you don't want to pick a charity on this list. Effective Altruism also has four cause-based funds you can donate to. GiveWell's website has a whole tab dedicated to sharing mistakes they've made in the past, and I love the transparency.
The second half of the list, #6-#10, are causes I hand-picked with some help from the 80,000 Hours list of most effective causes. I picked mass incarceration, mental health, immigration reform, domestic violence, and food insecurity since these are topics compounded by the unique events of 2020. If you have questions about how I picked these that aren't explained below, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before we start with the list, please note that your giving doesn't have to be formal — you can also donate to mutual aid networks, give cash via Venmo or Cashapp to people who need it the most right now, fund bail for protestors across the country, your local food bank, and more.
Our biggest recommendation: please set up recurring donations to these charities. Your impact can increase by 42% and empower your recipient organization to make more sustainable decisions vs spending all their time on fundraising.
2020 Giving Tuesday List of Effective Charities
- GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT | Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention with the Malaria Consortium
Why: According to Effective Altruism, "Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people every year (most of them children under 5 years of age), but methods to prevent it are cheap to implement, and have been largely responsible for substantially reducing the death rate over the last 20 years."
What: Your donation will go a long way in distributing antimalarial drugs at peak times of the year. We already have the remedies for this — all that's lacking is the money to make sure people can be healthy. Your contribution will go a long way.
- ANIMAL WELFARE | Compassion in World Farming (matching donations on Giving Tuesday)
Why: Animal welfare is also one of Effective Altruism's top causes. "The field of animal advocacy receives only a few percent of total charitable donations, with most of that money going to the comparatively few companion animals in shelters. This leads to some groups of animals being highly neglected in relation to their numbers and likely capacity for suffering." Basically, it's a huge, underserved cause.
Fighting factory farming can also unlock significant climate benefits, so if you care about animals or the sustainability, this is for you!
What: Compassion in World Farming is laser-focused on ending factory farming, the single biggest cause of animal cruelty on the planet. They have a great track record of holding massive food corporations accountable, like getting McDonald's, Taco Bell, Walmart, Kroger, Trader Joe's, Sodexo, etc. to commit to cage-free policies.
- POVERTY | Unconditional cash transfers to the global poor with GiveDirectly
Why: From The Life You Can Save, "Unconditional cash transfers are straightforward, providing funds to some of the poorest people in the world so that they can buy the essentials they need to set themselves up for future success. Cash transfers are relatively well-studied compared to other forms of charitable aid. Numerous studies have shown that this approach changes lives for the better. Several of the studies have found that cash transfers improve child health and schooling, while savings and investment rates are typically high."
What: GiveDirectly has delivered cash to 130K families since 2009.
- BLINDNESS | End unnecessary blindness with $50 through Seva
Why: If you're only looking to give one time instead of monthly, this could be your best bet. Seva says nearly 90% of visually impaired people live with limited access to eye care. 80% of all vision impairment can be cured or prevented. Half of blindness is caused by cataracts that YOU can easily fix with $50. This cost has gone slightly up during COVID, but this is one of the most cost-effective health interventions you can make.
What: Seva is a global nonprofit eye care organization that works with local communities around the world to develop self-sustaining programs that preserve and restore sight. Your $50 donation restores sight with a 15-minute cataract surgery that changes someone's life forever.
- IMMUNIZATIONS | Increase vaccinizations in North West Nigeria through New Incentive
Why: GiveWell estimates "that on average the total cost to immunize one child through New Incentives' program is $47." With a donation of less than $50, you're essentially changing the life of a child.
What: New Incentives (newincentives.org) runs a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in North West Nigeria which seeks to increase uptake of routine immunizations through cash transfers, raising public awareness of the benefits of vaccination and reducing the frequency of vaccine stockouts. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) of New Incentives' program found strong evidence that the program increases vaccination rates.
- MASS INCARCERATION | Create solutions to end mass incarceration through the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Why: Mass incarceration in the United States targets people of color, especially Black and Hispanic people, often for minor crimes, taking away opportunities for the rest of their lives. A felony status can formally or informally disqualify people from housing, employment, and even food. The Ella Baker Center is one of the recommended organizations on the New Jim Crow's guide to taking action. After going through all the recommendations, I picked this one because they have clear and impactful wins, like shutting down 5 out of 8 of California's youth prisons.
What: "You are resourcing a national movement calling for a shift away from a culture of policing and punishment and towards schools, housing, employment, and healthcare for communities hit hardest by mass incarceration".
- IMMIGRATION REFORM | Fight inhumane deportation and create legal pathways with the San Diego Organizing Project
Why: The San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP) took the lead "together with the ACLU and the Employee Rights Center, to develop a Rapid Response Network to keep families together protect our brothers and sisters from raids and deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP)". They've also helped pass legislation that keeps families together and provide microloans for immigrant families.
What: Fund policies, educational initiatives, and microloans to create justice for immigrant families and fight for immigration reform in the United States.
- MENTAL HEALTH | End suicide among LGBTQ+ youth with the Trevor Project
Why: COVID is bringing with it a significant mental health crisis, and some of the people worst affected are LGBTQ+ youth. One in three black trans youth have attempted suicide according to the Trevor Project. That's a scary number (and it still would be scary if it was lower). The Trevor Project has been in this space for 20 years, and they're focusing on digital support and ramping up advocacy over the next 3 years. In 2018, they could only serve 5% of LGBTQ+ youth who needed their services, but your donation can change that.
What: "Your life-saving gift today will help us train a record number of crisis counselors, continue to provide all of our crisis services 24/7 AND FOR FREE — including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat, and expand our advocacy, research, and education efforts."
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | End gender-based violence in the Asian and Pacific Islander community with the Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP)
Why: Earlier this year, I interviewed someone from DVRP about domestic violence and COVID. Since their organization is relatively small, they can quickly distribute cash money to women escaping violent situations, which has become increasingly difficult during the COVID crisis.
One key takeaway was to find small and/or local domestic violence relief organizations to donate to. You can also see a list of women's shelters here or just Google what's in your area. Clean clothes, food, etc. don't cost that much if there are no administrative fees.
What: DVRP provides free and confidential services, in over 20 Asian/Pacific Islander languages. We aim to improve the safety of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, regardless of income level, immigration status, or English fluency.
- FOOD INSECURITY | Give to World Central Kitchen for food AND disaster relief
Why: In 2018, I volunteered in Butte County, California as it was being decimated by a wildfire. The town of Paradise had basically been razed to the ground, and the US government was slow to respond. The community response was tremendously impressive, and one of the standout organizations was World Central Kitchen, providing meals for those displaced by the fire. To date, WCK has provided over 30 million meals in more than 400 cities. During this COVID crisis, food insecurity is on the rise, and your donation can offset some of that.
What: "WCK’s resilience work advances human and environmental health, offers access to professional culinary training, creates jobs, and improves food security for the people we serve. WCK has provided more than 45 million chef-prepared meals for communities around the world. Your donation today will be used to support our emergency food relief efforts and resilience programs."
Finally, if you learned something from this article, please consider joining our movement at Soapbox Project. It's the single easiest way to take action on causes you care about, and you can sign up for our free weekly climate action plans below. They're fun, informative, and help you make a positive impact alongside hundreds of other people!