Forbes: Making the Most Impact When You Donate

Fistula Foundation is mentioned as one charity operating effectively in the developing world that is best positioned to achieve optimal results for a donor’s donation.


Forbes Opinion Making the Most Impact When You Donate

Charlie Bresler
Mr. Bresler is executive director of The Life You Can Save

It was just a few cases, but when the Ebola epidemic “came home” it evoked a much more intense and widespread emotional response in our communities—and in the press—than when it was very far away and, therefore, more abstract. Irrational fear played a role in this amplified response; however, data from a variety of sources strongly suggests that the closer to home victims are and the more like us they are, the more likely it is that they will evoke an emotional response that results in our providing financial assistance.

Even when the victims are geographically far away and of a different race, humanitarian crises, like Ebola, yield an outpouring of sympathy and financial aid that is almost entirely absent when there is no salient emergency. The devastating effects of extreme poverty—living on less than $1.25 per day (a fact of life for approximately 44% of people in developing countries)—present numerous ways to effectively reduce premature death and reduce suffering. Interestingly, non-crisis aid to the most effective charities could save substantially more lives and reduce more collective suffering than the aid we provide during crises when there often is a lack of clarity as to how the aid will reach and benefit those in need. 

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Published: Dec 2, 2014

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