GraceAdams

Head of Marketing @ Giving What We Can
1569 karmaJoined Dec 2021Working (6-15 years)Melbourne VIC, Australia

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Head of Marketing at Giving What We Can

grace.adams @ givingwhatwecan.org

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42

I'd like to extend a massive thank you to Gemma, Chris and Denise for volunteering their time and energy to run the GWWC London Group! I'm really excited about the potential for this group (and the others we're seeding around the globe) - and none of it would happen without the generosity of volunteers!

I'm really excited to return to London next year and hopefully attend an event!!!

I think of my veganism in the same way! 

Thanks for sharing, Lizka! and thanks to everyone else for sharing their voices in the comments too!

I liked this post from Samie which talks about some factors for financial planning and security that are helping when thinking about donating - I liked the ideas about income protection insurance and thinking about financial goals.

I personally took a trial pledge for 3% of my income for a year before deciding I could really commit to the full GWWC Pledge. I've had ongoing health issues throughout my adulthood which at times meant I wasn't able to work full time and was concerned about my ability to potentially earn an income in the future - so it was a really big deal to me to sign a lifetime pledge.

There were a couple of things that pushed me over the edge to take the full pledge:

  1. Feeling like I did have enough saved that if I had to reduce my work hours that I could still afford to donate. I've been fortunate to be working from the age of 20 and lived with my parents for many years so I could save money.
  2. Knowing if that if I couldn't work anymore that I wouldn't be liable for donations under the pledge (just a suggested 1% of spending money) or that I could always resign if I needed to. On this point, I didn't want to let the fear of my health potentially declining be a reason not to make an important commitment to do good - I like the marriage analogy with the pledge, as mentioned by others here. 
  3. Knowing that even on a modest income in Australia (or even on government benefits), I would still be really well off in comparison to the majority of people alive right now. My own health issues and suffering have been a big part of understanding how positively my donations could impact the lives of others, and I find that really personally motivating. 

I think it's really up to each individual to figure out how much runway to save up, because our circumstances are all quite different (i.e. family, health, government policies, likelihood of changes to income level etc). I do think it was easier for me to sign a lifetime pledge because I have a family who are likely to be able to support me if things were really dire.

Taking the GWWC Pledge is a big commitment and I would recommend that people think carefully about it before doing so. I think a Trial Pledge is a great step and I'm really excited about the value of having people show that they're donating on a public register, even without the lifetime commitment, because this helps normalise effective giving and giving more broadly as a positive social norm!

(I work for GWWC but this was written in my personal capacity)

Hey Caleb!

(I'm writing this in my personal capacity, though I work at GWWC)

On 1: While I think that giving 10% is a great norm for us to have in the community (and to inspire people worldwide who are able to do the same), I don't think there should be pressure for people to take a pledge or donate who don't feel inspired to do so - I'd like to see a community where people can engage in ways that make sense for them and feel welcomed regardless of their donation habits or career choices, as long as they are genuinely engaging with wanting to do good effectively. 

On 3: I think it makes sense for people to build up some runway or sense of financial stability, and that they should generally factor this in when considering donating or taking a pledge. I personally only increased my donations to >10% after I felt I had enough financial stability to manage ongoing health issues. 

I do think that people should consider how much runway or savings they really need though, and whether small adjustments in lifestyle could increase their savings and allow for more funds to donate - after all, many of us are still in the top few % of global income earners even after taking jobs that are less than we would getting in the private sector.

Many people see the commitment of the pledge to give 10% as one over their lifetime, so if you needed to drop back to build up runway for a while, with the intention of donating more in the following years once your finances were more secure, I personally think that would be an acceptable way to fulfil the pledge!

There's no strict requirement that donations need to be made each year, but GWWC does encourage regular giving where possible.

(FYI I work at GWWC)

Some of my loose thoughts on this are:

  • Many EA groups are focused on fellowships/programs that require a lot of engagement
  • Many EA groups have a longtermist focus
  • Many EA groups prioritise careers over donations, which can make people feel like if they're only donating that they don't belong
  • Many EA group members use a lot of jargon, technical terms, or have social norms that can make it hard for lower context people to feel welcome or engaged. Another way of putting this is that EA groups can feel a bit "in-group"-y.

The types of people that generally attend GWWC/effective giving events tend to be:

  • More focused on global health and wellbeing
  • Lower context on EA, and often unfamiliar with jargon
  • More likely to have a minor interest in effective altruism (and less of a desire for this to become their main social group)

I actually think more "effective giving sub-groups" within EA groups is a great idea, but I would be careful to make sure that it's truly serving those who want to attend that group.  

My hope with the new GWWC groups is that they are really accessible, and welcoming to people at all levels of engagement with effective giving and effective altruism. I'd like to see groups thinking about how to include parents more, and how to reach people that might not typically come along to EA group events. Effective giving is a concept that I think almost everyone could benefit from, so I think creating an inclusive environment is really important. Earlier this year I wrote a guide with One for the World about running safe and inclusive events which covers some of this: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/CtACh7xRBFnpK3NW4/guide-to-safe-and-inclusive-events-by-gwwc-and-oftw

It's hard to generalise as EA groups vary a lot in terms of their focus, and engagement strategies but I hope some of the above is helpful!

I very sympathetic to people who care about high air quality and ventilation for health reasons!

By default, I often try to host events outdoors when I can, when the weather is good and generally try to keep spaces well ventilated.

I also think it can make sense to explicitly ask people who feel unwell at all to stay at home in communications prior to the event.

And I think it’s very reasonable for people with concerns to enquire with the hosts about things like this prior to the event!

I also think having some virtual events for those who might not want to or be able to attend in person events makes sense.

I might add something to the guide about this :)

A lovely post Michel! Do you mind if we share it on the GWWC social media?

That's a really good point! I'll make a note to update the guide to include a note about this! 

I actually do have this in a template for slides for events organisers are doing! I've also included in a doc on how to run events that it's important to set the tone for the event, and that this can be a good time to speak about what behaviours you do (and don't) want to see!

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