List of possible EA meta-charities and projects

Introduction

There are many pos­si­ble pro­jects and or­gani­sa­tions that could en­able oth­ers to do more good. Only a few of them ex­ist in re­al­ity at the mo­ment. It’s easy to think that some ideas are bad just be­cause cur­rent or­gani­sa­tions haven’t im­ple­mented them. But it could be that many good ideas are not im­ple­mented sim­ply due to a lack of ca­pac­ity, or be­cause the right per­son hasn’t heard the right idea. That said, we should also be aware of the unilat­er­al­ist curse and be care­ful not to im­ple­ment ideas that many peo­ple think could be harm­ful.

To help peo­ple de­cide which EA meta-char­i­ties to found, we cre­ated a list of all the pos­si­ble op­tions we could think of. The list is a re­sult of 5 peo­ple (David Nash, Jamie Har­ris, Nuzhat Jabinh, Sa­muel Hil­ton, and Saulius Šimčikas) brain­storm­ing for a cou­ple of hours in an event or­ganised by Sa­muel Hil­ton. We later found out that a similar list was cre­ated dur­ing EA Sum­mit. I merged the ideas for meta-char­i­ties from the EA Sum­mit’s list to our list be­low. Note that the EA Sum­mit’s list also con­tains ideas for re­search and non-meta-char­i­ties that were not merged into the list be­low. You can see our list with­out the ideas from EA Sum­mit here.

Similar lists of ideas for EA char­i­ties and pro­jects in­clude:

Please com­ment about other ideas for meta-char­i­ties and pro­jects that you have, and tell which ideas you are most ex­cited about.

Careers

80,000 Hours is the only EA or­gani­sa­tion (that I know of) that is fo­cus­ing on ca­reers. How­ever, they are a small team and they are not do­ing ev­ery­thing that could be done in this vast space.

  • An or­gani­sa­tion solely fo­cused on run­ning ca­reer workshops

  • One on one ca­reer consulting

  • Provide re­cruit­ment sup­port for high-im­pact pro­jects
    “One con­stant bot­tle­neck for high-im­pact pro­jects is re­cruit­ing ex­cel­lent peo­ple. Plus, each high-im­pact pro­ject must dis­cover on its own how to source promis­ing can­di­dates for jobs re­sult­ing in du­pli­ca­tion of effort. A pro­ject that dis­cov­ered the tools of the best re­cruiters and helped high-im­pact pro­jects re­cruit tal­ented peo­ple might be es­pe­cially valuable.” (by Kerry Vaughan)

  • Re­search on what ca­reers to go into:

    • Best ca­reers if you are not fo­cused on the far future

    • Best ca­reers for those who are finish­ing a PhD

    • How to de­cide what to study

    • Ca­reer de­ci­sions for peo­ple part way through ca­reers –
      For ex­am­ple, com­par­ing switch­ing costs and benefits like loss of ca­reer cap­i­tal, lev­er­ag­ing your ex­ist­ing skills, etc.

  • Re­search on how to do good once you are work­ing in:

    • Poli­cy
      HIPE does it in UK but it could be done in other countries

    • Politics

    • Finance

    • Academia

    • Military

    • Etc

  • Effec­tive the­sis, but higher up the aca­demic chain

  • Con­vince col­lege ca­reer coun­sel­lors to dis­tribute 80,000 Hours ma­te­ri­als to in­ter­ested stu­dents (by EA Sum­mit Team)

  • An org that spe­cial­ises in helping peo­ple with ca­reers in one cause area (e.g. global health/​poverty)

  • A cause pri­ori­ti­sa­tion re­search camp (similar to AI safety camp)

  • Re­cruit and train AI-safety re­searchers
    ”One bot­tle­neck on the work done by AI-safety groups like MIRI is the difficulty of find­ing math­e­mat­i­ci­ans and com­puter sci­en­tists suited to the task. Pro­jects that in­creased the num­ber of re­searchers available for this work would there­fore am­plify the work done across the en­tire field.” (by Kerry Vaughan)

    • Run an ex­is­ten­tial risk work­shop
      For ex­am­ple, MIRIx work­shops. (by Evan Gaens­bauer)

    • Create AI Safety course (or other EA ed­u­ca­tion course) study groups
      ”An EA group leader/​or­ga­nize, ei­ther with a lo­cal group or on­line, could lead a study group for, for ex­am­ple, the ‘Road to AI Safety Ex­cel­lence’ on­line course put out by EA Ned­er­lands: http://​​aisafety.camp/​​study-group/​​.” (by Evan Gaens­bauer)

Helping char­i­ties/​organisations

  • Ser­vices for charities

    • (Free) ser­vice that helps make char­i­ties more trans­par­ent
      e.g. soft­ware that makes it easy for char­i­ties to show all the in­com­ing dona­tions, spend­ing, fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion etc. Some in­spira­tion can be taken from AMF web­site. This would make it eas­ier for peo­ple to trust and eval­u­ate char­i­ties.

