We're off and running for a successful 2018 here at Power of Deduction, and tried hard to set the tone for a productive year in our choice of charities for our January gifts. As always, we made our selections based on extensive research and reference to resources like GiveWell, Charity Navigator, and others, and sought organizations employing an efficient, effective, and ethical approach to serving our causes. For this month's contributions, we gave to the following charities:
Immigration and Refugees - American Civil Liberties Union - This was the first month in which we decided to focus on the "immigration" component of this category, which meant giving to an organization serving those within the U.S. whose status is in jeopardy. Our overarching principle of giving where there is the most need generally generally leads us to organizations providing basic shelter, food, or other necessities to refugees in a time of desperation. However, we have not been blind to the plight of immigrants within the U.S., particularly in recent months, and are persuaded by the ACLU's own materials as well as those of watchdog organizations that it will use our contribution to effectively and efficiently fight for their rights.
Global Health - Against Malaria Foundation - After a few months of supporting Nothing But Nets (in part out of a desire to expand our impact via generous matching campaigns), we went back to AMF for this month. GiveWell recently renewed its top rating for the organization, and we certainly do understand why. AMF fights the spread of malaria by distributing mosquito nets to at-risk populations, which is both extremely effective as well as monetarily efficient given the low price of these nets. What's more, AMF traces our donations to specific nets, telling us which countries they are sent to, how many of them are sent, and how many people are protected. It's an amazing and powerful effort to track the human impact. (You can read more about our Global Health giving preferences on this post.)
The Environment - Rainforest Alliance - Our gift to the Rainforest Alliance this month was intended to support its mission of fighting deforestation and preserving biodiversity. As we wrote about on our recent environmental Spotlight post, we think efforts like theirs strike a great balance between efficiency and effectiveness in the battle against climate change, which is the #1 problem we seek to address with our environmental giving.
Animal Welfare - WildAid - As with a few other recent months, we gave to WildAid from our animal welfare fund to support its efforts to combat poaching by targeting the demand side rather than the supply side. The organization administers advertising campaigns in countries where the demand for things like ivory, for example, is very high, educating consumers about the harm involved with the trade. Similar campaigns have massively reduced the market for shark fin soup, suggesting there really is something to this model. And the 100 out of 100 score for this organization on Charity Navigator didn't hurt either!
Homelessness - Coalition for the Homeless - We gave to Coalition for the Homeless this month to support its efforts to bring food, water, shelter, clothing, job training, and other basic goods and services to New York's homeless. It's a four star charity on Charity Navigator, in part because 88.4% of its incoming contributions are used to advance its mission (instead of supporting fundraising campaigns, pay basic overhead costs, etc.). While we know metrics like this are not the be all, end all in assessing an organization, when viewed alongside the other attributes of this excellent organization, they make a compelling case for giving.
Nutrition and Hunger - Action Against Hunger - Our recent gifts reflect how impressed with are with Action Against Hunger, which targets both the causes and effects of extreme hunger and malnutrition worldwide with excellent financial efficiency. Unlike all the other causes, where we made our contributions on the 10th as scheduled, for this cause, we took advantage of a year-end matching campaign that saw an outside donor add double our gift on top of it. This effectively tripled the impact of our money, which in turn meant our donors money had nearly four times the impact it would have had had they given directly to an organization without a matching campaign in effect.
Arts - Las Fotos Project - This is an excellent Los Angeles organization that advances the individuality, creativity, and appreciation for the arts of low and middle income young women of color by training them in photography. As we've done in the past for other organizations we've given to in the past whose online giving portals send us to third party intermediaries (i.e. Network for Good) who take a cut of our donation as a processing fee, we made our gift by mailing a check directly to the organization.
Education - Schools for Africa - This organization, which is truly just a program within Unicef, is one of only a few that build schools in the developing world without any religious or proselytizing component to its mission. We prefer not to wade into religion in matters of education out of concern that it could run afoul of the "ethical" prong of our analysis. That's why we like Schools for Africa, as well as Pencils of Promise and other secular organizations that work to build schools for the teaching of reading, writing, math, and other basic skills in places where they are needed most.
We truly appreciate the support of all of our donors from last month, and are happy to confirm that our contributions for this month again exceeded 130% of the amounts we received in donations. We're also excited to be receiving more and more support from a wider and wider network. We hope you'll continue to give, and you'll spread the word among your friends and families that Power of Deduction is a better way to do so.