Effective giving
Effective giving
Finding effective donation opportunities, discussing giving strategies, and coordinating with other donors

Quick takes

David Rubinstein recently interviewed Philippe Laffont, the founder of Coatue (probably worth $5-10b). When asked about his philanthropic activities, Laffont basically said he’s been too busy to think about it, but wanted to do something someday. I admit I was shocked. Laffont is a savant technology investor and entrepreneur (including in AI companies) and it sounded like he literally hadn’t put much thought into what to do with his fortune. Are there concerted efforts in the EA community to get these people on board? Like, is there a google doc with a six degrees of separation plan to get dinner with Laffont? The guy went to MIT and invests in AI companies. In just wouldn’t be hard to get in touch. It seems like increasing the probability he aims some of his fortune at effective charities would justify a significant effort here. And I imagine there are dozens or hundreds of people like this. Am I missing some obvious reason this isn’t worth pursuing or likely to fail? Have people tried? I’m a bit of an outsider here so I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on what I’m sure seems like a pretty naive take! https://youtu.be/_nuSOMooReY?si=6582NoLPtSYRwdMe
Marcus Daniell appreciation note @Marcus Daniell, cofounder of High Impact Athletes, came back from knee surgery and is donating half of his prize money this year. He projects raising $100,000. Through a partnership with Momentum, people can pledge to donate for each point he gets; he has raised $28,000 through this so far. It's cool to see this, and I'm wishing him luck for his final year of professional play!
If you believe that: - ASI might come fairly soon - ASI will either fix most of the easy problems quickly, or wipe us out - You have no plausible way of robustly shaping the outcome of the arrival of ASI for the better does it follow that you should spend a lot more on near-term cause areas now? Are people doing this? I see some people argue for increasing consumption now, but surely this would apply even more so to donations to near-term cause areas?
Effective giving quick take for giving season This is quite half-baked because I think my social circle contains not very many E2G folks, but I have a feeling that when EA suddenly came into a lot more funding and the word on the street was that we were “talent constrained, not funding constrained”, some people earning to give ended up pretty jerked around, or at least feeling that way. They may have picked jobs and life plans based on the earn to give model, where it would be years before the plans came to fruition, and in the middle, they lost status and attention from their community. There might have been an additional dynamic where people who took the advice the most seriously ended up deeply embedded in other professional communities, so heard about the switch later or found it harder to reconnect with the community and the new priorities. I really don’t have an overall view on how bad all of this was, or if anyone should have done anything differently, but I do have a sense that EA has a bit of a feature of jerking people around like this, where priorities and advice change faster than the advice can be fully acted on. The world and the right priorities really do change, though; I’m not sure what should be done except to be clearer about all this, but I suspect it’s hard to properly convey “this seems like the absolute best thing in the world to do, also next year my view could be that it’s basically useless” even if you use those exact words. And maybe people have done this, or maybe it’s worth trying harder. Another approach would be something like insurance. A frame I’ve been more interested in lately (definitely not original to me) is that earning to give is a kind of resilience / robustness-add for EA, where more donors just means better ability to withstand crazy events, even if in most worlds the small donors aren’t adding much in the way of impact. Not clear that that nets out, but “good in case of tail risk” seems like an important aspect. A more
Ray Dalio is giving out free $50 donation vouchers: tisbest.org/rg/ray-dalio/ Still worked just a few minutes ago
I'm considering my future donation options, either directly to charities or through a fund. I know EA Funds is still somewhat cash constrained but I'm also a little concerned with the natural variance in grant quality.  I'd be interested in why others have or have not chosen to donate to EA Funds, and if so, would they again in the future? I respect people may prefer to answer this by DM, so please do feel free to drop me a message there if posting here feels uncomfortable.
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I feel a bit confused about how much I should be donating. 1. On the one hand there’s just a straight forward case that donating could help many sentient beings to a greater degree than it helps me. On the other hand, donating 10% for me feels like it’s coming from a place of fitting in with the EA consensus, gaining a certain kind of status and feeling good rather than believing it’s the best thing for me to do. 2. I’m also confused about whether I’m already donating a substantial fraction of my income. * I’m pretty confident that I’m taking at least a 10% pay-cut in my current role. If nothing else my salary right now is not adjusted for inflation which was ~8% last year so it feels like I’m at least underpaid by that amount (though it’s possible they were overpaying me before). Many of my friends earn more than twice as much as I do and I think if I negotiated hard for a 100% salary increase the board would likely comply. * So how much of my lost salary should I consider to be a donation? I think numbers between 0% and 100% are plausible. -50% also isn’t insane to me as my salary does funge with other peoples donations to charities. * One solution is that I should just negotiate for my salary from a non-altruistic perspective, and then decide how much I want to donate back to my organisation after that. This seems a bit inefficient though and I think we should be able to do better. 3. One reason I don’t donate ~50% of my salary is that I genuinely believe it’s more cost-effective for me to build runway than donate right now. I quite like the idea of discussing this with someone who strongly disagrees with me and I admire and see if they come round to my position. It feels a bit too easy to find reasons not to give, and I’m very aware of my own selfishness in many parts of my life.
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