    • Char­ity au­di­tor that as­sess effec­tive­ness as part of the process

    • Sys­tem for ‘in­dus­try self-reg­u­la­tion’ of the char­ity sector

  • EA or­gani­sa­tion au­di­tor
    An in­de­pen­dent or­gani­sa­tion that pro­vides an au­dit ser­vice to EA orgs to offer an ex­ter­nal eval­u­a­tion on how effec­tive they are and other things. Alter­na­tively, EA self-reg­u­la­tor.

  • Char­ity in­cu­ba­tor
    Char­ity En­trepreneur­ship is great but they only tackle one cause area ev­ery year. If we want many new or­gani­sa­tions to be cre­ated in many cause ar­eas (e.g. meta, far fu­ture, men­tal health, cli­mate change, biose­cu­rity, nu­clear se­cu­rity, etc.), we may want to have an­other similar or­gani­sa­tion.

  • EA odd job team

  • Diver­sity: like En­com­pass but for EA
    En­com­pass pro­motes di­ver­sity among an­i­mal rights or­gani­sa­tions, could have some­thing similar in EA.

  • Con­sult­ing to:

    • Foun­da­tions
      ”While most dona­tions come from in­di­vi­d­u­als, the largest con­cen­tra­tion of dona­tions comes from large foun­da­tions. An or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides ad­vi­sory ser­vices to foun­da­tions, es­pe­cially to foun­da­tions that are be­ing cre­ated might be es­pe­cially high im­pact.” (by Kerry Vaughan)

    • Com­pa­nies
      to im­prove their cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­grammes or volunteering

    • Char­i­ties and other or­gani­sa­tions that want to do good directly

      • How to be­come more transparent

      • How to self-eval­u­ate effectiveness

      • How to demon­strate the effec­tive­ness and raise funds from the EA community

  • Create an EA pro­jects ad­vice group
    ”Create a Face­book group or google email list where peo­ple do brief write­ups of new EA pro­jects they plan to work on and/​or EA re­lated life or ca­reer plans and oth­ers give feed­back on how those pro­ject plans could be im­proved” (by Spencer Green­berg)

  • A vet­ting sys­tem for pro­ject ideas
    A sys­tem where some­one could sub­mit an idea out there and EAs (even­tu­ally in­clud­ing those who are very in­volved in EA) add their thoughts and con­sid­er­a­tions. It would help to avoid the unilat­er­al­ist curse and could help promis­ing pro­jects with fund­ing by show­ing po­ten­tial fun­ders that well-known EAs are ex­cited about the pro­ject. Face­book pages have the ca­pac­ity for brain­storm­ing and dis­cus­sion, but may be in­effi­cient, and may not always have the peo­ple we most want weigh­ing in on the dis­cus­sions (by Cather­ine Low).

Coordination

  • Co­or­di­na­tion for EA re­searcher­s
    Many or­gani­sa­tions want many things to be re­searched and many peo­ple would like to try out EA re­search to see if that’s a ca­reer op­tion for them. What is more, it’s difficult to know who is work­ing on what at any given time, which makes it likely for two re­searchers to work on the same topic with­out know­ing about each other. I wrote about prob­lems and pos­si­ble solu­tions in more de­tail here.

  • Vol­un­teer coordination

    • Pro bono time coordination

    • Re­source provision

    • Mentoring

  • EA orgs coordinator

    • Like In­sti­tute of Direc­tors but for EA
      offer­ing sup­port and re­source shar­ing and train­ing and en­sur­ing EA views are taken into ac­count when the gov­ern­ment is re­view­ing policy or seek­ing opinions.

  • Im­prov­ing Fund­ing for In­di­vi­d­ual EAs, EA Pro­jects, and New EA Or­ga­ni­za­tions (click the link to see ideas about how to do it)

  • Fund­ing re­dis­trib­u­tors within spe­cific field­s
    Like EA grants or EA funds but more specific

  • More post-im­pact fund­ing pro­vi­sion (e.g. cer­tifi­cates of im­pact)

  • EA ex­per­tise board
    e.g. if you would need to speak to a cli­mate change ex­pert who is also an EA, you could find it there

  • Co­or­di­na­tion of spe­cific fields where net­work­ing is use­ful
    Cur­rently, it’s done on Face­book but it’s not optimal

Soft­ware platforms

  • Build a plat­form to match pro­jects with peo­ple who can do them
    (by Florent Ber­thet as part of Tech Ini­ti­a­tives)

