Comment author: Ervin 04 April 2018 10:58:49PM 17 points [-]

Looking at the EA Community Fund as an especially tractable example (due to the limited field of charities it could fund):

  • Since its launch in early 2017 it appears to have collected $289,968, and not regranted any of it until a $83k grant to EA Sweden currently in progress. I am basing this on https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community - it may not be precisely right.

  • On the one hand, it's good that some money is being disbursed. On the other hand the only info we have is https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/ea-community/payouts/1EjFHdfk3GmIeIaqquWgQI . All we're told about the idea and why it was funded is that it's an "EA community building organization in Sweden" and Will McAskill recommended Nick Beckstead fund it "on the basis of (i) Markus's track record in EA community building at Cambridge and in Sweden and (ii) a conversation he had with Markus." Putting it piquantly (and over-strongly I'm sure, for effect), this sounds concerningly like an old boy's network: Markus > Will > Nick. (For those who don't know, Will and Nick were both involved in creating CEA.) It might not be, but the paucity of information doesn't let us reassure ourselves that it's not.

  • With $200k still unallocated, one would hope that the larger and more reputable EA movement building projects out there would have been funded, or we could at least see that they've been diligently considered. I may be leaving some out, but these would at least include the non-CEA movement building charities: EA Foundation (for their EA outreach projects), Rethink Charity and EA London. As best as I could get an answer from Rethink Charity at http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1ld/announcing_rethink_priorities/dir?context=3 this is not true in their case at least.

  • Meanwhile these charities can't make their case direct to movement building donors whose money has gone to the fund since its creation.

This is concerning, and sounds like it may have done harm.

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 20 April 2018 06:05:07PM 1 point [-]

Just noticed this, so sorry for the late reply! I (through EA Sweden) was the recipients of an EA Community Fund grant a few months back. I'll just say a few things about the grant, some general thoughts about the EA Community Fund and am happy to answer any questions you might have!

I'd say that there was a bit more information to go on than simply Will having seen me do EA group organizing over the past 5 or so years: I also provided a project proposal. However, I'd agree with the impression that the main factor in making the grant was about trust and first-hand knowledge of my work in the past.

If you wanna know more about what we've been up to, you can read our plans for the year (as of February) here: http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1kf/effective_altruism_sweden_plans_for_2018/

Abstracting from my particular situation, there currently seem to be growing pains in the EA community building-space. My impression is that the bottleneck is not good projects to fund, but rather ability to consider proposals and allocate funds. I think making funding decisions in the community building-space based largely on trust and proven track record is a good heuristic. However, it won't be particularly scalable and so needs to be supplemented by more time-intensive methods.

Given the small size of the EA Community Fund, it seems unreasonable for Nick Beckstead to be managing it. Once CEA is able to allocate their EA Community Building Grants effectively, I'd recommend the EA Community Fund being allocated by CEA rather than Nick Beckstead.

Comment author: casebash 28 March 2018 01:59:58PM 2 points [-]

What's Givewell's CEA?

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 28 March 2018 02:28:03PM 2 points [-]

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis :)

Comment author: casebash 23 February 2018 03:35:54AM 2 points [-]

Out of curiosity, how many local groups already have paid organisers and how do you think this compares with an additional employee at a non-local EA org?

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 23 February 2018 08:07:29AM *  6 points [-]

The org's I can remember off the top of my head are: EA Sweden (that's me), EA Geneva, EA London, EA China, EA Netherlands (used to have full-time staff, but don't anymore) and EA Australia.

I'm excluding CEA, EAF and Rethink Charity here.

Comment author: SebastianSchmidt 10 February 2018 01:07:51PM 3 points [-]

Thanks for the post! I’ve two questions:

  1. Have you been concerned with how having one paid member of your Org could affect the volunteerism of the rest of the members? E.g. that there will arise a hierarchy which will keep “regular” members from taking on certain type of projects or feel as if they have less of a say in various decisions.

  2. Could you elaborate on the metrics you intend to use? E.g. by “the funnel of 80k” do you then mean their significant plan changes or how many of your members receive personal coaching from them? Also, how do you track the donations made to GWWC/EA Funds?

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 12 February 2018 10:16:05AM 1 point [-]

Thanks, Sebastian!

