Since late 2021 Effective Altruism Funds (EA Funds) and Giving What We Can (GWWC) have been going through a restructure. EA Funds has moved towards focussing primarily on grantmaking and GWWC has taken over the management of the donation platform.
In April 2022 we soft-launched a rebranded GWWC donation portal. Over the coming months the donation specific functionality of funds.effectivealtruism.org will be retired and redirected to GWWC's version of the donation platform (the pages related to the four EA Funds and grantmaking will continue on funds.effectivealtruism.org and the homepage will become more grantee focused). A new GWWC website is currently under development which will include a fully integrated donation experience (as well as improving our pledge dashboard and signup process).
As well as the donation platform, GWWC will continue to support the donor lottery, EffectiveCrypto.org and any of the other formerly EA Funds activities relating to fundraising while maintaining our existing work promoting effective giving (e.g. pledge, community, guides, talks, marketing campaigns and research).
EA Funds will continue to manage the grantmaking activities of their four Funds and will at some point post an update about their plans moving forward and this includes some of the reasoning for this restructure decision. GWWC has also recently posted an update about our strategy which is very relevant to this decision.
We will be consulting with donors, stakeholders and the broader community about the future of the donation platform and how we can best support effective giving within the community.
Please don't hesitate to get in touch with any feedback, suggestions, requests, or concerns.
We look forward to this next chapter and are excited to continue our mission to create a world where giving effectively and significantly is a cultural norm!
As a user of the EA Funds and a GWWC member, this feels like it will make things more confusing.
The EA Funds today has IMO a pretty good website. There are two things I expect the EA Funds to do: take donations and give grants. It is pretty clear immediately from the front page where to go to do either, although I would be on board with promoting the "get funded" call to action to be as prominent as the "donate" call to action.
However, moving the donation part feels less good to me. Now the website for the funds doesn't let me donate? Where do I donate? At this other website attached to this other organization? That's odd. Why not just have a simple donation page on your website (thinks my naive brain). Hopefully there will at least be a link from the EA Funds website to the donation page!
Associating the EA Funds with GWWC also feels odd to me from a branding perspective. Historically GWWC has felt associated more with the global health and development arm of EA, whereas the EA Funds are quite neutral and have funds for a variety of things. This also makes GWWC less of the "unobjectionable gateway drug" of EA, because now a donor will immediately find themselves presented with options to donate to "weird stuff". Maybe that's not really a problem, I'm not sure.
Ultimately it sounds like this reflects an underlying organizational change whereby the EA Funds teams wants to focus on grantmaking, and Conway's Law says that if they're not going to think about donations, then you probably will end up having to manage the donations elsewhere. So maybe it's inevitable.
Thanks for your feedback Michael!
You will still be able to donate to the four EA Funds (either directly or with a link to GWWC) via the EA Funds website. This would be similar to the Founders Pledge Climate Fund or the Patient Philanthropy Fund, or GiveWell's Maximum Impact Fund (for people in the UK/NL) where they point to us to facilitate the donations either because they are not set up to take donations from individuals anywhere or in a specific country.
GWWC has officially been cause neutral since 2015 but has only made significant efforts to represent that more fully on the website since 2020. You can see some of that on our current website and I'd love it if you'd be interested in giving feedback on our direction moving forward with the new website (please DM me if you're interested as we are actively looking for reviewers as we go through a major redesign).
In terms of the 'options to donate to "weird stuff"' this is part of the reasoning for the change. Many users of the funds platform are surprised when they see some of the grantmaking decisions as it is. Additionally, other organisations (like Open Philanthropy and FTX Future Fund) are scaling up their grantmaking for this kind of activity also which means that this type of thing will have more funding sources, and CEA themselves are just funding more things directly (e.g. things related to community building or events). This also means that the fungibility situation is quite different to when the platform launched in 2017.
On the new donation portal GWWC will be more focused on providing more legible options within all cause areas to ensure there's a smooth pathway from complete newcomer to engaged donor to engaged EA. The four EA Funds will still be supported among the options available to donors.
There are both organisational reasons and strategic (brand/mission etc) reasons for this. We posted the parts that are relevant to GWWC in our recent public update on our strategy but I'll leave the EA Funds team to share their reasoning in their forthcoming post.
Additionally, the #1 source of traffic and new donors to the EA Funds donation portal was coming from GWWC (which has almost 10x the traffic than EA Funds) so in terms of the user experience we felt that a native donation experience within GWWC would be more natural for most users.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm very keen to get feedback (especially object level stuff) and would love to chat further.
Thanks, this was very helpful!
Glad to hear it!