How to talk about giving to charity without it getting awkward

We know talking to friends and family about donating to charity can be delicate – you don’t want to come off as holier-than-thou. However, you can multiply your impact by talking to people who might be interested in learning more.

Here’s an example of an email you can send to 3 people who you think would be interested in giving more effectively:

Hey [Name], I recently started giving to this charity called GiveDirectly that I’m really excited about, and thought you might also be interested. GiveDirectly lets you send money directly to people living in poverty, which them can use for whatever they need most. With other charities, organizations are often guessing what people in poverty need (livestock, job training, clothing, etc.) rather than letting them decide themselves. Giving directly is giving the dignity to choose.

They’ve run over a dozen studies on their work and found giving money really works. You should consider giving through them as well. If you want to talk more about this, let me know.

A few tips that might be helpful to think about as you’re talking to friends and family:

1. Make the conversation about people experiencing poverty

If it feels awkward to talk about your own contributions, you can focus on how people living in poverty view cash donations. Sharing perspectives from people like Eunice, who prefer cash transfers to other forms of aid, can help center the discussion on people experiencing poverty and their needs, rather than the viewpoints of donors.

2. Propose donating directly in addition to personal causes

Many people feel strongly about donating to local causes and organizations that they feel personally connected to, and could be sensitive to critique that this might be an ineffective use of money. They might be more likely to donate money to people poverty if it’s framed as an additional worthy cause, rather than something to replace their current giving.

3. Share info about specific programs

Your mom might feel most connected to our program supporting disaster relief in the U.S., while your friend may be more likely to donate to fund refugees. A specific program might be the best entry point for certain people in your life to learn more about GiveDirectly.