The effective altruism movement began with a pledge. A few dozen people gathered in a house and promised to donate at least 10% of their income to highly effective charities, for the rest of their lives.
Since then, more than 8,000 people have taken one of the following pledges:
- The original Giving What We Can Pledge — 10% of lifetime income, or 1% of spending money for students and the unemployed.
- Try Giving, a temporary commitment for those who want to test the waters before taking a lifetime pledge.
- The Founders Pledge, for startup founders who promise to donate a percentage of the proceeds when they succeed, even if they can't afford to give much before then.
Taking a pledge lets you make a serious commitment to improving the world through your donations. By declaring your intention to give, and joining a community of others who've done the same, you can make altruism a deeper part of your identity, and strengthen the EA movement as a whole.
However, a pledge is a major decision, and it won't make sense for everyone:
- You might choose to prioritize financial security, so that you can be more flexible in your career and make a bigger impact that way.
- You might choose to give later in life, once you've taken more time to consider your values and research your options.
- You also might decide that a pledge just isn't a good fit, for any number of reasons — and that's totally fine. (Many dedicated members of the EA community haven't taken a pledge.)