This is my first year donating, and I was earning to give until now. I welcome feedback.
My general plan is to support animal welfare, specifically intervention and (sub-)cause prioritization research, international movement growth and the current best-looking interventions, filtered through the judgment of full-time researchers/grantmakers.
I donated $7K (Canadian) to the EA Animal Welfare Fund about a month ago. I think they’re the best-positioned to identify otherwise neglected animal welfare funding opportunities when evidence is relatively scarce, given grantmakers working at several different animal protection orgs, and Lewis Bollard’s years of experience in grantmaking.
I’m looking at donating another $30-40K (Canadian) to be split primarily between the following groups, roughly in decreasing order of proportion of funding, although I haven’t decided on the exact amounts:
1. ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund. I think the EAA community’s research supporting corporate campaigns and ACE’s research specifically have improved considerably in the past while, so I’m pretty confident in their choices working on these. I’m also happy to see expansion to countries previously neglected by EAA funding and support for further research.
2. Rethink Priorities. I’ve been consistently impressed by their research for animals so far, and I’m keen to see further research, especially on ballot initiatives, for which I’m pretty optimistic. Also, it looks like they’ve got a lot of room for funding, and it would be pretty cool if they hired Peter Hurford full-time. Btw, they have an AMA going on now.
3. Charity Entrepreneurship. Also very impressed by their research for animals so far, both exploratory and in-depth, including a cluster-thinking approach. I hope to see more of it, and any new animal welfare charities they might start.
4. Possibly the EA Animal Welfare Fund again.
5. RC Forward. Both for my own donations and as a public good for EAs in Canada, since they allow Canadians to get tax credits for donations to EA charities. More here and here.
It’s worth noting that Rethink Priorities and Charity Entrepreneurship have each received funding from Open Philanthropy Project (Farm Animal Welfare) and EA Funds recently; RP from the Animal Welfare Fund and CE most recently from the Meta Fund (and previously from the Animal Welfare Fund).
I have a few other research orgs in mind, and I might also donate to Sentience Politics, for their campaign to support the referendum to end factory farming in Switzerland (some discussion here on Facebook). I’m also wondering about Veganuary, but I’m not in a good position to judge their counterfactual impact from the numbers they present.
First year donating is super exciting!!
Not an expert but some feedback that jumps to mind is:
Overall this looks like a great donation plan.
Giving to the Animal Welfare Fund or ACE’s top recommended charities seems like a pretty solid surefire bet / way to outsource donations.
I am slightly less certain about donating directly to RP or CE unless you have a reason to think the Animal Welfare Fund is not funding these enough (which does happen), but either way you are following the donations of the Animal Welfare Fund so there is really not much in it and it is useful sometimes to donate and see how the orgs are using your money.
One extra thing to consider is donating to the charities being created by Charity Entrepreneurship, (for example https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/iMofrSc86iSR7EiAG/introducing-fish-welfare-initiative-1 ). I cant talk for CE but I think CE believe donations to their new charities are a bit more urgent than donations directly to CE. Maybe one of the fish people can say if they are looking for funds.
I endorse solving collective action problems that benefit you and other donors. You are probably better placed to evaluate RC Forward than us non-Canadians, and if RC Forward is useful to help you donate more then supporting it with at least some of your donation makes sense.
Hope that helps,
Thanks Sam for mentioning us! I’m half the co-founding team of Fish Welfare Initiative (ie one of the fish people), and we are now looking for funding. If you’re interested, you can check out our website or email me directly.
At the moment, we’re looking to fill a roughly $30K funding gap to get us to June.
Thanks for the feedback!
Probably the main reason I’m leaning towards not donating directly to CE’s incubated animal charities is that I’m not in a very good position to judge them on their own merits, and I think this would be best left to grantmakers. It’s worth noting that Karolina Sarek, the director of research at CE, is one of the fund managers for the EA Animal Welfare Fund, and I’m not sure if this prevents the fund from making grants to CE or CE-incubated charities.
On the other hand, I have been reading a decent amount of Charity Entrepreneurship’s research (much of which supports their incubated charities, of course) and Rethink Priorities’ research, too. I think intervention/cause research is one of the best funding opportunities, given how much gets granted by OPP and other funds, and how little we still know. I had been previously skeptical of corporate outreach given the criticisms of EAA research a few years ago (ACE has since archived a lot of research and improved their process), but reading reports by Rethink Priorities and Charity Entrepeneurship (and Founders Pledge) gave me good reason to believe that both corporate outreach and cause/intervention research are very cost-effective, in expectation. On top of the appreciation I have for the research from RP and CE themselves, they also aren’t committed to research on specific causes/interventions within animal welfare, so they have more freedom to explore and prioritize. They’re also both small and seem pretty funding-constrained.
I see my planned donations to ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund + Rethink Priorities + Charity Entrepreneurship together as a substitute for (further) donations to the EA Animal Welfare Fund, emphasizing our best bets and research more over other neglected opportunities. The EA Animal Welfare Fund seems to not donate to ACE-recommended charities too often, in part, I think, because OPP does so in its place (both lead by Lewis Bollard), but OPP also typically doesn’t aim to fully meet their funding gaps (and ACE wouldn’t recommend these charities if OPP did this). So, I don’t think that the EA Animal Welfare Fund is necessarily a better or worse buy than ACE’s recommended charities. (Also, Charity Entrepreneurship and Rethink Priorities are out-of-scope for consideration by ACE, although I only just found this out.)
Some other (minor) considerations:
ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund is currently being matched and it seems partially counterfactual since it’s coming from a common pool of funds that can go to other causes.
I’m not sure if I can get tax credits for the CE-incubated charities, but maybe I can through Charity Science, which is registered in Canada.
Hi Michael, That all sounds really sensible and well thought out. Good job :-)
Sounds like a plan. Congratulations with doing your first donations!
How do you prioritize between the 5 charities that you mentioned?
I’m still thinking about how to prioritize. This comment might give you some ideas where my thinking is now.
I’ve also been in contact with a few of these charities.
I might comment again here with updates.