updates on donating money

Thanks to everyone who’s given feedback on the previous post!  A few updates on donating criteria, literacy, and global family planning:

1. One reader wrote:

I like a lot of what you wrote, but here’s a criterion I didn’t see there, but which makes sense to me: if huge funding sources are already available to a project (e.g. Gates Foundation) I’m pretty sure my impact will not be that significant. It might make more sense to focus on organizations that do not (or do not yet) have such resources available to them.

I think this is a very good point.  I think it’s likely that a lot of organizations without funding from large foundations may not have funding because they don’t have much evidence of effectiveness.  But that’s surely not always true, and all other things being equal, your contribution will go much further in an organization that doesn’t have huge grants.

2. In response to my criteria for donating, Rowan recommenced PlanetRead, a literacy project that puts Karaoke style subtitles Bollywood films in local languages across India.  They also put similar subtitles on children’s stories (on YouTube and in a mobile app).  I read some of their impact studies, and these techniques are impressively effective at improving literacy, and easily reach huge numbers of people.

3. While discussing family planning, I said I hadn’t been able to find any NGOs with a global focus on family planning.  It turns out there are lots!  Based on the comments in Nicholas Kristof’s NYT blog, here are a few that I’d like to evaluate further:

I will share further any further analysis of these NGOs that I end up doing.

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