"The Giving Pledge" Takes 1% of Wages & Gives a Giving Culture

The Harvard Giving Pledge is a group at Harvard which encourages students to donate 1% of the wages they make to a highly effective charity of choice. Founder Andrew Zuckerman was inspired by a similar group started at the Wharton school called One for the World, so he came together with about ten other students, mostly freshmen at the college, to spread the change to Harvard. Zuckerman says that "This is part of an ongoing movement that is not just happening here, but at other universities as well." Even though The Giving Pledge was just started this year, over 40 students have already pledged over $10,000 through The Giving Pledge.


If you give with The Giving Pledge you know that close to 100% of your donation goes to the charity in question. The Giving Pledge does not take a percentage off the top, though there is a small (3.1%) fee for credit card transactions and their Donor Advised Fund (Network For Good). But why give through The Giving Pledge rather than donating directly? Well, if you donate through The Giving Pledge, then the group can monitor how much Harvard students are giving as a community and keep track of the impact the group has had on donating at Harvard over time.


Zuckerman says he has three goals for The Giving Pledge: "to help improve the world and get more money going to great charities that are doing great work, to create a greater culture of giving on campus, and to educate Harvard students about how to find the most effective charities through research, rather than just giving to random charities." Zuckerman says they look for charities which are transparent about their efficiency. Generally that means finding inexpensive but effective solutions to problems that are easy to measure. The endorsed charities cover a myriad of causes, but for now the website primarily allows students to donate to charities related to global health and world development, as "these are some of the clearest ways to make an impact and know that you're making an impact."


Zuckerman offered two examples of models which help efficiently. One charity, GiveDirectly,  gives directly to "the world's poorest people and they can decide what to do with the money." Based on the trials, the results are astounding. Plus, "zero percent is spent on alcohol and tobacco," so you know none of it is going to waste. Similarly, another charity, the Against Malaria Foundation, purchases malaria nets, which are the most efficient means of protection against the disease. One net costs as little as $2.50 and can protect two people from malaria for up to three years.


If you want to join The Giving Pledge team or if you have any questions, you can email [email protected]hercampus.com to be connected with Andrew Zuckerman.


Sign up now at harvardgivingpledge.org to donate 1% of your summer wages.