Notes on this, from someone who was fairly involved in the GT process:
Even if competition for the Facebook match increases, the amount of data we gathered this year should help us be better-prepared next year, so the “base” percentage of a match should be above 65%, as long as you trust yourself to follow best practices around donating quickly.
Non-Americans had a much harder time getting matched by Facebook for some reason (probably banking/credit card authorization issues). They should take this into account when planning donations.
Other large matching campaigns sometimes pop up, mostly but not only during Giving Season. It’s good to keep an eye out for those (as the community does now) and be ready to move on an opportunity if it happens mid-year.
This also implies that finding out whether a match is actually counterfactual can be a really big deal for the community; I wish I’d worked harder to confirm with the Double Up Drive team whether their match was counterfactual (I think the answer turned out to be “yes”, in which case I should have done more promotion, but I’m not actually sure).
There are other good reasons to donate either throughout the year (e.g. gives charities better info, smoother cashflow) and at year’s (e.g. many non-EA people are thinking about giving, you might help to influence them by discussing your donations in public).
It seems valuable for someone to write up a more detailed document on timing considerations: “give now or give later” is a popular question, but often implies giving many years later; “when to give in the next 12 months” is very different.
One more thing which seems important: There are other ways to optimize a donation besides timing! Once you know how much you’ll give, and where, you have many options for how to share that information; you can write about it, post on social media, set up your own “match” for friends (make it truly counterfactual, and try to discourage EA people from using up matching funds that might instead attract non-EA people)
Great points. I agree re Double Up Drive that it was worthy of much deeper investigation to figure out the counterfactual nature of it. Perhaps there was even a way donors could have *made it* more counterfactual via doing a great job using their donation as an opportunity to signal and influence others’ behaviors. I briefly considered donating to it just so that I could write a message to the donors who were offering the match encouraging them to donate the full amount regardless of whether or not the match was reached and have my message possibly be heard.
More generally one thing I have updated a lot on after this past giving season is that I now believe that for small donors the signaling value of their donations matter a lot more. For example, a GWWC member earning $50k/year and donating $5k/year has a certain amount of credibility that conceivably could be used to help influence much larger donors to donate more and more effectively. How one’s donation and one’s communications around one’s donation is going to be perceived by much larger donations may in fact count for more than the value of one’s donation itself.