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How the Giving 10% Pledge Changed Rutger Bregman’s Life for the Good – and How You Can Help Change the World

Discover how the Giving 10% Pledge transformed Rutger Bregman’s life for the better, and learn how you can join this impactful movement to help change the world. Watch the inspiring video featuring Rutger Bregman at the top of this article, then dive into the detailed narrative below to see how effective giving can make a significant difference.

From Skeptic to Advocate: Rutger Bregman’s Journey

Hi, I’m Michiel de Gooijer, the founder of BrightVibes. Like many people, I was once skeptical about the impact of charity. Rutger Bregman, historian and bestselling author, shared similar sentiments. “I thought, you know, most charities are probably not going to make a difference. It’s just treating symptoms,” he confesses. However, his perspective shifted dramatically in 2020 when he discovered the organization Giving What We Can. And so did mine.

Giving What We Can (GWWC) is a global community that encourages people to donate a portion of their income to highly effective charities. Their mission is to create a culture where giving 10% of one’s income is a cultural norm. Bregman found that this organization provided rigorous research and compelling evidence about the efficacy of certain charities, which helped him see the true potential of effective giving.

“I became a happier person. I think that the potential of effective giving is really enormous. It’s one of the most significant things you can do with your life,”

says Bregman. This realization led him to take the 10% Pledge, a commitment to donate at least 10% of his income to effective causes for the rest of his life.

The 10% Pledge: A Powerful Commitment to Change

The 10% Pledge is a straightforward yet powerful commitment: individuals pledge to donate 10% of their income to effective charities. Bregman emphasizes that this commitment doesn’t have to be daunting. He suggests starting with a smaller percentage, such as 1%, and gradually increasing it as you become more comfortable with the practice. This incremental approach allows individuals to experience the joy and satisfaction of giving, which often motivates them to give more over time.

Bregman highlights the importance of effective giving, noting that some charities are exponentially more effective than others. By focusing on these high-impact organizations, donors can ensure their contributions make a significant difference.

“So some charities are not two times or three times as effective as others but more like 100,”

he explains. Interventions like providing insecticide-treated bed nets can save lives at a relatively low cost, making it a highly effective use of donated funds.

 The Role of Giving What We Can

Bregman envisions a world where giving 10% of one’s income becomes as routine as brushing your teeth or voting. He believes that if more people adopted this practice, it could lead to substantial positive changes globally. Effective giving addresses some of the most pressing issues, such as extreme poverty, climate change, and public health crises like malaria and tuberculosis.

One of the key points Bregman stresses is that effective giving should not be limited to the wealthy. He points out that individuals with median incomes in wealthy countries are already among the richest in the world and can afford to give a portion of their income without significantly impacting their quality of life. “If you have a median wage in a rich country, you’re already part of the richest 3.5% in the world,” he notes.

This movement is about collective action from ordinary people, not just millionaires and billionaires. Bregman states,

“This is a movement of just middle-class people. If you have a median wage in a rich country, you’re already part of the richest 3.5% in the world.”

Making Giving a Cultural Norm

Taking the 10% Pledge can seem daunting, but GWWC offers resources and support to make it manageable. The organization provides a How Rich Am I? Calculator that helps individuals understand their relative wealth and capacity to give. This tool can be a powerful motivator, showing people that they can make a significant impact without compromising their financial stability.

Additionally, GWWC offers detailed research on the most effective charities. This research helps donors ensure their money is used in the most impactful way possible. Bregman appreciates this approach, stating, “If you do the research, if you look at the evidence that has been collected by organizations like Giving What We Can, you actually start getting really hopeful.”

For those who are not yet in a position to commit to the full 10%, GWWC offers the Trial Pledge. This allows individuals to start by donating 1% of their income, with the option to increase it gradually. This trial approach provides a manageable way to begin the journey of effective giving. Personally, I have taken the Trial Pledge with the intention to take the full 10% Pledge in the future.

The Importance of Paying Taxes First

While effective giving can make a significant difference, it’s crucial to emphasize that paying taxes is a fundamental responsibility for everyone, especially the very rich. Charity should never be used as an excuse or substitute for paying taxes.

Taxes fund essential public services and infrastructure that benefit society as a whole. Bregman, who is openly skeptical of billionaires’ philanthropy when it serves as a diversion from their tax responsibilities, underscores the importance of addressing systemic issues through proper taxation.

 The Broader Impact of Effective Giving

Effective giving doesn’t just benefit those who receive the aid; it also enriches the lives of the givers. Bregman describes the personal satisfaction and happiness he has gained from knowing his money is making a real difference. “It’s a situation where you’re actually gaining something after taking the pledge because it just feels so good to know that this money that I didn’t waste it,” he explains.

He also highlights the communal aspect of effective giving, noting that it can inspire others to join the movement. “I was inspired by others to start donating. So I think that doing good and giving effectively could be a contagious habit,” he says.

Join the Movement: Take the 10% Pledge

Taking the 10% Pledge is more than just a financial commitment; it’s a step towards a more meaningful and fulfilling life. By donating to highly effective charities, you are investing in a better future for everyone.

To learn more about the 10% Pledge and how you can make a significant impact, visit Giving What We Can. Consider starting with a trial pledge and experience firsthand the transformative power of effective giving.

If you want to learn more about Rutger Bregman’s best seller ‘Human kind, a hopeful history’, make sure to watch our exclusive interview with Rutger.

Written by Michiel de Gooijer, founder of BrightVibes. I am not in the financial position to pledge 10% of my income, but I am fully supportive of the idea and that is why I have taken the Trial Pledge, with the intention to take the 10% Pledge at a later stage.

Take The 10% Pledge Or Trial Pledge

To learn more about the 10% Pledge and how you can make a significant impact, visit Giving What We Can. Consider starting with a trial pledge and experience firsthand the transformative power of effective giving.

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