Episode 36 - Effective Altruism - An Interview with Eric Freidman, Author of Reinventing Philanthropy

Eric Freidman Picture.jpg

The challenge we face:

Donors are becoming more sophisticated when it comes to charitable giving. One philosophy and social movement around philanthropy is effective altruism. Through effective altruism donors try to determine and support nonprofits that combine the most effective and cost efficient programming to impact our world. Fundraising professionals and nonprofit leaders need to be aware of this growing attitude toward funding nonprofits and ensure that our interactions with donors communicates clearly the value proposition of our organization.



In this episode we’ll discuss:

  • Effective altruism’s approach to thinking about charitable giving and philanthropy

  • How the approach fundraisers take to donors might be affected by effective altruism

  • Does your fundraising communication plan need to change to address new questions about effectiveness that go beyond concerns about the cost of overhead?

  • How donors interested in effective altruism may change their donation habits over time

  • Can fundraising be one of the ten most harmful jobs on earth?

  • How effective altruism considers both effectiveness and cost effectiveness of your programs

  • Whether nonprofit fundraisers need to consider the effectiveness of their nonprofit in deciding if their work lives up to their own ethical standards and desires

  • How effective altruism shifts the focus from storytelling to research around nonprofits

  • What mindsets are needed for a donor to employ an effective altruism approach to their charitable giving

How you can make your voice heard!

There will be two polls in the Philanthropy Podcast Facebook group this week. The questions we’re asking are:

  1. Do you believe that fundraising for a below-average nonprofit qualifies as one of the ten most hurtful jobs? I invite you to leave your own opinion in the comments of that poll.
  2. Have you noticed the ideas behind Effective Altruism impacting the behavior of your donors?

You can join our Philanthropy Podcast Facebook Group to share ideas, get advice, and simply enjoy the company of other listeners.

Learn more about this episode’s guest, Eric Freidman:

Eric Friedman is an individual donor who has spent several years trying to understand how to maximize the impact of his giving, including traveling to Africa to see his giving in action. He is an actuary and graduated from Stanford University with majors in mathematics and economics.


  1. The Philanthropy Podcast Facebook Group

  2. The Philanthropy Podcast on Twitter

  3. The Philanthropy Podcast on Instagram

  4. The Philanthropy Podcast Listener Survey

  5. Reinventing Philanthropy: A Framework for More Effective Giving by Eric Freidman (Book)

  6. Reinventing Philanthropy Website

  7. Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Help Others, Do Work that Matters, and Make Smarter Choices about Giving Back by William MacAskill

  8. GiveWell

  9. The Ten Most Harmful Jobs - on 80,000 Hours Website by Robert Wiblin

  10. Follow The Philanthropy Podcast on: