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September 11, 2015

Opinion: Lucrative Job Might Be Best Route to Social Impact

A leader of a nonprofit group that advocates "earning to give" argues in a Washington Post column that people who pursue high-paying careers so as to donate a significant portion of their income to charity can do more good in the world than those working for a nonprofit directly.

William MacAskill is the co-founder of 80,000 Hours, which urges socially motivated young people to consider lucrative career paths to give the means to give, and a major figure in the "effective altruism" movement. He cites the example of a 27-year-old Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate who went into finance and now donates half of his earnings.

Those who make a similar choice "often earn enough to pay for several charity workers, thereby doing several times as much good as you could have done by becoming one yourself," and have greater flexibility to help the most effective nonprofits and adopt new causes, Mr. MacAskill writes.

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy opinion piece by William MacAskill.