One for the World — General Support (2019)

Published: December 2019

Note: This page summarizes the rationale behind a GiveWell Incubation Grant to One for the World. One for the World staff reviewed this page prior to publication.


As part of our effort to increase money moved to our top charities, GiveWell recommended a grant of $355,000 from the Effective Altruism Global Health and Development Fund to One for the World (OFTW), an organization that encourages people to pledge a fixed percentage of their incomes to GiveWell-recommended charities for life.

OFTW previously received a GiveWell Incubation Grant in July 2018.

Table of Contents

The organization

One for the World (OFTW) is an organization that sets up chapters at universities, graduate schools, and businesses which aim to persuade students and young professionals to pledge 1% of their incomes to GiveWell-recommended charities.

Case for the grant

We see OFTW as a group that is likely to introduce new donors to GiveWell's research. We think that targeting students in particular has the potential to be effective and valuable; many current donors to GiveWell-recommended charities learned about GiveWell while they were students.

Other factors that we believe bolster the case for this grant include:

  • Since our 2018 grant, OFTW has expanded to support 23 total chapters.1 It added roughly $210,000 in new pledges in 2018 and $912,000 in new pledges in 2019 to date.2
  • In mid-2019, OFTW hired Jack Lewars as full-time Executive Director. While we do not yet have a strong view on Mr. Lewars's capabilities, we are excited about OFTW bringing on a CEO, since its lack of an executive director was one of our key reservations when we recommended our previous grant to OFTW.

Planned activities and budget

Over the coming year, OFTW plans to spend roughly 75% of its budget on staff costs.3 OFTW plans to have three full-time staff during the 2019-2020 academic year and four full-time staff during the 2020-2021 year.4 OFTW plans to spend the remainder of its budget on chapter costs, administrative and office costs, travel, marketing, and other relatively small, miscellaneous costs.5

Our understanding is that OFTW does not currently have other likely sources of major funding. However, OFTW expects to attract other funders over the next couple of years. Consequently, it has asked GiveWell to support only 75% of its 2020-2021 budget and anticipates asking GiveWell for only 50% of its 2021-2022 budget.6

Risks and reservations

  • OFTW is a young organization with a limited track record. While we believe it has a good chance of moving significant money to our recommendations, we also believe it has a significant risk of failure.
  • We believe that one of the main paths through which OFTW may have impact is by introducing students to effective giving who eventually give very large donations in the future. We are uncertain about the extent to which donors who learn about GiveWell through OFTW will remain connected to GiveWell and our recommended charities over a long period of time.
  • Mr. Lewars, OFTW's new executive director, has a limited track record. Running OFTW represents a new challenge for him.

Plans for follow-up

In the short term, one metric we plan to use to evaluate OFTW's success is whether its activities counterfactually cause our top charities to receive more money than we spend supporting it. OFTW has predicted that it will be moving more money annually to GiveWell top charities than it spends in budget by the end of the 2019-20 academic year, and be moving more than twice its budget to top charities by the end of the 2021-22 academic year.7 We plan to use the ratio between OFTW's budget and money moved as a way to assess in the near-term whether OFTW seems generally on track to becoming a sustainable, cost-effective mechanism for moving money to top charities.

In the longer term, we expect that most of OFTW's impact will come from students and young professionals who take its pledge early in their careers earning significantly more later in their careers, allowing them to increase their donations by a large amount.

Internal forecasts

For this grant, we are recording the following forecasts:

Confidence Prediction By time
GiveWell makes a grant to OFTW next year. 85% End of 2020
OFTW moves more money to GiveWell top charities than it receives in support from GiveWell by the end of the 2019-20 academic year. 67% June 2020
OFTW moves at least twice as much money to GiveWell top charities as it receives in support from GiveWell by the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. 40% June 2022

Relationship disclosures

Stephanie Stojanovic, GiveWell's Major Gifts Officer, is married to Steve Hind, Chair of OFTW's Advisory Board and Executive Committee.

A member of OFTW's Executive Committee, Rossa O'Keeffe-O'Donovan, worked with GiveWell as a contractor in 2017.


Document Source
OFTW, Funding pitch, July 2019 Source
OFTW, Overall financial model Source
OFTW website, Chapter Search Source (archive)