How Many Lives Can You Save with 1% of Your Income?

Peter Singer’s organization, The Life You Can Save, has a solid answer.

Jul 13, 2015
A young African girl drinking clean water from a tap

Saving a life can cost less than you think (Shutterstock) 

Donating money to charity can be a questionable affair. Is your money really making a difference? Where would it be best spent? How much should you donate? World renowned philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer has an answer to all three questions - and it all comes down to one percent of your annual income. With two books on what he calls Effective Altruism under his belt, Singer launched The Life You Can Save to help solve the issue of extreme poverty - and empower others to join the movement.

So, how does he get to the 1% figure? The rationale and data is broken down in this quick, informative video, which explains that some $125 billion per year needs to be raised in order to cut global poverty in half. To put that figure into context, Americans spend $117 billion on fast food every year. And to further hammer the point, a calculator works out the amount that you can pledge to do your part, based on your annual income.  

On top of advice on giving, The Life You Can Save lists recommended charities - organizations that make the highest, most cost-effective impact. And for the cherry on top, the website’s charity impact calculator gives a finite understanding of what your donation can achieve. For example, a yearly contribution of $300 to Oxfam can provide eight children with school meal programs for one year, six households with seeds and tools for farming or one handwashing station to prevent the spread of disease at a rural school. With solid facts and figures, the calculator shows that one person’s contribution can make a real difference - no matter how big or small.

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