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I want to thank all of you who took the time to respond to our October 29th newsletter that asked, “What Do You Want to Hear About?” You can still send us your questions by filling in this form. I look forward to addressing your questions in these newsletters over the next few weeks. We are also approaching “Giving Season” 2020, and I want to remind everyone that during this period we tend to send more frequent communications than we do the rest of the year — I hope you will open them all and see if the content is relevant to your interests.

Many of you asked to hear our answer to the following two related questions:
  • Do small donations — or any donation at all — really make a difference?
  • Do donations ever actually reach the people who need it the most?
The short answer to both questions is YES! I will give a few illustrative examples below. But I encourage you to go to view our Best Charities and see all the great giving opportunities, many of which do an amazing amount of good for a very small amount of money. We stand behind our curated charities and guarantee that the money you give goes exactly where you intend and helps the people you want to help. For instance:
  • Rob Mather, the CEO of Against Malaria Foundation (AMF), assures us that a US$2-$2.50 (depending upon net cost) donation purchases an insecticide-treated bednet that protects 2 people for up to 3 years. Further, he states that “100% of your donation” funds bednets, not the cost of delivering those nets — pretty amazing!
  • ~US$50 can deliver sight to a child who is blind due to congenital cataracts. These surgeries can be reliably performed as a result of donations to either Seva or the Fred Hollows Foundation.
  • It takes an investment of just US$0.15–$0.40 for GAIN to help provide one person access to adequately iodized salt through their lifetime.

Bob, a subscriber to our newsletter, asks: “Given the immense number of people in extreme poverty and that population seems to be increasing, can aggregated donations at any scale really make a dent in the problem or are we merely satisfying ourselves that we are doing our part, i.e. something is better than nothing?”

It’s a great question — one which the former President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, addressed directly in a 2018 report: “Over the last 25 years, more than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, and the global poverty rate is now lower than it has ever been in recorded history. This is one of the greatest human achievements of our time.”

In sum, poverty reduction is not only possible: poverty has consistently decreased over the last few decades! However, there is no doubt that environmental and political crises can slow down or even temporarily reverse this overall progress. The current global pandemic, for instance, threatens to increase extreme poverty. And poverty reduction remains slowest in the poorest areas (e.g. sub-Saharan Africa).

The second part of the question refers to population growth. Population growth/birth rate decline is a complex and important subject. For one informative view, I refer our subscribers to the book Factfulness by Hans Rosling. He suggests that, while the overall population is increasing significantly, the current number of children under the age of fifteen — roughly 2 billion — will remain unchanged in 2100 due, in large part, to increased access to contraception and improved educational access for women and girls. 

The coronavirus pandemic may affect these trends in ways that we cannot anticipate. But the most recent data suggests that we have made great progress in reducing poverty. And you can always rest assured that your donations to our Best Charities, small or large, will be used effectively, reach the intended receipts and make a real difference in reducing the amount of premature death and unnecessary suffering! Please donate generously.

Donate to our Best Charities

Do Good. Feel Good.

Charlie Bresler

Executive Director of The Life You Can Save

In Other News

An update from some of our partners

Multiply your impact with

Many people want to support the most effective charities but also want to support charities that are personally meaningful. GivingMultiplier makes it easy and rewarding to do both. This is a great way to introduce friends and family to effective giving. And for committed effective altruists, becoming a GivingMultiplier matching funder is a great way to multiply your impact.

Find Out More

How you can fight climate change

Giving Green is a new initiative at IDinsight that aims to direct dollars and volunteers towards evidence-backed projects that combat the climate crisis. They have produced a uniquely scientific, transparent, and independent set of recommendations for how to support projects that are demonstrably reducing atmospheric GHG.

Find Out More

A Free Tool

Help to give effectively.


We’ve partnered with FreeWill, a free, online will-writing platform, that makes it simpler than ever to create your legal will online. Whether you’re eighteen or eighty, everyone needs a plan. Create your lasting legacy today by including The Life You Can Save’s recommended charities in your will.

Find Out More

Upcoming Events

More opportunities to give.

You are invited to our Virtual Crowdfunding Event

The Life You Can Save invites you to join us for our Virtual Live Crowdfunding Event, powered by The Funding Network, on Monday, 7th December at 5 pm Pacific Standard Time (PST) / 8 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST). The event will generate support for three fantastic charities: Sanku Project Healthy Children; The Fred Hollows Foundation; and GiveDirectly. On the night, grab a drink and get comfy in front of your computer as we listen to these three pioneering organisations share stories about their evidence-based, cost-effective, and high-impact work. We’ll follow these presentations with a live-pledging session, which we hope will inspire a shared sense of purpose for all involved. 

FREE: Register now

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