The 🔸10% Pledge

Über 9.000 Menschen aus mehr als 100 Ländern haben öffentlich versprochen, jährlich 10% ihres Einkommens an wirksame Hilfsorganisationen zu spenden

They have committed to the 🔸10%-Pledge of our international partner organization Giving What We Can (GWWC), thereby making improving the world through effective giving an important part of their lives.

More than 650 people from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have already joined. More are joining every month.

Author and historian Rutger Bregman talks about how the 🔸10% Pledge has enriched his life.

Why donate 10%?

The world is full of problems

Worldwide, there are countless serious problems causing suffering to humans and animals or putting them at risk of suffering in the future. Approximately 700 million people still live in extreme poverty, and about 6 million children under the age of 15 still die each year from largely preventable, poverty-related causes. Climate change continues to advance, and in factory farming, billions of animals are kept and killed annually under often horrific conditions. Liberal democracies are under pressure, and technological progress, while offering enormous opportunities, also brings significant existential risks.

Effective donations have enormous potential

Thanks to a number of methodological innovations in recent decades, we now know much more about which aid measures work and which do not. The cost-effectiveness of non-profit organizations can also be better assessed and compared between individual organizations through scientific studies and analyses. This reveals major differences: the best donation projects achieve up to 100 times more than average initiatives.

This development gives us hope.

It is amazing how much good we can do through the financial support of particularly effective charities. Our partner organization GiveWell, which invests over 50,000 hours a year in finding the world's best charities estimates, for example, that a donation of around 5,000 euros can save the life of a child from death by malaria or similar preventable causes of death.

You are in an exceptionally good position to help

In a global and historical comparison, the vast majority of people in Central Europe today are among the most privileged people who have ever lived.

If you are reading this text, there is a high likelihood that you either belong to the richest 5% of the world's population by income or will soon. In Germany, a single household only needs a monthly net income of 2,000 Euros to qualify. This means your income would be 9.3 times higher than the global median.

Because of this great global inequality, you can do an amazing amount of good for others at comparatively little cost to yourself.

10% is a considerable amount and undoubtedly more than the vast majority of people donate. But on the whole, 10% more or less income does not have a serious impact on the life of a high-earning person.

Regarding life satisfaction, the opposite is often true. Many Pledgers report that their personal financial sacrifice is far outweighed by the sense of purpose they gain from giving. They view the Pledge as an enrichment of their lives. Studies suggest similar conclusions.

But the best thing is, of course, that as a Pledger you can become a hero in the truest sense of the word and save many lives in the course of your life!

Why the public pledge?

Really living your own values

We humans are generally not perfectly rational beings. Often, there is a gap between our values and our actions. Everyday life intervenes, less important things seem more urgent, and so on. The 🔸10%-Pledge can help bridge this value-action gap in donating long-term. By taking the time to reflect on your values and how you want to live them out, if you conclude that you want to donate 10% of your income over the long term, you can formalize this intention with the Pledge. This increases the likelihood that you will stay committed to your goal (keyword value drift) and act accordingly. This is even more true if you frequently discuss your Pledge with others.

A community of like-minded people

With the Pledge, you become part of a community of people who, like you, are strongly committed to making the world a better place - rationally and evidence-based. For many Pledgers, this is very motivating or helpful in maintaining their motivation to get involved in the long term. GWWC (and partly also we at Effektiv Spenden) offer various online and offline formats for exchange.

Do good and talk about it

The Pledge can also be a great opportunity to share your commitment with others and perhaps inspire them to do the same. Together we can create a world where it becomes the cultural norm to donate a portion of your income to effective charities.

Is the Pledge for you?

Our main concern at Effektiv Spenden is to make it easier and more common for people to focus on impact when donating and to support particularly effective organizations. Only a small portion of our over 23,500 donors have taken the 🔸10%-Pledge, and we do not expect that to change significantly.

Nevertheless, we believe the 🔸10%-Pledge is a fantastic initiative, and several members of our team are Pledgers.

Feel free to reach out to us personally if you are interested in the Pledge and have any questions about it.

In addition to the 🔸10%-Pledge, GWWC offers a variety of other options:

  • to try out the 🔹Trial Pledge, where you donate a percentage of your income for a period of your choice (6 months to 5 years),
  • the Further Pledge, where you donate everything above a certain amount you specify, and
  • for entrepreneurs the Company Pledge, where your company donates 10% of its profits. (If you are interested in this, you could also visit the Founders Pledge where you as a founder can pledge to donate a certain portion of your future proceeds from a company sale).

Frequently asked questions about the 🔸10% pledge

What exactly is the 🔸10% pledge?

The 🔸10%-Pledge is a public, non-legally binding commitment to donate at least 10% of your income to highly effective charities for the rest of your life. If you are or become wealthy, you have the option to take this into account in your pledge.

Is the pledge legally binding?

No, the pledge is not legally binding and you have the option to withdraw from it. However, it is a serious moral pledge, so we recommend that you consider it carefully in advance and only make it if you are absolutely sure.

Why 10% in particular?

The 10% is intended as a good compromise between ambition and feasibility: It represents a significant portion of income that acknowledges the importance of global issues and the necessity for real action, while remaining achievable for most people in affluent countries.

The 10% also has a strong historical connection to the concept of the tithe, a tradition in Judaism and Christianity of giving 10% of income to charitable purposes or the church. In Islam, there is a similar practice known as Zakat, where those who are able give between 2.5% and 20% of their wealth to those less fortunate.

Read more on this topic in our blog article How much should I donate?

10% from gross or net income?

If you can deduct your donations from taxes, as is the case when you donate through Effektiv Spenden from Germany or Switzerland, typically 10% of your gross income is considered. Otherwise, 10% of your net income applies.

Which organizations can I donate to?

The idea of the pledge is to support proven effective charitable projects. Both Effektiv Spenden and Giving What We Can curate portfolios of organizations that definitely meet this criterion. Ultimately, it's up to your judgment which charitable projects you support. The key is that you are sincerely convinced that it is one of the most effective options.

Will it be checked whether I am really donating?

No, that's entirely up to you. However, with Giving What We Can, you have the option to keep track of your donations in an online portal for your own records.

What happens if I no longer have any income?

If you ever have no or significantly less income, e.g. because you lose your job or go to university, your pledge is also considered fulfilled if you only donate 1% of your disposable income (i.e. after deducting your fixed costs). When you retire, you can decide for yourself whether you want to continue donating or consider the pledge completed.

What is the relationship between Effektiv Spenden and Giving What We Can?

Effektiv Spenden and Giving What We Can are affiliated organizations. We collaborate but operate independently. We endorse the 🔸10%-Pledge from GWWC because we support its principles. We do not receive any direct or indirect compensation for this endorsement.

Donations made through Effektiv Spenden can be tax-deductible in Germany and Switzerland, unlike donations made through Giving What We Can.