$8003.98 Charity Entrepreneurship
$5000 Insect Institute
$5000 Shrimp Welfare Project
$5000 Rethink Priorities
$5000 Animal Ethics
$1000 Wild Animal Initiative
I think it’s good to keep track of and explain donations. It creates a record to get better over time and gives others insights into how you donate.
I officially made $45000 in 2023. I earned some investment income from some other sources though this is hard to quantify. I also had some savings from previous years so don’t come away from this thinking that I gave such a substantial portion of my income. That said, I am still giving away a significant portion of my income this year. I think this is a good thing and hopefully, I can serve as an example to others to give away a significant portion of their income, even if it isn’t that high.
In total, I am giving away $29,003.98 this year though some of this ($11,000) will come from my donations from Manifold mana (This isn’t including my Manifund regranting balance).
I primarily prioritize animal welfare in my personal donations since I think that on the margin, it is greatly neglected compared to other EA priorities and leads to orders of magnitude more suffering reduction compared to GHP charities. Furthermore, I am a regrantor through Manifund where I get to give to “longtermist” focused organizations, and thus my personal donations this year are focused on animal welfare.
I think there is a good argument that if one is donating a modest sum of money, they shouldn’t seek to diversify and mainly aim to figure out the best place for them to donate. I think this is a good argument but I have (clearly) elected not to. There are a few reasons for this. First, there is a pretty good chance that my donation numbers are going to go up a lot in the next few years, more than I could give to any one organization. I, therefore, think it is a good idea to form connections with several organizations early about whom I will support later with larger amounts. I also think it is beneficial to charities to have a somewhat but not overly diverse set of donors. I think I’m a large enough donor to many charities to be meaningful but not course-altering.
The summary of my donations can be seen at the top of the post, here I will break them down.
Charity Entrepreneurship - $8003.98
I will start by admitting that this was the least intentional of my donations. I had money in my Charitable Impact account and due to changes in Canadian tax law, I couldn’t give this away to many places. I was helped to find a route for this money to Charity Entrepreneurship and thus I gave away the entire remaining balance there.
This isn’t to say I don’t think this is a very worthwhile donation. I think it is. Charity Entrepreneurship seems to be incubating about 1-2 highly effective charities per year that seem to be scaling quite well. This is crucial to effective altruism being able to scale while maintaining as high of a cost effectiveness as possible. I think they currently seem to have enough money but I would like to see CE get a bit more ambitious and scale their stuff harder which I seem to see them doing.
Insect Institute - $5000
I think insects have a decent probability of sentience and the sheer number of insects is staggering. Even with a very tiny chance that these beings matter, expected value math works out such that averting the suffering of insects is extremely cost-effective. The Insect Institute is the best place I know of to help insects as they are working on lobbying to prevent the takeoff of insect farming. Insects are also extremely neglected. They aren’t very cute and generally, outside of EA, very few people seem to care about insects. That said, the arguments for caring about insect welfare are very good. I think in many worlds, this is among my most effective donations.
Shrimp Welfare Project - $5000
Many people reading this section are going to come over from Manifold since I gave this donation with mana and it was considered a very peculiar and to be frank, made-fun-of donation. Therefore, I am going to explain this donation with a tinge of prediction market vocabulary.
The world currently operates as if there are prediction markets priced at 0.0% on markets such as “Are shrimp sentient?” and “Do shrimp’s experiences matter morally?” I think the true probability here is about 30-40%. I think lots of good work has gone into studying this to back up my probabilities here. Now, while there are no markets for me to bet “yes” at 0.0%, collecting lots of shares and making lots of money in expectation, one thing I can do is donate to the Shrimp Welfare Project.
The Shrimp Welfare Project aims to reduce shrimp suffering in three main ways; improving water quality, humane slaughter, and continuous research into improving shrimp’s lives. The numbers of farmed shrimp are staggering with ~440 billion shrimps being farmed each year. This is more than 5x the total number of all farmed land animals put together and they are living in quite horrible conditions with eyestalk ablation, poor water quality, and a high risk of disease.
I think this is a very good bet here and one I expect to make at the end of 2024 as well.
Rethink Priorities - $5000
Rethink Priorities seems to continue to put out the best EA research that I know of that has a great track record of producing actionable effects on the EA community years later.
I think it is important to invest in research that informs what the community should be doing. I don’t know the right amount of research for the community to be doing of course but I do think there is a potential tragedy of the commons that is possible in funding this public good for EA where people get to “freeload” off the benefits of RP’s work. I think an elegant solution to this is for most people to give a portion of their budget to the research that informs their other actions/donations.
They do need money. I don’t know how RP should be funded, or how much. But probably differently than the status quo of restrictive and private client work doing the bulk of their funding such that they can then research what they think is important. Many also seem to assume that RP, as a well-established EA institution, doesn’t need more funds but through reading and conversations with RP, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all and an RP that pursues most of what they think is important seems like a good thing.
I’m a bit concerned that they could increase their frugality. As I understand it, staff are paid quite highly and I’ve heard of expenditures that a lower-budget organization could go without. That said, effective giving is caring about results and RP’s research works in my opinion make it the best place to donate for EA research.
Animal Ethics - $5000
Animal Ethics seems to be the organization that is currently best working at the intersection of animal welfare and longtermism, thinking about and doing research and advocacy on helping non-human animals in the long term future. To be frank, I’m surprised more work isn’t being done on this with a more explicit focus. Nonetheless, I’m quite impressed with Animal Ethics’ work of spreading animal ethics and the importance of animal sentience around the world and reaching so many people. I am also impressed with the breadth and depth of content that they are generating.
Furthermore, in conversations with Oscar Horta and others at Animal Ethics, they seem to really be thinking very hard about animal welfare policies for the long term and just generally deeply thinking about animal ethics in clever ways from speciesism, to advocacy to translating important content in other languages and establishing a presence outside of the West.
Animal Ethics also operates on a tiny budget. Last I checked, they were a 40-person organization with a total budget of $200,000. I expect my donation to go a long way here. I’m surprised more EA donations aren’t going here given the above.
Wild Animal Initiative - $1000
This was admittedly a bit of a last-minute donation when I was asked to donate here and it is a bit of a token donation/signalling donation. I think wild animal suffering could be among the largest and most neglected causes around. I wish I had more to give here but my sense is that they do have a lot of funding right now.