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Edit: Rejections will be sent out around the end of April and not the end of March, as was initially stated.

Previously: Launch of 1st round1st round retrospective (recommended for all applicants).

We are now launching the second round of Meta Charity Funders. Apply for funding by March 24th or join the circle as a donor.

Below we will first list some updates from the previous round before providing some information primarily meant for people who intend to apply to the next round.

Updates from the previous round

  • We expect to grant more money this time than the last time ($686,580), as we have more members and people still haven’t deployed their yearly spending, which was the case for many members the last time around. Our expected grant amount this time around is $500k - $3mio, though this is still uncertain and is dependent on funder-applicant fit. 
  • We are now 10 members in the circle, up from 9 last time around. 
  • We expect to fund many initiatives not on this list, but some projects that members of our circle have expressed extra interest in funding this round:
    • Effective Giving/Giving multiplier-organizations, such as the ones incubated by CE’s Effective Giving Incubation program.
    • Career development programs, that increase the number of individuals working in high-impact areas, including GCR reduction, animal welfare and Global Health
      • Especially in regions where there currently are fewer opportunities to engage in such programs
    • Research/Mapping of the Meta space, to better understand current gaps and opportunities.

Information for this round

In this part we will outline the application process and guide you as an applicant to create a good application. We expect all applicants to have read this part to inform themselves.

Process

The expected process is as follows:

  • Applications open, February 26th
    • Stick to 100 words in the summary, this should give a quick overview of the project.
    • In the full project description, please include a main summarizing document no longer than 2 pages. This is all we can commit to reading for the first stage. Any extra material can only be expected to be read if we choose to go further with your application.
    • When choosing the “Meta” category, please be as truthful as possible, it’s obvious (and reflects negatively on the application) when a project has deliberately been placed in a category in which it does not belong.
  • Applications close, March 24th
  • Initial application review finished, March 31st
    • If your project has been filtered out during the initial application review (which we expect 60-80% of applications will), we will let you know around the end of April.
  • Interviews, due diligence, deliberations, April 1st - May 14th
    • If your application has passed the initial application review, we will discuss it during our gatherings and we might reach out to you to gather more information, for example by conducting an interview. This is still not a commitment from us to fund you.
  • Decisions made, May 15th
    • We expect to pay out the grants in the weeks following the decisions.

What we mean by Meta

A common reason for rejection in the last round was that projects were not within scope for the funding circle. We recognize that this was primarily our fault as we never clearly defined it, so we will try to make it a bit clearer here.

Meta organizations are those that operate one step removed from direct impact interventions. These can focus on the infrastructure, evaluation, and strategic guidance necessary for the broader field to maximize effectiveness and impact. They are essential in bridging gaps, identifying high-impact opportunities, and enabling other organizations to achieve or amplify their end-product impact.

Below we will list a couple of illustrative examples. Note that we only chose these examples because we think the organizations are well known, and thus more likely to give people an understanding of the type of work we want to fund. We are not saying that we intend to fund these organizations.

Clear Passes

  • Charity evaluators like GiveWell: These organizations assess and recommend high-impact charities, ensuring donors can contribute effectively to causes with confidence in their impact.
  • Incubators like Charity Entrepreneurship: They support the creation and development of high-impact charities, providing resources, mentorship, and strategic advice to nascent organizations.
  • Cause prioritization research like Rethink Priorities: These entities conduct research to identify and prioritize the most pressing causes, guiding resources and efforts towards areas where they can achieve the greatest impact.
  • Field-building organizations like 80k: Initiatives aimed at promoting impactful careers, thereby increasing the number of individuals working in high-impact areas.

Organizations whose primary impact comes from first-order interventions fall out of the scope of the funding circle.

What we’re looking for in an application

Some general things we are looking for in an application that we would like to highlight: 

  • In our 1st round retrospective, we have the section “The most common reasons for rejection”, where we hope that we can make it easier for applicants to avoid the most common mistakes people make in their applications. We would especially like to highlight:
    • Scope: Please read "What we mean by Meta" and think through if your project is within scope.
    • Theory of Change: A common reason for rejection in the last round was that “The theory of change was unclear, unfocused, or seemed implausible”. You need to help us understand how your project ends up contributing to a better world. Please read Aidan Alexander’s post on ToC’s to better understand how to make a good ToC. Highlighting the flaws/uncertainties in your own model and the information you are trying to gather by running this project is a big plus.
  • Strong founders/Track record: We think one of the strongest indicators for future success is the people related to a project and previous achievements. In your application, please explain how and why you/your organization are well suited to run this project. Back up your claims with data to the extent you can, this includes historical data for this project, data for similar projects, or data that attests to the (relevant) skills of the team. If possible, also think through and highlight how your project excels compared to other similar projects.
  • Strategic alignment with field needs: Applications should demonstrate an understanding of the ecosystem and articulate a rationale for why their project is necessary at this time. Why this? Why now? Why has no one been doing this before and is it reasonable that you are applying for X FTEs to do it instead of doing an MVP first?
  • Price tag: Think through the amount of funding you are applying for. We as funders, try to put a price tag on what you intend to deliver. We are looking for the highest impact use of a marginal $, this means that price tag matters compared to what you are going to deliver. Conversely, if it seems you significantly underestimate the costs, you likely won’t be able to deliver what you say you will if you get funded.

Transparency

Individual donors working together

We want to stress that since this is a funding circle and not a grantmaking organization, all members are responsible for their own donations. This means that funding decisions are made personally by individual circle members and do not necessarily reflect the priorities of the funding circle in its entirety. 

Time committed by funders

The funding circle is an activity the funders do on the side of their normal jobs. 

In the week before applications close and the week afterwards, members expect to spend a cumulative ~100 hours doing an initial application review. This means that we will not have the time to thoroughly review each application in the first stage and we urge applicants to keep this in mind when writing the applications.

Feedback

Unfortunately, we can’t commit to giving individual feedback to any applicants, as i) It is time-consuming and we are already working on a strained time budget. ii) We are not one, but ~10 actors, so any feedback from one actor might not be true for another, which means it's unclear whether the feedback is even true, or provides value for the applicant. Therefore, we will resort to including some more general feedback in our retrospective.




 

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