Oxford University Fellow Toby Ord recently gave a Google Tech Talk called "How Many Lives Can You Save? -- Taking Charity Seriously". Google has now made the talk available for all to watch via YouTube.
It's about an hour long, so set aside a bit of time before you begin your viewing.
Here's the abstract:
People admire doctors and rescue workers and marvel at the possibility of saving someone's life -- something that few of us would ever achieve. And yet at the same time, we routinely hear that for a small sum of money we could save someone's life in a developing country and this scarcely impacts our behaviour. There is an important disconnect between these two attitudes and it has serious moral implications. I will speak about the evidence which shows that we really can make a tremendous difference by giving, and then explore the moral case for giving much more than we typically do. I will then look at the great disparity in effectiveness between different charities and show how choosing *where* to give can be even more important than the decision to give in the first place.