The Life You Can Save: 2015 Priorities

The Life You Can Save: 2015 Priorities


This will be a pivotal year for The Life You Can Save. We’re very optimistic about the opportunities ahead of us, but mindful that we have lots of work to do in order to bring The Life You Can Save to scale over the next two to three years.

We feel The Life You Can Save is well situated to continue making progress toward two of our most important goals. First, we want to increase incremental donations to charities that fight extreme poverty using cost-effective and evidence-backed solutions.  Second, through our website, corporate programs, affinity groups, and Giving Games, we want to build a lasting culture of generous and effective giving.

It’s been a little over a year since The Life You Can Save became a registered non-profit. We’re more confident than ever that the money and time we’re investing in the organization will have increasingly significant leverage in impacting the lives of those suffering in extreme poverty.

Here are our top priorities for 2015:

  1. Top priority: Secure the funding we need to bring The Life You Can Save to scale.  We’re eager to get to the point where we can deprioritize fundraising for our own work and redirect that energy to help our recommended charities. Our goal is to get most of our funding from high-net worth donors.We have several activities in place to make this happen in 2015.
  2. Capitalize on high value opportunities for outreach and fundraising.  We’ve developed some very exciting prospects that have huge potential payoffs. Maximizing the impact of these relationships, and cultivating new ones, will be a major focus. Some particularly promising examples:
    1. Peter will be publishing two books this year. There also will be at least two other books about effective altruism published in 2015. This creates a significant opportunity to raise awareness of our key message.
    2. Charlie and Peter will be speaking with a group of philanthropic advisors who help their clients decide where to allocate their charitable giving. Charlie is working to arrange similar events with a large network of these professionals.
    3. We’ve helped one office of a global consulting firm run a successful Giving Game, and are working with two more offices to do the same.  Over the long term, we hope this relationship will help establish a culture of effective giving across over 50 worldwide offices.
    4. We’re in discussions to run a pilot Giving Game at an office of a major tech company, with a plan to then scale this program to include other offices.
  3. Continue bringing our Giving Games program to scale. We believe this philanthropy education program has enormous potential. A top priority this year will be building the infrastructure to allow us to accommodate the rapid growth we’re experiencing (despite the limited resources we have had to support this project). As part of this effort, we’ll release a blog series about Giving Games that will complement the resources we already have available.  We will continue to improve the Giving Games section of our website to help bring new Giving Games to a wide variety of corporates, universities, groups, and organizations.
  4. Make refinements to our website. Last year, we spent a lot of time and energy creating new content. This year, we’ll focus more on improving the users’ experience as they engage with that content. For example, we’re redesigning the information sheets we provide for each charity to improve their look and feel, while also making these pages easier for us to maintain.  We’ll also work on our Search Engine Optimization, an important tool for driving traffic to our site.
  5. Become less reliant on Peter for media exposure. High profile media mentions are an important way of driving traffic to our site and money to our recommended charities.  We will develop ways to achieve this exposure without Peter’s involvement, as he’s quite busy with teaching and writing and wants to spend time with his family too. In any case, news media are notoriously fickle, and we cannot rely on them continuing to give him as much attention as they have in the past. We recognize this will be an ongoing process.  For now, we’ll continue to raise Charlie’s media profile, building on last year’s appearances in Forbes, Money Magazine, the Aspen Times, and a forthcoming piece by the Washington Post featuring our new Impact Calculator.

We recently reorganized our team around these priorities, which will allow us to work more efficiently. Charlie, as Executive Director, will manage our external relationships, which means he’ll be focusing on fundraising and PR. Jon, as COO, will manage our internal projects—including technology, Giving Games, our blog, and social media. Jon recently relocated to Bainbridge Island, WA, where Charlie lives, which will make it easier for them to coordinate.

There are many other projects we believe iwould be valuable to pursue. The constraints we face are ones of time and money to expand capacity—not a lack of ideas or opportunities for magnifying our impact.

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About the author:

Jon Behar

As COO, Jon helps coordinate The Life You Can Save’s various projects and set the organization’s overall strategic direction. He founded and continues to run our Giving Game project, a global philanthropy education initiative that teaches people skills to give more effectively and makes these lessons tangible by providing workshop participants with real money to donate to the charities of their choice.

Prior to joining The Life You Can Save, Jon spent ten years at a prominent hedge fund, working primarily in the areas of risk management, portfolio optimization, and algorithm development. He has also served on the board of directors for GiveWell, a widely-respected charity evaluator.

Jon now lives on Bainbridge Island, WA with his wife Meghann Riepenhoff (an acclaimed artist) and their dog Oso.

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