17 January 2023

Who decides what is effective in Effective Altruism?

In the weeks following the FTX collapse, and the subsequent breakdown of Sam Bankman-Fried’s reputation, some of the scrutiny has turned to Effective Altruism (EA) – the philanthropic movement that Bankman-Fried championed for years (evidently only for good PR).

Everything from EA’s philosophical underpinnings to the causes it supports have been questioned following the loss of the movement’s most significant donor. Instead of asking whether to condemn or support the movement, however, the more crucial question is one that applies far beyond EA: who defines what effective giving is in the first place?

It’s no secret that donating without the input of the communities impacted by donations creates more problems than solutions. Thus, community-led philanthropy – which prioritizes funding projects that are requested by local communities, designed with their input, and are accountable to communities for projects’ net impacts – is a better recipe for effective giving. Ultimately, impacted communities are best placed to define whether philanthropy is effective.

Read the full article on Alliance Magazine here.