How Much Good Can You Do? There's A Calculator For That | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

How Much Good Can You Do? There's A Calculator For That

Play associated audio

This time of year, many are thinking about giving to one charity or another and wondering just how much good their donations will do.

Oxford University ethics professor Toby Ord talks with All Things Considered today about his "Giving What We Can" campaign, which encourages members to donate 10 percent of their incomes to charities, and the online calculators he's come up with that aim to show how steady giving can produce some very positive results.

For instance, Ord's calculator estimates that if a 55-year-old earning $50,000 annually gave 10 percent of that income to charity each year until age 65:

20 "healthy lives" would be created (that's somewhat akin to saving lives, but more about making lives better and less subject to such threats as chronic or deadly diseases).

There's also a calculator that aims to show just how rich you may be. An American family of four with an annual household income of $100,000, for example, ranks among the richest 3.4 percent of the world's population, according to Ord's research.

"I sat down about seven years ago," Ord told NPR's Melissa Block, "and tried to work out how much I personally could help people through my career." He estimated he could donate about 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) over his life and not have to change his standard of living. And that, he calculated, could help save about 60,000 lives if it went to charities doing good work in some of the world's poorest nations and neediest regions.

As for which charities to direct money to, Ord's website has guidance about that as well. It says it focuses on "the number of lives they save," and not as much as other groups that evaluate effectiveness do on charities' administrative or fundraising costs.

There's much more from his conversation with Melissa on today's broadcast. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show. Later, we'll add the as-aired version of the conversation to the top of this post.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Reports: Fashion Icon Oscar De La Renta Dies After Long Cancer Fight

Fashion designer Oscar de La Renta, 82, died Monday after a decade-long battle with cancer, The New York Times and other media outlets report.
NPR

Sandwich Monday: The Primanti Bros. Pitts-burger

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a sandwich from the famous Primanti Bros. of Pittsburgh.
NPR

Close Iowa Senate Race Could Come Down To How Women Vote

Joni Ernst, who's an officer in the Iowa Army National Guard, presents herself as a mother, soldier, leader. But many women aren't responding to that.
NPR

Tunisia's Emerging Tech Sector Hampered By Old Policies

When Tunisia's young people protested in 2011, they had one key demand: jobs. Now, despite new political leadership, that demand remains unmet — even in tech, the sector that offers the most promise.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.