Why are we donating 100% of the proceeds from Video Chat Magic?

Will and I (Steve) are both very interested in charity. We have both directed a proportion of our careers towards efforts to help others. In these particularly challenging times, we feel there is an opportunity to contribute, in some small way, to helping those less fortunate than ourselves. We also want to introduce the magic world to Effective Altruism. 

What is Effective Altruism?

If Physics as a field of study asks, how can we better understand the universe and Architecture asks, how can we build better buildings, then Effective Altruism asks how can we do the most good? In particular, Effective Altruism applies reason and evidence to search out and build the most potent ways to improve the world. It suggests that answering this question is less a theoretical debate and more a practical and empirical question of evidence. Donors can increase their impact by researching which donation option helps the greatest number of the most needy to the greatest degree with the highest level of confidence.

The opposite of this approach would be to seek out a charity that seeks to help fewer people, who are better off and to help them in a less significant way. Think of the difference in impact between donating €30,000 to cure the blindness of hundreds of people in Africa, versus €30,000 to supply one seeing-impaired person in Dublin with a guide dog. Obviously, we would prefer to help everyone, but as we only ever have limited resources, it will increase our impact if we invest the funds with proportionality in mind. 

Over the past decade, 100,000 hours of professional research has been conducted to identify the very best giving opportunities, globally. The current conclusions of this research effort point to a very small number of extremely effective interventions. 

Perhaps the most obvious and important finding has been that not all efforts to help are equal. In poorer countries, where money goes a lot further, it is very clear that we can have a far greater effect with a given donation. It is very likely that the disease burden of Covid-19 is not going to be evenly distributed and that donations to help in poorer countries will have a vastly larger impact on greater numbers of people. 

From my understanding, the organisation that the evidence suggests will do the most good with the income from Video Chat Magic is GiveWell. They are at the core of the Effective Altruism movement and we really hope that you check out the exceptional standards of their work here and learn more about Effective Altruism here. And you can read a couple of short articles I’ve written here

If you are interested in learning more about Effective Altruism, please get in touch via VideoChatMagic@gmail.com


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If you’d like to join our team of contributors, get in touch: VideoChatMagic@gmail.com