“setting up an Effective Altruism Fund”
The cheap and easy first step along these lines would be for CEA to make a page on its website where people saving to donate later, or putting money in Donor Advised Funds, could register the amounts saved/invested and their intentions for the funds. This would be a very cheap and easy effort (you could even just use a Google Form) and would allow evidence of interest to accumulate.
You don’t need $20,000 to do it, just a bit of staff time, and there are definitely people saving for later or using DAFs (Peter Hurford just posted about his plans along those lines, earlier in this blog series).
“Even after trying to correct for obvious personal bias, I think that CEA wins out for my comparatively small donation; if I had info that the relevant position at CSER wouldn’t be funded anyway, and if I had more to give (e.g. ~$70k) then I think that CSER would be better...This expenditure is also pretty lumpy, and I don’t expect them to get all their donations from small individual donations, so it seems to me that donating 1/50th of the cost of a program manager isn’t as good as 1/50th of the value of a program manager. For those with a larger amount to give, the situation is different.”
Why not make a long odds bet with a wealthy counterparty or use high-risk derivatives to get a chance at making the large donation? In principle, economies of scale like this should always be subject to circumvention at modest cost.
Also see: http://www.indiegogo.com/
“that Lomborg’s (inaccurate) reputation as a climate skeptic might taint the idea of global prioritisation.)”
He does accept the scientific consensus and relies on IPCC figures, but he does seem to spend a really disproportionate portion of his writing and speaking on the idea of trading off climate mitigation costs against more effective interventions. It is far less common to see him pitting highly effective global public health interventions against farm subsidies, military spending, social security, rich country health care, tax cuts, or other non-climate competing expenditures.
“Why not make a long odds bet with a wealthy counterparty or use high-risk derivatives to get a chance at making the large donation? In principle, economies of scale like this should always be subject to circumvention at modest cost.”
Yes, as Paul Christiano writes,
In principle some opportunities might only be accessible for big donors. $1B might go more than a thousand times farther than $1M. But if we are really only interested in expectations, then we can always just take a 1000:1 bet and turn our $1M into a 1/1000 chance of $1B. This guarantees that there are no increasing returns to money.
I like Carl’s idea for the EA fund. I have some money in a DAF that I would register on an “EA fund website”.