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ChrisCundy comments on The 2015 Survey of Effective Altruists: Results and Analysis - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Dan_Keys 30 July 2016 04:00:40AM 6 points [-]

For the analysis of donations, which asked about donations in 2014, I'd like to see the numbers for people who became EAs in 2013 or earlier (including the breakdowns for non-students and for donations as % of income for those with income of $10,000 or more).

37% of respondents first got involved with EA in 2015, so their 2014 donations do not tell us much about the donation behavior of EAs. Another 24% first got involved with EA in 2014, and it's unclear how much their 2014 donations tell us given that they only began to be involved in EA midyear.

Comment author: ChrisCundy 30 July 2016 07:24:28PM *  3 points [-]

That is a very good point, and ties in to vipulnaik's point below about starting the survey collection time just after the start of a year so that donation information can be recorded for the immediately preceding year.

I've quickly run the numbers and the median donation in 2014 for the 467 people who got involved in 2013 or earlier was $1,500, so significantly higher than that for EAs overall. This is not including people who didn't say what year they got involved, so probably cuts a few people out who did get involved before 2014 but can't remember. Also if we have constant attrition from the EA movement then you'd expect the pre-2014 EAs to be more committed as a whole

This is a very good point and is making me lean towards vipulnaik's suggestion for future surveys, as this problem will be just as pressing if the movement continues to grow at the rate it has done.

Comment author: Dan_Keys 30 July 2016 11:08:58PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for looking this up quickly, and good point about the selection effect due to attrition.

I do think that it would be informative to see the numbers when also limited to nonstudents (or to people above a certain income, or to people above a certain age). I wouldn't expect to see much donated from young low- (or no-) income students.

Comment author: Michael_S 30 July 2016 07:47:16PM 0 points [-]

Very interesting. I think there's a number of reasons why the $1,500 figure might be biased downwards or updwards as an estimate for median EA donations/charitable savings after exposure to the movement. It might be too low if many people are just saving to give rather than consuming (attempting to measure this may be useful in the future). It might be biased upwards if those who joined the movement earlier are predisposed to give more than the average EA or those who take the survey are more likely to donate than the average EA.

Regardless, I think the evidence suggests there are a lot of untapped donations among current EAs. I think trying to increase current EA donations should be a priority.