How to Keep Your Pledge (4)

How to Keep Your Pledge (4)

You’ve taken the pledge. You’re going to give a percentage of your income to effective charities working to save and improve the lives of those living in extreme poverty. Nicely done! 

But now what?

Three and a half years ago, I took the same public pledge. Keeping it has been easier than I thought it would be, thanks to some tips and tricks I picked up along the way. Every week, I’ll be sharing a strategy that worked for me or another fellow pledger.  This week’s strategy was conceived by The Life You Can Save group in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

If you have a giving strategy that you’d like to share on this blog, email it to


Strategy 4: Taxes, taxes, taxes

If you don’t trust your government to spend money wisely, and you live in a country where charitable donations are tax-deductible, you’ve got all the motivation you need to fulfill your pledge. Giving to effective charities can reduce your tax burden and allow you to direct your money to causes you feel confident will use it well.

In addition to reducing your tax bill, The Life You Can Save group in Belo Horizonte, Brazil suggests imposing a “self-tax” to meet your giving goal. Every time you use a basic service – running water, trash collection, sewer – “charge” yourself a small fee that will go toward your annual donation. Keep count of the number of times in a day you turn on the sink or pour liquid down the drain. Your giving will add up fast!

What I love about this strategy is the reminder that “basic” services like clean, running water are not available to everyone. It’s easy to take for granted. By keeping track of just how often you use running water, you’ll frequently reflect on the importance of bringing clean water to our brothers and sisters living in extreme poverty.


We all handle money differently, and our relationship with money changes overtime. You know best what strategy will work for you. Mix and match the strategies on this blog, or come up with your own. Just keep giving!

Have you found a great way to keep your pledge? Share it with us!

  Claire Knowlton is President of the Board for The Life You Can Save. She lives in Los Angeles and works as an accountant and auditor of nonprofit organizations.

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About the author:

Claire Knowlton

Claire Knowlton, President of the Board for The Life You Can Save, is an independent auditor of not-for-profit organizations in the United States. She shares her Los Angeles apartment with a physicist, a fluffy cat, and a window garden.

The views expressed in blog posts are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Peter Singer or The Life You Can Save.