Comment author: adamaero  (EA Profile) 17 October 2018 07:35:53PM *  1 point [-]

What, exactly, are we marketing?

  • Sacrifice: not so small as to feel meaningless and not so extreme as to be unreasonable.

E.g., not donating a couple cents every century and not reducing oneself to poverty or martyrdom.

    • GiveWell (1)
    • Animal Charity Evaluators (2)

Who are we marketing it to?

Various individuals who have extra money, and are not caught up buying the next phone and bigger car*:

(1) Empathetic liberals (I guess), those who haven't been rich all their life, altruists, etc.

Not hard conservatives, not those who haven't given others a second thought, not rationalists.

(2) veg*ans, and others I don't know how to categorize specifically...

Who will be doing the marketing?

Almost all effective altruists except those who are CEOs of non-EA based orgs. In other words, those who are not forever swamped in work (or certain specific problems). Should all EAs? No, not really. Some know too little, and some convey the message poorly.

Where will (audience) ultimately buy the product?

The "beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that produce effective giving behavior" should not be thought of as something to hard sell. It should be sometimes thought as bringing simple awareness, and building a dialogue with others.

  • "not going to waste it on a big house, a new car every year and a bunch of friends who want a big house and a new car every year.” - Larry (Bill Murray) The Razor’s Edge 1984 movie ~ 1944 book.

Related Research

We posit that altruistic donors are more driven by the actual impact of their donation, and thus information to reinforce or enhance perceived impacts will drive higher donations. On the other hand, for warm glow donors, information on impacts may actually deter giving [because it's not emotionally based]. This distinction is much along the lines of Kahneman (2003), in which System I decisions (peripheral decisions which use intuition and mere reaction, but no deliberation) are “warm glow” decisions, and System II decisions (deliberative decisions requiring conscious reasoning and thought) are “altruism” decisions.

Comment author: Jon_Behar 19 October 2018 09:39:22PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for sharing these thoughts!

I particularly like the “giving fast” vs “giving slow” distinction. One of the reasons I think donor intermediaries are so important is because they often nudge donors to give thoughtfully instead of instinctively. For instance, Donor Advised Funds represent an enormous opportunity both because of the size of the market and because they let donors separate the decisions of “whether/how much to give” and “why to give.”

Comment author: Jon_Behar 16 October 2018 06:58:19PM 1 point [-]

You’re in charge of outreach for EA. You have to choose one demographic to focus on for introducing EA concepts to, and bringing into the movement. What single demographic do you prioritize?

What sort of discussions does this question generate? Do people mostly discuss demographics that are currently overrepresented or underrepresented in EA? If there’s a significant amount of discussion around how and why EA needs more of groups that are already overrepresented, it probably wouldn’t feel very welcoming to someone from an underrepresented demographic. You may want to consider tweaking it to something like “What underrepresented demographic do you think EA most needs more of on the margins?”

FWIW, I have similar concerns that people might interpret the question about lying/misleading as suggesting EA doesn’t have a strong norm against lying.

In response to comment by Jon_Behar on Open Thread #41
Comment author: Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) 06 October 2018 01:49:00PM 2 points [-]

I'd be happy to post it for you on the Boston EA group if it's specifically in the Boston area.

In response to comment by Julia_Wise  (EA Profile) on Open Thread #41
Comment author: Jon_Behar 12 October 2018 03:38:44AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Elityre 08 October 2018 04:36:07PM 4 points [-]

I'm not sure how much having a "watered down" version of EA ideas in the zeitgeist helps because, I don't have a clear sense of how effective most charities are.

If the difference between the median charity and the most impactful charity is 4 orders of magnitude ($1 to the most impactful charities does as much good as $1000 to the the median charity), then even a 100x improvement from the median charity is not very impactful. It's still only 1% as good a donating to the best charity. If that were the case, it's probably more efficient to just aim to get more people to adopt the whole EA mindset.

On the other hand, if the variation is much smaller, it might be the case that a 100x improvement get's you to about half of the impact per dollar of the best charities.

Which world we're living in matters a lot for whether we should invest in this strategy.

That said, promotion of EA principles, like cost effectiveness and EV estimates, separate from the EA brand, seem almost universally good, and extend far beyond people's choice of charities.

