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Effective Pro Bono Projects

by RobertHarling 1 min read2nd Sep 20198 comments


I am currently interning at an economic consultancy firm in London. Some of my colleagues are aware that I'm involved in Effective Altruism and I've briefly tried to explain EA to some of them. Consequently, I've been asked by my manager to make some proposals about how the firm could use its work to do good.

The firm has previously conducted pro bono work in civil liberties cases in the US, and every year donates money to multiple charities. However the charities have to be US or UK focused and all pro bono work I'm aware of has been US focused.

I want to make suggestions that would be as effective as possible and also somewhat likely to be followed through on by the firm. I was wondering if anyone would have any suggestions?

For more background, the firm primarily produces expert reports for court for the defence of companies in litigation. Most of the staff are Econ graduates or Econ PhDs. My first thought would be doing economic analysis for effective charities however I'm unsure how to recommend the firm could go about doing this.

Any ideas or guidance is much appreciated, thank you.

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3 Answers

I'm not sure if it would fall into your wheelhouse but some of the folks at Charity Entrepreneurship (including myself) are looking into effective taxation models starting with tobacco and I'm sure we could find a place for some econ help. Happy to chat at joelburke2014@gmail.com - more info about tobacco taxation and why it's effective here http://www.charityentrepreneurship.com/blog/tobacco-taxation

I run http://sogive.org, which produces analysis on charities. We have run many volunteer events by now, occasionally in-house in a company when the company wants to run a team/group volunteering event. We teach them the SoGive method of analysing charities, and then get them to work through a bunch of charities. If you think this might be of interest to you, feel free to contact me on sanjay [at] sogive.org

I would suggest at least 2 things:

  1. If you can get people doing research for a concerted period of time then consider contacting someone like the Global Priorities Institute to see which research areas they recommend. Incentive for the firm is that they would get their employees published which they could use for project proposals
  2. I think pro bono economics are always looking for people to help perform impact analyses so you contact them too to get some of your employees helping on their projects. Less of an incentive for the firm here but it develops data management and analysis skills and is less time-intense than taking on a research project https://www.probonoeconomics.com/about