  • Build un­tapt.com (con­nects qual­ified ap­pli­cants to com­pa­nies build­ing great teams and great prod­ucts) for non­prof­its
    (by Michal Trzes­imiech as part of Tech Ini­ti­a­tives)

  • Make an X-risks map­ping plat­form
    “To list the cur­rent ex­is­ten­tial risk or­gani­sa­tions (and their needs), prob­a­bil­ity es­ti­mates for each risk, pa­pers and dis­cus­sions” (by Florent Ber­thet as part of Tech Ini­ti­a­tives)

  • Build a plat­form or ser­vice to match EA men­tors and mentees for coach­ing/​ad­vice via video calls
    ”Fo­cus on men­tal health /​ pro­duc­tivity for peo­ple already fa­mil­iar with EA and provide ca­reer /​ dona­tion ad­vice for new­com­ers. Ba­si­cally scale up http://​​effec­tivealtru­ism­coach­ing.com/​​ based on soft­ware that al­lows men­tors/​coaches to al­lo­cate times­lots and let mentees book times­lots. <cal­endly.com> + jitsi + X.” (by Jan Kul­veit as part of Tech Ini­ti­a­tives)

  • Con­soli­date EA wiki con­tent
    ”Ne­go­ti­ate with the var­i­ous EA wikis to con­soli­date their con­tent onto one site. Make sure you in­volve top re­searchers (e.g. at Open­phil, 80k, FHI).” (by Max Dal­ton)

  • Peer to peer fund­ing platform

  • EA de­ci­sion mak­ing tools and app­s
    Be­cause nu­anced EA can look difficult (start with a deep un­der­stand­ing of ethics, etc…). It can also look dic­ta­to­rial (AI is the true an­swer, etc… ). E.g. How to de­cide on causes

Spread­ing EA ideas

  • Or­gani­sa­tion/​per­son solely fo­cused on giv­ing in­tro­duc­tory EA talks

  • EA out­reach to

    • Differ­ent demographics

      • Muslims

      • Se­niors /​ Re­tirees

      • Other cul­tures /​ countries

    • Niche com­mu­ni­ties
      Rais­ing for Effec­tive Giv­ing has had suc­cess tar­get­ing a par­tic­u­lar niche mar­ket (poker play­ers) who are likely to be re­cep­tive to ar­gu­ments for effec­tive giv­ing. There may be promis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­velop similar pro­jects tar­get­ing niche groups.” (by Kerry Vaughan)

      • Ma­chine learn­ing students

      • Scien­tists in rele­vant fields

      • Crypto com­mu­nity

      • Etc.

    • Cor­po­rate giv­ing officers
      “In the US 72% of giv­ing ($241B) comes from in­di­vi­d­u­als, yet since the av­er­age house­hold only donates around $3,000, out­reach on a house­hold-by-house­hold ba­sis may not be as cost effec­tive as other op­tions. It may be pos­si­ble to cir­cum­vent this prob­lem by work­ing with cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity officers at large cor­po­ra­tions to en­courage them to ad­vo­cate for effec­tive char­i­ties at their com­pa­nies. This would provide a way to in­fluence many donors with­out need­ing to en­gage in out­reach to each in­di­vi­d­ual.” (by Kerry Vaughan)

  • An or­gani­sa­tion that sells/​out­reaches cause prioritisation

  • Effec­tive in­her­i­tance
    There are peo­ple look­ing to start this. There is also a non-EA or­gani­sa­tion that con­nects heirs.

  • PR agency for EA

  • Helping with EA work­place ac­tivism (as­sist­ing peo­ple to or­ganise events, etc.)

Helping EAs

  • Mak­ing EA con­tent more accessible

    • Cen­tral re­source di­rec­tory of EA ma­te­ri­als
      Many im­por­tant ideas are in blog posts spread around in mul­ti­ple web­sites, with lit­tle cat­e­gori­sa­tion. It’s not easy to find ev­ery­thing re­lated to cer­tain topic, es­pe­cially for new­com­ers. A fre­quently up­dated re­source di­rec­tory could help to solve the prob­lem. At­tempts to or­ganise ideas in­clude EA Con­cepts and EA hub’s re­sources for move­ment builders, www.pri­or­ity.wiki. Similar pro­jects could be done for more top­ics and even­tu­ally ,there could be a di­rec­tory of di­rec­to­ries.

    • Sum­maris­ing of on­line dis­cus­sion­s
      Many good points are made in Face­book and fo­rum com­ments but are not read by most EAs and are not pre­sented in an ac­cessible way.

    • EA in­sider newslet­ter with more ad­vanced ma­te­ri­als
      It could in­clude a pos­si­bil­ity to filter what kind of top­ics do you want to be in­cluded in the emails you re­ceive. Alter­na­tively, there could be cause-spe­cific EA mailing lists. For ex­am­ple, B.C.T.S mailing list sum­ma­rizes news in Effec­tive An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy.

