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Evan_Gaensbauer comments on CEA is Fundraising! (Winter 2016) - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 28 December 2016 10:15:34AM 2 points [-]

The way your fundraising page represents how much money CEA is trying to raise confused me. First of all, you switched between representing amounts in either dollars or pounds. This isn't a big deal, but I thought I'd just let you know it's momentarily jarring when the amount being requested switches so much. I think readers can convert currencies well by themselves if need be.

Anyway, it says the CEA is seeking $3.1 million as its 'Minimum Target' for how much its seeking to raise. But that's the minimum target CEA is seeking to expand beyond its current scope of activity. It says in the budget summary the amount CEA needs to raise to cover the continuation of its regular suite of activities in 2017 is £ 1,860,517. As of this writing, that comes out to $2,277,905. It took me a while to figure out the ~$2.3 million figure was to continue ongoing operations, and guessed the ~$900k USD remaining would be for the ambitious expansion of more speculative but successful projects, like marketing, EAGx grants, and EA chapter grants. But I noticed that's already accounted for in the budget summary as well.

So, pardon me for saying so, but I'm confused as to what CEA's intentions are with the 'Minimum Target' and 'Growth Target' for Growth(?). I think I'm missing something, or the document doesn't make clear, which items in CEA's 2017 budget would the funding from these targets, if reached, be used for. Could you please clarify?

Comment author: AGB 28 December 2016 08:58:26PM 2 points [-]

Second this. I'm guessing part of what's going on in the $3.1 versus £1.8 is to do with reserves, but would be useful to get confirmation. Also, the google sheet linked doesn't have numbers that I can line up with anything else in the blog post, I think because it has numbers for CEA UK only and ignores CEA US (but that's speculation)?

Comment author: TaraMacAulay 03 January 2017 03:27:11AM *  3 points [-]

Hi AGB, you are correct on both counts - the linked budget is for CEA UK only, and the $3.1M figure is enough to allow us to end 2017 with at least 12 months of reserves.

The reason that we’re raising more than the total projected spend for 2017 is that we are hoping to build up our reserves to ensure we do not need to fundraise mid-year. We aim to maintain a minimum of 12 months of reserves, in line with recommended best practices for non-profits. Prior to the start of this fundraiser, we had planned let our reserves fall far below this limit towards the end of 2016, as we identified some particularly promising opportunities late in the year, including the Doing Good Better giveaway campaign and marketing the EA Newsletter and the Giving What We Can Pledge. Having experimented with these new approaches, we want to further test and expand upon these activities in 2017, while rebuilding our reserves to a more sustainable level. This means that we need to raise about 18 months of reserves to fully fund our current mainline plans, and avoid the need to fundraise mid-year.

You can describe our plans following the fundraiser as follows:

  • If we raise the full $3.1M then we will not run another fundraiser until late 2017. We will plan to end 2017 with around 12-16 months of reserves.

  • If we raise less than $2.1M, we will reevaluate our 2017 plans. In this scenario, we would likely reduce our planned spending on marketing activities during Y Combinator, reduce the amount we plan to spend on EAGx and student group grants and delay or cancel some planned hires.

  • If we raise an amount between $2.1M to $3.1M, we will proceed with our mainline plans for 2017, but we will likely not pursue any additional activities and we will be more cautious with some of our more flexible spending such as EAGx grants and the marketing spend we have planned during Y Combinator. We will then reevaluate our financial position mid-year and may decide to run a smaller fundraiser then to cover any gaps.