One for the World as a potential vehicle to expand the reach of Effective Altruism

Overview

One for the World has been run entirely by volunteers since we started in 2014, but have now made our first full time hire, with a generous grant from the Open Philanthropy Project and a private donor, on the recommendation of GiveWell. We have made significant progress in engaging larger numbers of people with effective altruism (EA) in our most successful chapters, and think there is an opportunity for this type of approach to work well in other places. Now that we have more capacity, we are looking for effective altruists and existing local EA groups that might be interested in starting and running their own One for the World chapter in their non-EA communities. We provide an infrastructure of resources and established practices that try to make it easier to get others involved in effective giving through our 1% pledge system. By utilizing our system, we think that you can raise significant funds for effective global poverty charities and help to grow your community.

Note: you can see a two-page overview of this blog (with some descriptive stats) here, and you can explore statistics about our overall progress and at various chapters on our data dashboard here

Who we are

We are an organization that educates students and young professionals on the principles of Effective Altruism, particularly in terms of charitable giving to effective charities combating global poverty. We encourage individuals to pledge at least 1% of their income to effective global poverty charities in our portfolio (which is based on recommendations by The Life You Can Save and GiveWell). Our members can choose to donate to a portfolio of charities (which we update once a year), or to specific charities in our wider portfolio. We try to make these donations as convenient as possible, by providing an easy-to-use platform (see our website, 1fortheworld.org) which allows donors to choose a date in the future at which their regular donations will start, a tool which we have found to be particularly effective for students.

We are comprised of chapters, currently 15, that create a community of effective givers in their local peer community. Chapters are headed by a board, usually 4-10 members in size, and aided by a number of ‘Student Ambassadors’ that actively recruit members. By running community events (such as guest speakers or giving games), developing personal connections, and hosting our 'Pledge Weeks', our chapters educate their communities and push action through taking the pledge. Our hypothesis is that our lower ask (at least 1% of income) and focus on global poverty increases engagement with people who are interested in EA, broadly agree with its principles, but have yet to engage with the EA community in a meaningful manner.

Proof of concept: our current chapters

One for the World was founded in 2014 by two Wharton MBAs who wanted to take action on the large potential for good through giving to effective charities. Since then, we have grown significantly and now have 15 distinct chapters at universities around the country. Our first chapter at Wharton provides a great example of the potential One for the World can unlock. Over the past three years, we have had 8-13% penetration in the graduating MBA class and are generating recurring annual pledges of about $80,000 per cohort. We think that a significant proportion of the value of these pledges is yet to be realised, as our members' careers progress and their businesses grow. Much of the Wharton classes have not previously been exposed to effective altruism and an introduction to One for the World is their first exposure to these ideas. Nonetheless, our chapter has shown the potential that exists to make an impact in a community that has not traditionally been reached by local EA groups, by introducing the concepts of effective giving and providing convenient methods of action.

Our expansion chapters have provided more evidence of this potential. Three of our fastest growing chapters, Columbia, Villanova, and Stanford Graduate School of Business, have attracted 50-100 new donors in the past year after only having been established in fall of 2017 at the earliest. Stanford GSB has had fairly immediate success: the chapter raised more than $25,000 in their first semester. Our experiences with existing chapters have taught us invaluable lessons in introducing effective giving to diverse communities while exposing the potential impact available with our system.

What we don’t do

We are not designed to replace existing local EA groups or giving opportunities. For instance, the Giving What We Can pledge involves giving 10% of your income to effective charities; clearly a much larger impact than our 1% starting point. Similarly, we believe that the EA community has very strong foundations in its use of local groups, and we want to complement existing resources and practices. Our goal as an organization is to expand the reach of effective altruism to individuals who have not yet engaged, and to complement existing efforts to deepen engagement among those  who are most aligned with EA values.

Our Value Added

In comparison to other giving outlets for EA-minded individuals, such as Giving What We Can’s 10% pledge, we act as a low-barrier, convenient method of introducing newcomers to effective giving. Our system is designed to make effective giving a regular part of diverse communities, even for those initially hesitant to strong EA principles. We have established proof of concept by establishing effective giving as a significant part of communities that one might consider stereotypically unlikely to engage with and support EA. We provide all chapters with one-on-one support with members of our experienced advisory board in addition to providing helpful contacts and connections with other chapter leads. New chapter leads are able to draw from past experiences of established chapters and receive existing materials, resources, and funding. Our chapters are working to establish a nationwide presence and we have a goal of making effective giving a part of lives in a much broader cross section of society.

Get in touch

If you’re interested in our approach, would like to encourage large numbers of people to engage with EA and help raise money for effective global poverty charities, please get in touch  via the form at: https://www.1fortheworld.org/start-a-chapter/

If you have any questions, please post them at the EA Forum (here), where this blog has been cross posted.