“We want to teach our children how to manage their money well, even if they have plenty of it.”

Maartje ter Horst | 13-11-2023

About seven years ago, Dave Sanders (47) founded his company that helps large companies manage their sales data. Quite quickly, the venture proved successful. Dave says – “Naturally that was fantastic news and very satisfying on the financial side. At the same time, I was looking to make a broader impact. My data and reporting don’t necessarily make the world a better place to live in, nor do they make it worse. But, I thought, how nice would it be to be able to do something useful for the world with the money I have earned?”

Dave lives in Zeist with his wife Marieke (44), a psychologist, and their three school-going children, ages 15, 13 and 11. They have been donating with Doneer Effectief for about four years now. Marieke: “We both feel that we have it good financially. A logical next step is to think more about what you can do for others. Credit where credit is due, Dave was really the one who kick-started our charitable giving” Dave smiles shyly. “Having children made an impact on me that affected my relationship with donating. It makes you look at the world and the future differently.”

In search of effectiveness

Next, the question arises of how to give, and, more importantly, where are you going to give? Dave: “I found that decision very difficult. I had no immediate affinity for a specific cause or problem area. How does one choose among the thousands of causes that exist?”

Dave cites the Belgian podcast “Kritisch Denken” with philosopher Stijn Bruers as the inspiration for his ideas. He says: “In that episode, Bruers talked about the world of Effective Altruism. Hearing about the analytical way of looking at charities and their effectiveness resonated with me – I could do with some of that! Soon after, I decided to give 10% of my sales to effective causes. It was quite a challenge to figure the effective part out because I hadn’t yet discovered Doneer Effectief!” says Dave, laughing. “It was a great adventure though; you feel kind of like a pioneer. Following GiveWell’s analysis, I chose the Against Malaria Foundation as the first charity I gave to. Quite quickly I was emailing with an English organization making arrangements – that felt quite special.”

Dave was not shy with his enthusiasm for effective giving. “I came across an estimate that it costs 4,000 to 5,000 euros to save a human life. Then, I sent an e-mail to all my clients explaining that I would be making a donation to the Against Malaria Foundation instead of spending the money on the usual corporate gift that year. And, with every twenty new users of our system over the coming year, we were going to save one life.”

Becoming acquainted with Doneer Effectief

It is now four years since Dave first came across the Doneer Effectief website during his annual search for the following year’s goals. Dave: “I emailed Andrea, the founder, to find out if I liked the organization. I noticed in the follow-up phone conversation that Doneer Effectief was conducting a thorough investigation into the things I was previously trying to figure out on my own. I concluded that Doneer Effectief are much more capable of determining where donated funds can have the most potential for good. They have the time and knowledge to figure it out. On top of that, the personal approach and complete transparency makes them a trustworthy organization, in my opinion. Therefore, I am happy to entrust them with my effective donations.”

Giving as a family

So far, this seems like Dave’s solo project. What about the rest of the family? Marieke explains: “Well, Dave did really push it at the start. At some point he got all of us involved. We now have the annual sit-down moment in December to answer the question: what causes are we going to give to in the coming year?”

Dave: “Around the same time I discovered Doneer Effectief, my middle son, who was then 9 years old, was very focused on the issue of climate change. I thought it would be a valuable lesson to show my children that with thoughtful donations you can really contribute to a better world. We came up with the plan that each of our children could allocate 10% of the total funds we set aside for donations to a cause close to their heart. This was something that Doneer Effectief made possible through their website. It’s no good setting your children loose on the internet after telling them “just find a cause that you care about and that also is as effective as possible!” – I remember how difficult I found that task myself.” Dave is delighted that it has now become a family activity: “It’s not as if the kids are painstakingly studying every cause, but I think it’s a good way to start a conversation about the problems facing our world today. I hope to convey to them that if they are fortunate enough to have the means to donate later in life, it’s not enough to simply be a member of WWF and donate tens of euros. We want equip them to handle their money well – not just when money is tight, but also when it isn’t.”

Orange cross