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A great time to join

GiveDirectly’s new domestic Chief Operating Officer, Ian Bassin, writes to introduce himself and why he joined:

Last week, I joined GiveDirectly as our domestic COO – gratefully at a moment with tremendous potential for the work we can do together.

I joined because, at root, I know that my winning a birth lottery is all that separates me from the challenges faced by Lukas, one of our recipients in Kenya who makes his living selling charcoal and gets by on about 65 cents per day. But I also know that he’s entitled to as much opportunity, dignity and choice in how he plots his life as I have in mine.

GiveDirectly is at a key moment – we’ve already helped more than 25,000 households with evidence-based direct cash transfers. But we’ve just scratched the surface of impacting the $150 billion the world spends annually – often woefully inefficiently – to help those most in need.

Thanks to your past support the tide is turning, and if we seize this opportunity to build on our success, we can not only serve more families like Lukas’s, we can push ourselves past the tipping point so that all donors and institutions alike regularly ask: “is every $1 we spend doing more for the poor than they could do for themselves?”

I believe this is the path towards ending extreme poverty and giving all children the same chances I have had. Please join me by sharing your generosity again, and have a very happy holiday.

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PS: The other great thing you can do to help our movement is to share this note with friends and family. We’ve compiled below a top ten list of reasons to support GiveDirectly you can easily forward and share.

The Top Ten Reasons to GiveDirectly as Part of your Holiday Giving:

  1. GiveDirectly was just named one of the four most effective charities to give to for the 4th year running by the charity evaluator GiveWell, which called GiveDirectly “the most outstanding organization that we have come into contact with over the years that we’ve done GiveWell.”
  2. 91% of money that you give to GiveDirectly is transferred to our recipients.
  3. GiveDirectly’s model is based on rigorous independent research that shows that cash transfers increase recipients’ earnings, assets, food security and well being.
  4. Cash transfers from GiveDirectly give families like Lukas’s the flexibility to set their own priorities, and in Lukas’s case build a new home and expand his charcoal business to support his family.
  5. GiveDirectly is a laboratory where we can learn how to make aid more effective. Each dollar you give not only helps a poor family but helps increase the world’s knowledge on how better to help poor families.
  6. Oxford author Will MacAskill wrote that, “All other development programs should be assessed using GiveDirectly as the yardstick.” By giving to GiveDirectly, you help reinforce that donors want aid programs to demonstrate that they’re doing the most good with your $1 that they can.
  7. GiveDirectly is influencing how the world spends $150 billion in aid a year, with the UK and the European Commission this year endorsing cash transfers as a benchmark for aid.
  8. GiveDirectly’s model restores dignity to the poor, making clear that we don’t presume to know what poor families need or what their priorities should be.
  9. GiveDirectly is ruthlessly transparent, posting online exactly how your dollars are spent and keeping donors abreast of our successes and our failures.
  10. GiveDirectly is backed by some of the leading institutions and experts in aid, philanthropy and the media, including Google.org, Good Ventures, Rockefeller Foundation, and Foreign Policy Magazine.


Correction: In a previous version of this post we wrote that GiveDirectly “helped more than 25,000 people.” In fact, GiveDirectly has helped more than 25,000 households, which is approximately 125,000 people.