  1. I think this might be a risk. Especially in a Scandinavian context where consensus decisions are really important. It also seems really important to me to avoid risks of feelings of resentment. My hunch is that this is mainly avoided by transparency and honesty, regarding e.g. where the money is coming from and what it's for. However, I think that effect is outweighed by other effects. I’ve seen people’s engagement in doing stuff for EAS go up since I started working full-time, partly since that means I can spend more time and energy into being a leader, encouraging and helping people to become usefully involved. However, with all of these things, people who have done this sort of thing for longer will likely know better.

  2. We intend to use IASPC, but also figures regarding number of coachings, referrals etc. Regarding donations, the idea is to get data on how many swedish donations go through EA Funds. In addition to this, we will likely collect our own data on impact as well through a survey.

Comment author: JonathanSalter 05 February 2018 02:41:17PM 2 points [-]

I think you might've meant Olle Häggström as opposed to Göran Hägglund ;)

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 06 February 2018 12:50:18PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the keen eye, Jonathan! Corrected now.

Comment author: casebash 02 February 2018 10:33:14PM *  2 points [-]

"What is the best way to get more people to act upon the principles of effective altruism?" - I'd suggest looking at what the bottleneck is. Are you getting lots of people coming to your meetups and then not coming back or is it mostly just the regular with very few new members? Importantly, if a group has a low retention rate, they probably don't want to scale reach as they'd just burning through people who might have become members if they'd been better placed to capture them. Anyway, from what I've heard mass media outreach doesn't really seem to have been effective for EA groups and that matches what I've seen in Australia too where I haven't heard of a single person who first heard of Effective Altruism through mass media, while in contrast, I've met several who heard of us through more niche channels like podcasts.

Anyway, I'm hugely in favour of EA Sweden exploring politics as it really does seem to be a comparative advantage for the reasons given. EA is much more likely to be able to influence politics in smaller countries where you have more chance of getting a meeting with important people and there are a lot of advantages of exploring working in politics when any fallout might be contained.

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 05 February 2018 01:35:37PM *  0 points [-]

Thanks for the input!

Yeah, looking at where the drop-off is seems like a very good idea. Unfortunately, we haven't had data on this historically and can only go off anecdotal data. Given those anecdotes we've reached the conclusion that more effort should be put on the latter parts of the sales funnel.

Regarding mass media my impression is the same. However, I think that it is likely useful to put some effort into it, e.g. since it adds credibility to the organisation.

Going forward, we'll have data on who comes to what events, data from membership forms and will hopefully be able to connect that to end-line results, e.g. career changes and donations.

14

Effective Altruism Sweden plans for 2018

Effective Altruism Sweden will have a full-time employee over the coming year (that’s me, Markus Anderljung). This document outlines the plans of Effective Altruism Sweden and what we’ll do with that extra labor over the coming year. I think that the biggest opportunities in Sweden that we ought to take... Read More
Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 02 February 2018 11:52:51AM *  0 points [-]

Sounds really interesting!

Here are some potentially interesting things to be aware of: - The Human Rights Project: https://www.nonhumanrights.org/

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 26 January 2015 01:35:14PM 3 points [-]

Interesting to read! Good to see you're considering such a wide variety of ways to fundraise.

My thought in reading this was that it seems difficult for outsiders to companies to sway them to give to more effective charities. But could there be a bigger chance of success if it was driven by EA employees at companies e.g. talking to their CSR department? Charity Science's role could then be in supporting these EAs.

Comment author: Vincent_deB 16 November 2014 10:12:11AM 3 points [-]

Cool, it would be great if they could sustain exponential growth! I imagine this may happen from people getting into these ideas and then telling their friends, who tell their friends, who tell their friends, and so on. That seems a good hypothesis to explain the exponential trend.

Does GWWC know how many of these members would have been donating significant sums without GWWC? Presumably they share this information with donors? I realise this is hard to work out, as people who are interested in these ideas would likely have come across GiveWell and EA at some point anyway.

Comment author: MarkusAnderljung 16 November 2014 12:56:15PM 3 points [-]

On your second point of how much people would have donated without signing the pledge, people who sign the pledge are asked "What percentage of your income would you have donated over your lifetime if you had not come across Giving What We Can?" I'm pretty sure the answer to this question is used in figuring out the money moved figure.

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