Effective altruism: a philosophy and social movement that applies scientific evidence and reason to determine the most effective ways to improve the world.
Unfortunately, there are numerous causes of suffering and injustice in the world (“problems”). Fortunately, there are thousands of charity organisations that exist to help mitigate these problems. However, not all of these problems are of equal size or urgency – some may affect hundreds or thousands more lives than others.
As we only have limited resources – such as time and money – that we can give, we have to decide which cause areas to focus our efforts first. Effective altruism uses three metrics as a basis to decide how to prioritise causes:
1. Is the problem very large compared to others?
2. Is it solveable? Are there concrete, measurable ways to make a positive impact on it?
3. Is it neglected? Are comparatively few people working on solving it?
Once you’ve identified the biggest problems, you can then start to evaluate which of the organisations are achieving the most positive impact, and then you can be more confident that the money you give is achieving the most good.
Raising For Effective Giving (REG)
I’m a co-founder of the fundraising organisation “Raising for Effective Giving”, also known as “REG”. The core idea behind REG is that the money won in poker can do so much more than just benefiting ourselves. By donating a portion of our winnings to highly effective charities, it helps the people and issues that are in most desperate need. 100% of donations through REG go to the specified charities, which are chosen via the methodology of effective altruism as explained above. You can find out more about the charities – and why we chose them – at the link below.
The idea for REG came about when fellow poker players Igor Kurganov, Stefan Huber, Philipp Gruissem and I met a team of Swiss effective altruists. Together we realised that the poker community – a collection of data-loving, generous people who often gave to charity – could potentially raise a lot of money to highly impactful causes. Since 2014, REG driven over $6 million in donations from the poker industry, and support continues to grow each year. To learn more, or donate to the causes yourself, check out the link below:
Other EA Organisations
REG works closely with a number of other effective altruist organisations. We use their recommendations, research and advice to help evaluate which charities and organisations are likely to achieve the biggest positive impact. Please follow the links below to find out more about their work.