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Interesting concept! A few considerations on your impact calculation, though:
The 500 users would all need to be non-EAs (as EAs probably would’ve given similar if not the same amount to effective charities anyway, perhaps only using the app for its UI, progress tracking etc.). Also, I don’t know if you have already considered this, but the 500 members would have likely counterfactually given money to (albeit probably less effective) charities anyway, and so you would need to consider this in an accurate estimation of your impact.
Another thing to consider is that the range of charities you provide can have big effect on your impact calculation. Your EA investors would have, presumably, given their money to top EA causes, and if your users don’t use their money as effectively as this it will lessen your impact.
Another thing to consider is that your EA investors actually potentially wouldn’t have given their money to charities, but to another EA start-up. That makes the counterfactual much harder to properly understand (evidently they thought that giving to Sparrow had higher expected value than top EA charities, and presumably they could’ve found another group with similar expected value).
Although none of this probably makes much difference when considering your higher user counts, I would worry that your lower estimates may be misleading.
100% agreed with everything you said here. We’ve thought through some of these scenarios you brought up but didn’t want to get too bogged down in more complicated estimates in the main post. Our more in depth estimates might place it closer to 1000 breaking even, perhaps a few thousand to be very safe. Happy to discuss more in depth, but as you say it becomes less relevant once the numbers get larger.
Or you can give 10% of your income to a fund for the future, and it’ll automatically adjust with your salary.
Does this imply that you hope to somehow integrate Sparrow with EA Funds? (Right now, EA Funds doesn’t have an API that would allow this to be automated.) Is the “fund for the future” something separate that you built within Sparrow?
Hi Aaron. We’re currently curating our own funds across a range of cause areas (pulling together existing evaluators/recommendations), and we’re certainly open to integrating with existing funds at some point!
Can it help enable Giving Tuesday matching despite many small donations throughout the year?
Interesting idea! We haven’t built that in yet, but I think we could build a feature that would add up your donations throughout the year and track your projected impact, but wait until Giving Tuesday to actually disburse the funds (in a way that would enable the match).
I don’t think Facebook permits automated donations, so I don’t think this will be feasible.
It also seems risky as a feature to develop when we can’t predict what Facebook will do in the future. (I’m a huge advocate for EA Giving Tuesday as a project, but only in the context of “we’re pretty sure Facebook will have a match”, and I think it’s still too new to be very confident that things will keep working in the same way.)
I really love this concept guys and the prototype is fantastic!
I can’t get a handle on the full functionality as I’m in Australia so I strongly encourage the US folk here on the forum to download it and have a go as you guys will get the proper experience.
Feedback and user testing makes a big difference for the success of these apps – also bearing in mind when getting feedback from EAs that most people aren’t like a lot of EAs so will prefer simplicity over detail.
Keep up the awesome work!!
What probabilities do you have in mind for each event when you write the following?
With just 500 users we offset the impact costs to our EA investors in one year. With 100,000 users, we’d move $30 million per year to charity. Even more optimistically, if Sparrow were to acquire 3.3 million users...
This sounds promising!
one question—as i understand it’s not designed to help EA’s who already donate in cash, but mostly for people who aren’t familiar with effective giving, and won’t have enough motivation to get into it—right?
Thanks! Great question. Yes, it’s primarily designed to help people who aren’t as familiar with effective giving make more meaningful donations. But even for people already engaged, it’ll help organize your charities in one place, automate all of your donations, and track the impact of every dollar.
this isnt really ea lol
Rafa_fanboy, I’ve written to you but I’m not sure if you saw the message. You consistently make comments that aren’t helpful, and people regularly report them. Please try to keep your comments in the realm of “friendly and productive.”