I’d be interested in more elaboration on what kinds of grants you may evaluate in the future and more generally your place and comparative advantage in the EA grantmaking ecosystem. E.g., should people with ideas get in touch with you? How could you see yourself collaborating with other grantmakers? How did you decide to look into Donational?
Thanks for putting this together, I think this is an exciting report and project.
I mostly agree with Habryka’s points.
I have another minor point:
We think there is a small-to-moderate chance that CAP would generate several very impactful indirect benefits. For example, the additional donations going to animal-focused charities may reduce the risk of global pandemics caused by antibiotic resistance, and the program may help create a broader culture of effective giving at US workplaces.
I feel like it’s odd to categorize the former example as “indirect benefits”. I think a cost-effectiveness model should aim to capture the overall expected impact of all the charities by applying some “impact-adjusted money moved” metric. (If you’re evaluating from a long-termist perspective, this would mean a long-termist perspective on all supported charities.) Otherwise, any project that involves some amount of leverage on various other organizations will always have high indirect benefits and harms, which makes the overall rating non-informative.
I agree that “help create a broader culture of effective giving at US workplaces” is a good example of an indirect benefit.
For instance, charities that reduce poverty and disease may cause economic growth, which is likely to increase the number of animals raised in factory farms and could contribute to climate change and existential risks.
Again, the same points seem to hold here; I think this should already be factored into the cost-effectiveness estimates.
(I realize my explanation of my view is a bit vague; I have a pretty strong intuition here and it would take me more time to think about it more and really explain it in depth.)
It would be great if the AllPosts page displayed the first ~100 posts instead of just the first ~16. Every few months, I find myself spending several minutes repeatedly clicking the “Load More Days” button.
We would love to have a more diverse team and if you have interested people in mind, please direct them to the survey or our current email address
I’ve sent you a PM with some suggestions! I haven’t been in touch with them lately, so please reach out to them directly.
Thanks for this detailed write-up! I appreciate that you’re taking the initiative, especially considering that EAF has withdrawn from this area.
A few questions / inputs:
1. Have you considered trying to recruit a more demographically diverse team? To my knowledge, there are several women who would make excellent contributions and might be interested.
2. What are your plans for coordinating with the international EA community, especially CEA, and staying up to date with their inputs for community building strategy? My experience has been that important strategic update are often only propagated slowly to national/local groups, so having a very deliberate plan for doing that seems desirable (edit: you also write this in your post – sorry for the initial oversight). (As far as I know, there hasn’t been an attempt to coordinate with EAF yet, which IMO could also be useful. Feel free to reach out if you haven’t yet! – Edit: I stand corrected – there has actually been some coordination in the early stages, so thanks!)
3. I appreciate that you listed concrete metrics to evaluate your impact. Some of the metrics seem much more suitable to me than others – career changes, for example, seem really valuable and impactful, pledges taken seems useful, but money donated by students is unlikely to be significant and can be used as a way of getting people involved and engaged rather than as an outcome metric. Similarly, I’d recommend a stronger effort to track the quality of local groups and local group members rather than the quantities/numbers. These things have been elaborated on in several local group guides.
Thanks for the response!
Strong-upvoted the post, especially because it seems very nuanced.
For example, Wild Animal Suffering Research was previously a project of EAF, though I am not sure of the current relationship between EAF and Wild Animal Initiative, which has replaced WASR.
At this point, WAI is an indepedent US non-profit (see here).
Through Raising for Effective Giving, EAF continues to fundraise >$1m annually for animal charities.
I still don’t understand which claim you’re making, exactly.
Are you saying:
1) “most animals don’t have as many offspring as was previously stated (mistakenly, based on the r-/K-selection model), and therefore we can’t be as sure that most animals live short and gruesome lives,”
or 2) “most animals don’t have as short a life span as was previously stated (mistakenly, based on the r-/K-selection model), and therefore we can’t be as sure that most animals live short and gruesome lives,”
or 3) something else?
I thought the claim about r-/K-selection was always about number of offspring and lifespan, rather than other aspects of the model (competition, body size, etc.), and your article doesn’t seem to suggest that these are very different from what was previously argued.
I’d guess that people would write more detailed bios if the input field was larger.
Here’s another example: https://www.google.com/search?q=%22SHOW%3A+A+framework+for+shaping+your+talent+for+direct+work%22
I’d add that I think there’s something to be said in favor of a needs-based model in the early stages of a startup. For as long as you’re heavily funding-constrained, it allows you to hire a greater number of people at a given cost. (This is essentially first-degree price discrimination; maximizing producer’s surplus (≈ altruistic utility) can IMO be a good idea under some circumstances.) One could argue that even then, promising EA startups should (and will) be paid better, but I’m not sure this always works out in practice.
Other than that, I agree.
One thing I like about offsetting is that it creates a more cooperative and inclusive EA community. I.e., animal advocates might be put off less by meat-eating EAs if they learn they offset their consumption, or poverty reducers might be less concerned about long-termists making policy recommendations that (perhaps as a side effect) slow down AI progress (and thereby the escape from global poverty) if they also support some poverty interventions (especially when doing so is particularly cheap for them). In general, there seem to be significant gains from cooperation, and given repeated interaction, it’s fairly easy to actually move towards such outcomes, including by starting to cooperate unilaterally.
Of course, this is best achieved not through offsetting, but by thinking about who we will want to cooperate with and trying to help their values as cost-effectively as possible.
This piece does a good job at making this point: https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/post/2015/06/cost-fighting-malaria-malnutrition-neglected-tropical-diseases-and-hivaids-and/
It has! It was successful, both in terms of participant satisfaction and our own assessment of research progress/ideas.
Haha, interesting, thanks! :)
What you’re saying matches my personal experience.
I was wondering whether there might be a discrepancy among those who stop attending – any thoughts on that?
ETA: This seems more plausible to me than a general tendency because women and men in EA have already self-selected based on being interested in these ideas. Though maybe something similar could be said of people who attended once but stopped.
Thanks a lot for this excellent piece, really appreciate it.
I’ve been wondering for some time whether differences in interests (if they exist) might contribute to the gender imbalance in EA, and if so, what lessons we might draw from that. Maybe focus groups (especially with women and men who stopped attending events) could contribute to answering this question.
For poverty-oriented interventions, have you considered less measurable, more hits-based, more growth-focused ideas? I’m thinking of opportunities that might have a chance of replicating something like China’s escape from extreme poverty in other countries.
A few ideas for where you might start if you tried to look into this more:
(Please let me know if you found this interesting / helpful – I might write a brief EA forum post about this at some point.)