This YouTube video has made £13 million for charity

Cambridge students who made a new year's resolution to give 10 per cent of their future earnings to charity have inspired at least 100 others to do the same - and raised an estimated £13 million in pledges for charity.

Third-year history student Luke Illott produced a video with his medical student friend Ravi Patel pledging to give up 10 per cent of his future salary to charity in a mock wedding ceremony.

The idea was inspired by Giving What We Can (GWWC), a charity set up by Oxford philosopher Dr Toby Ord, which aims to build a community of people committed to giving a proportion of their salary to the most cost effective charities in an attempt to eradicate poverty.

The students' campaign helped GWWC triple their monthly record of new members, raising millions. A further 500 people have signed up to a Facebook event pledging to sign up by the end of this week.

As for whether the people behind the campaign will actually do it? Speaking to, Mr Ilott said he was confident, explaining: "I could spend 50p buying a Twix or I could spend 50p helping fund medicine for a tropical disease. I just don't need it as much."

We've got people from across America and Europe signing up. This is young people deciding they've had enough of deciding to give up chips as a new year's resolution and actually they could make a hell of a lot more difference with this altruism.

  • Luke Ilott

Mr Patel, 21, believes making the pledge while they are students without a salary will help them fulfil it. "If you do it from the start it's easier to stomach, it's not something you'll miss if you haven't had it. It's a lot more difficult to ask that of someone who is already earning."

He added that 10 per cent is just a figure used for the pledge - people can donate more or less.

A spokesperson for GWWC told the "vast majority" of their members comfortably fulfilled the pledges, adding: "In general, I think that members find it encouraging to know that they are part of a wider community who are taking similar actions, with a shared goal."

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