By Julian Baggini
The New Statesman
Originally published on August 21, 2015
Here is an excerpt:
We have heard so many stories of misguided projects and misspent money over the years that surely the time has come to demand evidence that the charities we support are effective. But how do you measure whether a charity is effective? One answer would be to apply two tests: does it achieve its stated goal and does it do so as cost-efficiently as it can? A charity such as Guide Dogs might pass this test. But for effective altruists, in deciding whether to give to Guide Dogs, you ought to ask another question: could you get more altruistic bang for your buck by giving to something completely different instead?
They say you can. Guide Dogs UK says it costs £32,400 to train a guide dog and its owner and then another £12,800 “to support the working partnership”. In contrast, Singer says you can save someone from going blind in the developing world for between $20 and $100. “If you do the maths,” he writes, “you will see that the choice we face is to provide one person with a guide dog or prevent anywhere between 400 and 2,000 cases of blindness.”
The entire article is here.