“Teaching to Give” Idea

Hi All –

First post on the EA forum here. Presenting the idea below. Some potential action items coming out of this post are:

  1. Do you have any feedback?

  2. Do you want to help? (i.e. help plan, be a teacher, etc)

    1. Notably, I do not have the bandwidth right now to launch this myself. Part of the reason I am posting this here is in case there is someone more qualified than me to do this, who also has the time, might pick it up.


Within the EA movement, two broad means of doing the most possible good with one’s life have been identified: maximizing career impact (i.e. 80,000 Hours Project) & maximizing financial contribution (i.e. One for the World). These opportunities fit most with people who have career flexibility or whose financial plans & total compensation allow them to donate heavily.

Some effective altruists have neither career nor financial flexibility, but do have extra time & in-demand skills. Teaching To Give proposes the creation of a non-profit which leverages that population’s time & expertise to generate donation revenue through individual & group instruction online. The name is a play on the popular EA phrase & idea “Earning to Give.”

Basic Structure

A simple website which lists teachers & allows students to easily search by learning area, sign up for sessions & donate. A separate part of the website focuses on onboarding new teachers. Students are sent optional short surveys after every lesson so TtG can monitor the quality of instruction. The main learning areas would be: 1) hobby or life-type things (i.e. music/​art/​language lessons) | 2) professional/​career-type things (i.e. coding classes, career coaching). The cost of the lessons would be benchmarked against market rates but with a significant markdown (i.e. 75% of the market rate for an hour private voice/​singing lesson). My main idea right now is to do 1-1 lessons because those have the highest cost. But this could also scale out to group instruction as well, theoretically.

Target group for teachers

The ideal profile for a teacher here is a salaried professional who is not a professional teacher of the thing they would be teaching. The reason for this is that a professional teacher can just work more hours to generate more money to donate. In fact, an hourly professional of any kind can do the same. However, salaried workers can not work more & make more in a proportional fashion. Furthermore, these teachers would still need to be experts at the thing they would be teaching (i.e. a finance professional by day who also happens to be an expert amateur guitar player who has been playing regularly for 10 years).

One objection I’ve received so far is that no one would want to learn from these teachers because they aren’t professionals at teaching. I don’t think this is likely because in my personal experience I can teach things that I’m not a professional teacher at & I’ve learned plenty of things from non-professional teachers. That said, the point of charging a markdown from the market rate is to cover any discrepancies in teaching ability that arise. Also, the function of sending surveys & gathering feedback will be to catch any issues as they arise & coach the teachers as needed.

I believe that if this scaled, it could make a big impact. Right now just in early brainstorming phase.

Thanks for reading,