    • Mak­ing ra­tio­nal­ity more ac­cessible
      Lots of ra­tio­nal­ity tech­niques and ideas are not writ­ten up in an eas­ily un­der­stand­able and con­cise man­ner. There should be some­thing much shorter and more prac­ti­cal than Ra­tion­al­ity: From AI to Zom­bies that new­com­ers could be linked to.

  • More EA ho­tels
    Although be­fore found­ing new ho­tels, we may want to fund the ex­ist­ing one.

  • Or­gani­sa­tion to sup­port peo­ple in the EA com­mu­nity with men­tal health
    Many EAs have re­ported they would want to talk to a be­spoke EA ther­a­pist rather than a stan­dard therapist

  • More EA co-work­ing and com­mu­nity hubs like REACH.

  • Tu­tors for EA students

  • Pro­fes­sional train­ing for EA
    Guide peo­ple to­wards un­der­stand­ing im­pact and sup­ports peo­ple in­ter­ested in so­cial en­ter­prise, char­ity en­trepreneur­ship or even earn­ing to give effec­tively. (Maybe like Year Here but for EAs)

  • Build bet­ter long-term com­mit­ment-main­te­nance and dona­tion track­ing tools for fol­low­ing up with peo­ple who have taken the GWWC Pledge
    ”I worry that a lot of po­ten­tial may be lost when peo­ple move from the cities in which they first en­gaged with EA.” (by Huw Thomas)

  • Develop fur­ther lo­cal in­fras­truc­ture in most ac­tive ’EA cities’
    For ex­am­ple, Oxford and SF for sup­port­ing meet­ing, col­lab­o­rat­ing, co-work­ing, etc. of EAs (by Huw Thomas)

Policy

  • HIPE global
    Global or­gani­sa­tion to make civil ser­vants more effec­tive

  • Eval­u­a­tion of policy interventions

  • EA lobby group(s)

  • EA ac­tivism co­or­di­na­tion­
    co­or­di­nate in­di­vi­d­ual EAs to en­gage in effec­tive ac­tivism actions

  • Lobby group for bet­ter policy mak­ing pro­cesse­s
    how to im­prove in­sti­tu­tional de­ci­sion mak­ing or global co­or­di­na­tion in policy

    • A na­tional or in­ter­na­tional lob­by­ing or­gani­sa­tion that is ex­ter­nal to the government

    • Net­works in­ter­nal to gov­ern­ments who try to pro­mote this by us­ing their own ex­per­tise and ca­reers.

    • An or­ga­ni­za­tion that re­searches this topic

Research

  • Char­ity evaluation

    • Of spe­cific cause-ar­eas (e.g. en­vi­ron­ment, pre­vent­ing ex­treme hu­man suffer­ing, in­sti­tu­tional de­ci­sion mak­ing, etc)

    • Of global de­vel­op­ment, but in more depth
      With more fo­cus on long term and fol­low-through effects and sys­temic change and less fo­cus on RCTs. Pos­si­bly also with more con­sult­ing with peo­ple whom we are try­ing to help.

    • Of Meta-charities

    • Of AI safety re­search organisations

  • Cause pri­ori­ti­za­tion research

    • For non-util­i­tar­ian or differ­ent group­s
      what con­clu­sions should peo­ple with differ­ent ethics or differ­ent re­li­gious/​cul­tural back­grounds to reach?

    • With differ­ent things in mind: in­fluence /​ poli­ti­cal power /​ visi­bil­i­ty­
      mostly we have imag­ined you have money to give. If you are spend­ing poli­ti­cal in­fluence (or some­thing else), you might think other causes are more im­por­tant.

    • To find new cause ar­eas or cause X

    • How to ex­plain /​ sell cause prioritization

  • EA com­mu­nity build­ing research

  • GiveWell for im­pact in­vest­ing (by William MacAskill)

  • EA aca­demic journal

  • Writer who writes up ar­ti­cles for peo­ple em­bed­ded in EA
    Many EA or­gani­sa­tion lead­ers have lots of very good ideas and in some cases lists of ar­ti­cles they would write if they have the time. Maybe a per­son could in­ter­view col­late and write-up.

  • Run an EA-style re­search on­line course
    ”Create an on­line course for do­ing EA-style re­search”. (by Max Dal­ton) Max also wrote that he’d be happy to men­tor a suffi­ciently good per­son to do this

  • Re­search and rev­olu­tion­ise im­por­tant field­s
    For any of the be­low, you could do re­search on how to have an im­pact in that area, en­gage with peo­ple in the area and work out what lev­ers to push to change how peo­ple in the area do good.

    • Activism

    • Grantmaking

    • Academia

    • Journalism

    • Etc.