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Global Poverty and Charitable Giving

Best Charities for Combating Global Poverty


There are so many places to put your charitable dollars today. But it is harder than ever to discern where your donation will do the most good.

Peter Singer, author of The Life You Can Save and a bioethicist at Princeton University, suggests we channel our charitable giving to combat global poverty. Singer also expects nonprofits to measure their effectiveness by the actual difference they make.

Singer thinks these organizations have done just that. (See more at Singer's website.)

Oxfam International

Oxfam is really thirteen organizations that work across the globe on issues ranging from poverty to the environment. To donate, you will need to go to your country's Oxfam site (here is a list of country links). There is also a wonderful catalog, Oxfam Unwrapped, that you can use to gift others with a donation.

Global Giving

Global Giving is not specific to global poverty, but you can give to individual projects by topic (animals to technology) and by world region (Africa to the Caribbean). There is a huge range of projects, each of which gives the donor the feeling of helping someone quite specific. Plus there are as many ways to give and levels of giving as one can think of. The only problem with using this site is just making up your mind.

Fistula Foundation

Fistulas are terrible obstetric injuries that often afflict young women in poor countries. They can be repaired easily and cheaply with proper surgical techniques. This organization supports work done by Catherine Hamlin in Ethiopia in addressing this terrible problem.

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)

Population growth is at the heart of global poverty. This organization is working around the globe to reduce population growth through birth control and education.

Population Services International (PSI)

PSI focuses on the distribution of bed nets and condoms in Third World countries where HIV/AIDS and malaria are potent threats to the well-being of at-risk populations. Most recently, the NGO has been working on circumcision as a way to prevent HIV/AIDs with the help of a huge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

We know this organization best through U2 rock star Bono's work. You can give directly to the organization, buy (red) products, where a part of your purchase goes to support The Global Fund, or join the ONE movement, which advocates and supports activists working to eradicate preventable diseases, especially in Africa.

Partners In Health

Paul Farmer, chairman of Harvard Medical School's Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and currently on the Obama's administration's list of people the head of USAID, founded this organization in the 1980's to provide healthcare in Haiti. Dr. Farmer has been a leader in global healthcare for the poor. PIH now works in many countries to provide affordable clinics.

Millennium Promise

Supports the U.N. Millennium Development Goals to cut in half extreme poverty in Africa by 2015. This organization's flagship project is the Millennium Villages, operating across sub-Saharan Africa, that take a comprehensive approach to poverty. Formerly led by Jeffrey D. Sachs, author of The End of Poverty, and head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.


Long a leader in its focus on children, UNICEF continues to work on a myriad of fronts across the globe to improve the lives of children. UNICEF is part of the United Nations and thus has access to countries unlike any other organization.

Namlo International

Founded in 1999, Namlo International was started by Magda King, the first woman from Spain to reach the summit of an 8000m peak. In appreciation for the help she received from the Sherpa people during her expeditions, she wanted to give something back and chose education as the best gift. Today, Namlo works with schools in Nepal and Nicaragua. Education is a wonderful way to combat global poverty. Namlo also offers volunteer travel to people who would like to help in person.


GiveWell is looking for effective charities. Founded by two Wall Street veterans, the organization is developing ways to measure that effectiveness and pick charities that fulfill their requirements. Those requirements go beyond the typical measures of financial efficiency. The organization's research into effectiveness is ground breaking and may change the way we think about charity. A great way to give with peace of mind. Just pick a one of the GiveWell causes.
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