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Mac- comments on EA Funds Beta Launch - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Mac- 01 March 2017 12:00:58AM *  3 points [-]

we plan to run the project for the next 3 months and then reassess...the main way we will assess...is total recurring donations to the EA funds and community feedback.

I don't think extrapolating from the next three months of donations will be very useful, given that it won't include peak giving season and will include US tax season.

Ignorant of the opportunity costs you face, I recommend a 12 month "runway".

Comment author: TaraMacAulay 01 March 2017 01:10:48AM *  5 points [-]

Thanks for raising this point. We intend to reassess at 3 months, as we think it is prudent to reassess early, rather than risk wasting a year of staff time. We should expect to have some evidence either way, even if it is not definitive, and hope to learn much more if we extend the trial.

We were also concerned that it might be difficult to raise sufficient funds to really test if this idea is worthwhile given that the vast majority of giving, even within the EA-sphere, occurs towards the end of the calendar year. One successful outcome for this project would be to accumulate a reasonable number of monthly recurring donations in each cause area, which could help ameliorate some of the coordination issues that arise due to these predictable patterns in giving. At present, organizations continue to hold fundraisers close to the end of the year as that's when people decide where to give, and donors continue waiting until the end of the year as that's when organizations typically post detailed updates which make it easier to decide where to donate. It is not very practical for any individual donor to assess an organization's funding gap, or strategy, when that organization is not currently engaged in fundraising. Our hope is that pooling together donations will help Fund Managers access significant economies of scale, where it becomes more practical to assess these gaps quarterly. In addition, monthly recurring donations will indicate to Fund Managers that there is an appetite for continued investment in a particular cause area within the EA community. This may encourage them to recommend slightly more speculative grants and could also lead them to feel more comfortable supporting existing, highly promising, organizations at higher levels of funding than they might otherwise recommend.

We will likely extend the project beyond the 3 month period if something like the following conditions occur: - we come to believe that this project is something the community wants, using donations as a proxy for interest. - at the end of the 3 month period, the Fund Managers are satisfied that the total value of donations received is sufficient to justify their continued investment in the project.

Comment author: TaraMacAulay 01 March 2017 04:40:17AM 5 points [-]

Another thing I should have mentioned - if you're in a similar position, and are not planning to donate within the next 3 months, but are very likely to do so in the future, you can indicate your support for the project by filling out our feedback form and telling us roughly how much you'd be interested in donating and how you would allocate your donation between the 4 funds. A couple of you have done so already. We plan to take these 'pledged donations' into account when reviewing whether to continue the project.