Should there be an "EA Donation Index Fund" that allows people to simply "donate the market" (similar to how index funds like the S&P500 allow for simply buying the market)? This fund could allocate donations to EA orgs in proportion to the total donations that those funds receive (from EA sources?) over the year (it would perhaps make sense for there to be a few such funds – such as one for EA as a whole, one for longtermism, one for global health and development, etc).I see a few potential benefits:• People who want to donate effectively (and especially if wanting to diversify donations) but don't have the knowledge/expertise/time/etc, and for whatever reason don't necessarily trust EA funds to donate appropriately on their behalf, could do so. I expect there may be many people holding back from donating now for lack of a sense of how to donate best (including from people on the periphery of EA), so this might increase donations. I further expect the quality of donations would increase from those not as knowledgable, if they simply donated the market.• Could be lower overhead and more scalable compared to other funds.• Aesthetically, I'd imagine this sort of setup might appeal to finance people, and finance people have a lot of money, so it may widen to pool of donors to EA.• Index fund donations would effectively be matching donations – if, for instance, half of all EA donations were through an EA index fund, then that would mean direct donations to specific charities would be matched by moving money from the index fund towards the specific charity as well (of course, at the expense of other charities in the fund) – this would arguably provide greater incentive for direct donors to donate more (at least insofar as they thought they knew more than/had better values than the market, but that would be their revealed preference from choosing to be direct donors instead of just donating to the index fund).
A good "default option" that might look like this (and some other similar ideas) is something we are looking at with GWWC.
How would you define which things were in the fund and which weren't?
Presumably someone (or a group) would have to create a list (potentially after creating an explicit set of criteria), and then the list would be updated periodically (say, yearly).
How does that differ from the current funds (Givewell Maximum impact). If it's gonna be just matching the current giving, while I wouldn't give to it, I can imagine some would like it and it would be a pretty good fund, so fair, I guess.
I think you answered your own question? The index fund would just allocate in proportion to current donations, reducing both overhead for fund managers and the necessity to trust the managers' judgement (other than for deciding which charities do/don't qualify to begin with). I'd imagine the value of the index fund might increase as EA grows and the number of manager-directed funds increases (as many individual donors wouldn't know which direct fund to give to, and the index fund would track donations as a whole, including to direct funds).
Would you also be interested in a Donation Index Fund? Basically your idea but don't maintain a non-market-driven whitelist of EA funds, and consider all charities on earth instead.
Isn't this much worse than EA funds?
From an EA perspective, yep.
Not just EA funds, I think (almost?) all random, uninformed EA donations would be much better than donations to an Index fund considering all charities on Earth.
I meant EA funds with a lowercase "f"