I just increased my Altruistic Effectiveness and you should too

post by AABoyles · 2014-11-17T15:45:00.537Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 7 comments

I was looking at the marketing materials for a charity (which I'll call X) over the weekend, when I saw something odd at the bottom of their donation form:

Check here to increase your donation by 3% to defray the cost of credit card processing.

It's not news to me that credit card companies charge merchants a cut of every transaction.  But the ramifications of this for charitable contributions had never sunk in. I use my credit card for all of the purchases I can (I get pretty good cash-back rates). Automatically drafting from my checking account (like a check, only without the check) costs X nothing. So I've increased the effectiveness of my charitable contributions by a small (<3%) amount by performing what amounts to a paperwork tweak.

If you use a credit card for donations, please think about making this tweak as well!

7 comments

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comment by jefftk (jkaufman) · 2014-11-17T19:40:47.924Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It does depend on how much you're giving. Handling checks requires some overhead in terms of time for the recipient. For example, GiveWell suggests that people sending them less than $1,000 do so via credit card and above that via check.

comment by AABoyles · 2014-11-17T20:10:03.080Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ow, good point. Thanks for the GiveWell Link.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-11-17T16:22:16.982Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Other options of comparable effectiveness:

In general I wonder whether we should have a Financial Effectiveness Repository.

comment by tog · 2014-11-18T08:25:45.684Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

An option that's 10 times better than the Amazon Smile service in that link is to do all your Amazon shopping via the EA Shop for Charity portal, which earns a 5% commission on all your spending (at no cost for you) for the effective altruist foundation Charity Science, which automatically regrants all this money to GiveWell-recommended charities (currently deworming ones).

Tell All Your Friends!

Also, a Financial Effectiveness Repository is a great idea. Do you want to create that?

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-11-18T09:58:03.051Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Done

comment by AABoyles · 2014-11-18T14:40:22.190Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you!

comment by AABoyles · 2014-11-17T16:47:03.066Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that's a great idea! I would have loved to have something like a sequence starting at the fundamentals of Effective Altruism and boiling down to specifics like this.