Running for a Reason - Giving What We Can
posted by Robbie Shade on 26 May 2011

As many of you know I like to run ludicrous distances for “fun” and this summer is no exception. On the 25th of June I’m going to be running 44 miles along the Cornish coastal path in the Classic Quarter ultramarathon (h and as is the norm for these sorts of things I’d like to ask you to donate something of value to a worthy cause.

This isn’t a request for donations of money however, but for a donation of time. I’d really like it if you would spend 10 minutes reading through the website of Giving What We Can: givingwhatwecan.org. Giving What We Can is not a charity itself, but a society with the goal of improving the lives of the world’s poorest people, and they do this through two simple ideas:

  • Encouraging people to donate more to charity - the average person in the UK donates around 0.8% of their income and this number could and should be a lot higher. Try playing around with the calculators on the site to see just how much difference donating a small percentage of your income can make if given to the right charities. Donating to the right places is just as, if not more important, than how much you donate, which leads on to point 2…

  • Identifying the charities which are most effective at improving lives. This is a huge deal - charities vary wildly in terms of lives saved/pound donated and thus choosing the right charity to donate to can mean the difference between saving one life and saving hundreds of lives. GWWC has done (and continues to do) the research to quantify the effectiveness of various charities and lists the results on their site: givingwhatwecan.org/resources/recommended-charities.php

I figure that if just one person who reads this is persuaded by the arguments on the GWWC site then this will do far more good than I could ever do through raising a few hundred pounds for a charity of my choice. I was certainly convinced and I believe that most people will agree but may just have never seen the arguments presented so clearly before.

If you want some numbers try plugging your salary in to the form found here at givingwhatwecan.org/resources/how-rich-you-are.php and you’ll be told exactly how wealthy you are compared to the majority of the world’s population (hint for anyone reading this: much wealthier), and how much this would change if you started donating 10% of your income (hint: not much change). A second calculator, found at givingwhatwecan.org/resources/what-you-can-achieve.php will tell you how many years of healthy life you have the potential to save given your estimated income over your lifetime - it’s going to be a lot…

tl;dr: Robbie Shade, Matt Gibb, and Dave Royse run 44 miles along the coastal path in Cornwall. You spend 10 minutes reading about Giving What We Can at http://www.givingwhatwecan.org/. Good deal.