Comment author: Jon_Behar 08 October 2018 05:51:56PM 1 point [-]

Definitely agree on the value of spreading basic principles, though I think we also need to focus on some charity-specific themes given that we want to change giving behavior. In addition to the general frameworks you mention, I think it’s valuable to promote “intentional”, “informed”, and “impactful” giving as these are very uncontroversial ideas. And while it’s most valuable when someone buys into all three of those notions in a big way, there’s also value to getting a lot of people to buy in partially. If millions more people see the value of informed giving, incentives will improve and new products will emerge to meet that demand.

FWIW, I think the more accessible approach makes sense even in a world with huge variation in impact across charities. I think you’ll get more money to the “elite” charities if you have a culture where people seek out the best cancer charity they can find, the best local org they can find, etc vs trying “to get more people to adopt the whole EA mindset.”

In response to Open Thread #41
Comment author: Jon_Behar 05 October 2018 05:55:56PM 5 points [-]

I’d love to see a “EA Job board” organized not around open jobs, but around EAs who are looking for jobs. I’m hiring for an EA job and went to search for Boston area EAs looking for work and realized the tool I needed didn’t exist. This could probably be as simple as an “EA Job seekers” group on LinkedIn.

Comment author: beah 04 October 2018 08:59:08PM 1 point [-]

Might there be sweet spots to be found somewhere along the continuum of "quality" of giving (the effectiveness of each dollar given) stopping short of, say, GiveWell recommend charities or even EA approved causes?

Most ordinary people don't give because they generally feel charitable and want to do something, anything, so long as it's charitable. The are compelled to give by an event or a narrative that tugs on them. Most EA instruments don't really do this, of course. At least not in the initial consumer interaction. Say someone was compelled to give by the recent family separation crisis in the US. The cause wouldn't ever land on an EA list but I imagine that within it there are some charities 10x or maybe 100x more effective than others. It would be valuable to help people chose those charities, given that there's essentially a 0% chance that the money in question will be funneled to bed nets or the long term future.

In short, I'm interested in whether there are ways to bring a watered down version of EA to a mass audience, with a net positive effect on effective dollars given.

Comment author: Jon_Behar 04 October 2018 11:35:28PM 2 points [-]

Absolutely! I think getting people to give to “best in class” charities has to be a part of any serious effort to improve giving on a large scale. Many donors are locked into a particular cause but would be open to giving more effectively in the same space. In causes with a lot of money and a big difference between the best charities and “default” charities, that presents a big opportunity. And of course there’s no guarantee EA is getting its cause prioritization right in the first place.

One “softer” framework I like is encouraging donors to be intentional, informed, and impactful when they give. It’s hard for people to disagree with any of these things, and they should all promote better giving on the margins.


A Research Framework to Improve Real-World Giving Behavior

Cross-posted from The Life You Can Save's blog .   What’s the best way to “sell” the idea of good giving? The short answer is, nobody really knows.   Marketing has been used to sell just about everything, so it stands to reason that it should be possible to “sell”... Read More
Comment author: MarekDuda 02 August 2018 05:18:40PM 7 points [-]

Hi Jon, yes this is due to the numbers reported in March including the accounts payable - money not yet held in cash but expected to come in. We later realised that some of the transactions we were expecting to come in were not real donations, but rather several people making large 'testing' donations which then did not get paid. We have resolved these issues, and will be reporting Fund balances in cash terms going forward, however it did mean that the March numbers ended up being inflated.

We will be publishing a post in the coming weeks going into detail on the work we have been doing in the back end of Funds and releasing an update to the site which automatically pulls the Fund balances from our accounting system.

Comment author: Jon_Behar 03 August 2018 05:36:15PM 2 points [-]

Thanks for clarifying!

Looking forward to seeing the upcoming post, it would be great if it could include a chart/table of donations (in cash terms) to each fund over time.

Comment author: SamDeere 30 July 2018 09:42:36PM *  13 points [-]

The grant payout reports are now up on the EA Funds site:

Note that the Grant Rationale text is basically the same for both as Nick has summarised his thinking in one document, but the payout totals reflect the amount disbursed from each fund

Comment author: Jon_Behar 01 August 2018 01:43:18PM 5 points [-]

Nick says these latest grants "disburse all the EA Funds under my management." However, the grant amounts are ~10-15% less than the available cash the funds were reported as holding at the end of March, and the funds have presumably raised more money since then. Can Nick or someone from CEA please clarify?


The Giving Game Project's 2017 Annual Report

The Giving Game Project has published a report discussing its philanthropy education work, the evidence base surrounding that work, and its plans for the future.  The full report is available here ; the Executive Summary is below. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   Since the Giving Game Project’s last detailed update in mid-2016... Read More

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