One for the World as a potential vehicle to expand the reach of Effective Altruism


One for the World has been run en­tirely by vol­un­teers since we started in 2014, but we have now made our first full time hire, with a gen­er­ous grant from the Open Philan­thropy Pro­ject and a pri­vate donor, on the recom­men­da­tion of GiveWell. We have made sig­nifi­cant progress in en­gag­ing larger num­bers of peo­ple with effec­tive al­tru­ism (EA) in our most suc­cess­ful chap­ters, and think there is an op­por­tu­nity for this type of ap­proach to work well in other places. Now that we have more ca­pac­ity, we are look­ing for effec­tive al­tru­ists and ex­ist­ing lo­cal EA groups that might be in­ter­ested in start­ing and run­ning their own One for the World chap­ter in their non-EA com­mu­ni­ties. We provide an in­fras­truc­ture of re­sources and es­tab­lished prac­tices that try to make it eas­ier to get oth­ers in­volved in effec­tive giv­ing through our 1% pledge sys­tem. By uti­liz­ing our sys­tem, we think that you can raise sig­nifi­cant funds for effec­tive global poverty char­i­ties and help to grow your com­mu­nity.

[EDIT: you can see a two-page overview of this blog (with some de­scrip­tive stats) here, and you can ex­plore statis­tics about our over­all progress and at var­i­ous chap­ters on our data dash­board here]

Who we are

We are an or­ga­ni­za­tion that ed­u­cates stu­dents and young pro­fes­sion­als on the prin­ci­ples of Effec­tive Altru­ism, par­tic­u­larly in terms of char­i­ta­ble giv­ing to effec­tive char­i­ties com­bat­ing global poverty. We en­courage in­di­vi­d­u­als to pledge at least 1% of their in­come to effec­tive global poverty char­i­ties in our port­fo­lio (which is based on recom­men­da­tions by The Life You Can Save and GiveWell). Our mem­bers can choose to donate to a port­fo­lio of char­i­ties (which we up­date once a year), or to spe­cific char­i­ties in our wider port­fo­lio. We try to make these dona­tions as con­ve­nient as pos­si­ble, by pro­vid­ing an easy-to-use plat­form (see our web­site, 1forthe­ which al­lows donors to choose a date in the fu­ture at which their reg­u­lar dona­tions will start, a tool which we have found to be par­tic­u­larly effec­tive for stu­dents.

We are com­prised of chap­ters, cur­rently 15, that cre­ate a com­mu­nity of effec­tive givers in their lo­cal peer com­mu­nity. Chap­ters are headed by a board, usu­ally 4-10 mem­bers in size, and aided by a num­ber of ‘Stu­dent Am­bas­sadors’ that ac­tively re­cruit mem­bers. By run­ning com­mu­nity events (such as guest speak­ers or giv­ing games), de­vel­op­ing per­sonal con­nec­tions, and host­ing our ‘Pledge Weeks’, our chap­ters ed­u­cate their com­mu­ni­ties and push ac­tion through tak­ing the pledge. Our hy­poth­e­sis is that our lower ask (at least 1% of in­come) and fo­cus on global poverty in­creases en­gage­ment with peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in EA, broadly agree with its prin­ci­ples, but have yet to en­gage with the EA com­mu­nity in a mean­ingful man­ner.

Proof of con­cept: our cur­rent chapters

One for the World was founded in 2014 by two Whar­ton MBAs who wanted to take ac­tion on the large po­ten­tial for good through giv­ing to effec­tive char­i­ties. Since then, we have grown sig­nifi­cantly and now have 15 dis­tinct chap­ters at uni­ver­si­ties around the coun­try. Our first chap­ter at Whar­ton pro­vides a great ex­am­ple of the po­ten­tial One for the World can un­lock. Over the past three years, we have had 8-13% pen­e­tra­tion in the grad­u­at­ing MBA class and are gen­er­at­ing re­cur­ring an­nual pledges of about $80,000 per co­hort. We think that a sig­nifi­cant pro­por­tion of the value of these pledges is yet to be re­al­ised, as our mem­bers’ ca­reers progress and their busi­nesses grow. Much of the Whar­ton classes have not pre­vi­ously been ex­posed to effec­tive al­tru­ism and an in­tro­duc­tion to One for the World is their first ex­po­sure to these ideas. Nonethe­less, our chap­ter has shown the po­ten­tial that ex­ists to make an im­pact in a com­mu­nity that has not tra­di­tion­ally been reached by lo­cal EA groups, by in­tro­duc­ing the con­cepts of effec­tive giv­ing and pro­vid­ing con­ve­nient meth­ods of ac­tion.

Our ex­pan­sion chap­ters have pro­vided more ev­i­dence of this po­ten­tial. Three of our fastest grow­ing chap­ters, Columbia, Villanova, and Stan­ford Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness, have at­tracted 50-100 new donors in the past year af­ter only hav­ing been es­tab­lished in fall of 2017 at the ear­liest. Stan­ford GSB has had fairly im­me­di­ate suc­cess: the chap­ter raised more than $25,000 in their first semester. Our ex­pe­riences with ex­ist­ing chap­ters have taught us in­valuable les­sons in in­tro­duc­ing effec­tive giv­ing to di­verse com­mu­ni­ties while ex­pos­ing the po­ten­tial im­pact available with our sys­tem.

What we don’t do

We are not de­signed to re­place ex­ist­ing lo­cal EA groups or giv­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. For in­stance, the Giv­ing What We Can pledge in­volves giv­ing 10% of your in­come to effec­tive char­i­ties; clearly a much larger im­pact than our 1% start­ing point. Similarly, we be­lieve that the EA com­mu­nity has very strong foun­da­tions in its use of lo­cal groups, and we want to com­ple­ment ex­ist­ing re­sources and prac­tices. Our goal as an or­ga­ni­za­tion is to ex­pand the reach of effec­tive al­tru­ism to in­di­vi­d­u­als who have not yet en­gaged, and to com­ple­ment ex­ist­ing efforts to deepen en­gage­ment among those who are most al­igned with EA val­ues.

Our Value Added

In com­par­i­son to other giv­ing out­lets for EA-minded in­di­vi­d­u­als, such as Giv­ing What We Can’s 10% pledge, we act as a low-bar­rier, con­ve­nient method of in­tro­duc­ing new­com­ers to effec­tive giv­ing. Our sys­tem is de­signed to make effec­tive giv­ing a reg­u­lar part of di­verse com­mu­ni­ties, even for those ini­tially hes­i­tant to strong EA prin­ci­ples. We have es­tab­lished proof of con­cept by es­tab­lish­ing effec­tive giv­ing as a sig­nifi­cant part of com­mu­ni­ties that one might con­sider stereo­typ­i­cally un­likely to en­gage with and sup­port EA. We provide all chap­ters with one-on-one sup­port with mem­bers of our ex­pe­rienced ad­vi­sory board in ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing helpful con­tacts and con­nec­tions with other chap­ter leads. New chap­ter leads are able to draw from past ex­pe­riences of es­tab­lished chap­ters and re­ceive ex­ist­ing ma­te­ri­als, re­sources, and fund­ing. Our chap­ters are work­ing to es­tab­lish a na­tion­wide pres­ence and we have a goal of mak­ing effec­tive giv­ing a part of lives in a much broader cross sec­tion of so­ciety.

Get in touch

If you’re in­ter­ested in our ap­proach, would like to en­courage large num­bers of peo­ple to en­gage with EA and help raise money for effec­tive global poverty char­i­ties, please get in touch via the form at: https://​​www.1forthe­​​start-a-chap­ter/​​