Where do your charity donations go?

ACU psychologist Dr Michael Noetel has given a great deal of thought to why we donate, and how our goodwill can have the greatest impact.

"Most people give to charity because they want to help people,” he said on ABC Radio National.

"But if that's the case, we should really look for the charities that do the most good in the world — and I don't think most of us do that yet.

“We often give because there's some nice feeling that we get when we think about a certain charity, but that nice feeling isn't a good predictor of how effective the charity is at helping people."

Some organisations spend more on administration overheads, marketing costs and fundraising efforts than others.

So, how do we assess what's reasonable?

While there are dozens of websites analysing the effectiveness of charities in Australia and abroad, Dr Noetel recommends GiveWell.

"They're a non-profit whose job is to basically evaluate the most effective non-profits in the world," he explains. "They've found a handful of top charities that are over 100 times more effective than the average one, and they need a lot more money because they're really neglected.

"But if somebody is raising for a charity and doing a fun run, I don't just say, 'No, sorry, I'm not donating to you, it's not effective.' It's still important to donate to the things that are really meaningful to you."

Read the ABC Radio National story here.


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