Core lessons learned from two donation workshops (Giving Game Events) allocating ~€50k with groups of 10-15 people over 1-3 days:

  • Charity Portfolios Over Single Choices: If you allocate a lot of money between charities I encourage the use of portfolios instead of single choices. This approach made it easier to change minds and allow participants to accommodate their personal preferences.
  • You can actually change people’s minds: Almost everyone moved at least 20% of their portfolio to a different organization during the event, many changed 50% or more across sectors. 
  • Charity Assessment is hard: Charities should make it easier for donors to assess them by providing summarized yearly reports with quantified theories of change, but also very concrete and up-to-date funding needs for projects.
  • Tax Deductibility: This was a major issue, but we managed to mitigate some problems via donation swaps (I applaud organizations like Effektiv Spenden for expanding the ability to donate to charities worldwide from Germany.)


Recommendations if you want to set-up a Giving Game yourself:

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Giving What We Can is also happy to sponsor donations for participants who'd like to do a giving game! Generally $10 or $20 for each adult! More info:


Try to include people knowledgeable about different donating areas.

As a participant I can say this was extremely helpful. It allowed us as a group to get up to speed in different areas quickly and to make sure we are informed about any relevant and current events (in those areas).

and games like the Trolley Problem card game are highly recommended.

+++1 ;)

One thing to add here (also highly recommended): Have a fantastic host such as Max!

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