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Where Does a Dollar Help the Most? A Conversation About Effective Charitable Giving

September 29, 2022

4:00 pm - 4:45 pm

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WCC; 3016 Room

Charity evaluators like GiveWell have identified a handful of highly effective nonprofits that have shown they can save and improve lives at fractions of the cost of other charities’ operations.  For example, the Against Malaria Foundation distributes basic medical supplies in the places where they are needed most, saving lives at the remarkable average cost of about $5,500 according to randomized control trials evaluating its efforts.  Given how much each dollar donated to highly cost-effective charities can help others, some advocates argue that people in wealthy countries should prioritize donating a meaningful fraction of their incomes to these charities, sometimes prioritizing them over opportunities to give in one’s local community.
Does it make sense to prioritize charitable donations based on considerations like cost-effectiveness and the availability of randomized control trials showing strong evidence of positive effects?  If so, what are some best guesses about where we ought to donate?  If not, what should we prioritize instead?  Please join HLS Effective Altruism for a discussion about these and other questions related to effective charitable giving.
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About us: This event is hosted by HLS Effective Altruism, a community of law students interested in using evidence and careful reasoning to take actions to confront the world’s most pressing problems, including extreme poverty and existential risks from emerging technologies. Our events are open to all members of the Harvard community. You can learn more and join our mailing list by visiting

If you or an event participant require disability-related accommodations for any event at HLS, please contact Accessibility Services, at or 617-495-8773, in advance of the event.

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September 29, 2022, 4:00 pm - 4:45 pm

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