Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 04 January 2017 03:36:04AM 1 point [-]

This is really interesting and I wondered about suggesting something like this as quite high value, especially when targeted personally and non-confrontationally to people new to EA. I wondered whether GWWC was doing this and I'm glad that they are and are getting good results.

I'd be curious to know more about how people to message were selected and how the messages were crafted. This seems harder to reproduce among people like myself who have very few EA friends. 10% of messages converting to pledges is incredible, but potentially so incredible as to be suspicious. 0.667 pledges per hour is a very good hourly rate, much higher (though depending on the value of a pledge) than the hourly rates I found via other kinds of fundraising efforts!

Comment author: hbesceli 04 January 2017 12:14:32PM *  1 point [-]

I'd be curious to know more about how people to message were selected

There weren't any strong guidelines in selecting people just encouraging people to talk to their friends. I chose people to message based on a combination of 1) how interested I thought they'd be (either based on previous conversations about EA or my knowledge of their interests) 2) how close we are, and I'd imagine others used similar heuristics.

and how the messages were crafted.

Here's a message I used that I also put up as an example for others, but there was an emphasis on making the messages personal rather than using a stock message, and so I expect that the type of messages that people sent varied quite a bit.

'Hey, last year i took the 'GWWC pledge' - a commitment to donate 10% of my income to the charities I believe are most effective at improving the world. I'd be really interested in hearing what you think about the idea and whether it's something you'd consider - what do you think? And do you fancy hearing a quick spiel about it? Anyway, what are you up to over New Year’s, when am I going to see you next?'

10% of messages converting to pledges is incredible, but potentially so incredible as to be suspicious.

The success that people have with this probably varies a lot. In particular having spoked to the person about effective altruism before made success a lot more likely. I think there was probably a fairly strong self selection effect, with those who have a lot of potentially interested friends being the people that decided to do the messaging and report their successes, and so I don't think the average GWWC member would be as successful (but probably still enough to make it worth doing).

Also the data from messaging friends seems consistent with the 1/25 message to pledge ratio from GWWC's previous attempts at messaging people - I'd expect messaging friends to be higher than this as the personal connection with the person you're talking about the pledge too seems to be quite an important factor.

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Talking about the Giving What We Can Pledge

Giving What We Can estimate a pledge as being worth approximately $73,000 in donations to effective charities, and so getting people to take the pledge who wouldn’t have taken it otherwise seems like a highly valuable activity. This year's GWWC pledge campaign started on Tuesday 29th November and will finish... Read More