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Rethink Priorities’ (RP’s) Special Projects (SP) Team is looking for new impactful projects we can support in 2024!

Key Points

About the Special Projects Program

The SP team provides fee-based fiscal sponsorship and support to projects that are led by individuals outside of RP. Within this model, the project’s founders maintain autonomy and decision-making authority while we provide them with operational support and fiduciary oversight and share our tax-exempt status. Each project is assigned a dedicated point of contact within the Special Project team, to guarantee effective communication and tailored support.

We will have capacity to take on more projects from the beginning of 2024. 
 

How to apply

If you need fiscal sponsorship and operational support and have funding or anticipate receiving funding for work that aligns with RP’s mission and vision, we encourage you to send in a new or updated expression of interest via our online form (which should take 5-10 minutes to complete).  

We would ideally like to receive expressions of interest by January 5th, 2024 and will follow up with applicants on the next stage of our selection process in the following two weeks. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch. We look forward to hearing more about your projects and learning more about how working with the Special Projects team could help maximize your impact! Please note, RP observes a winter break starting December 18th and we will not be checking inboxes again until January 2nd. 

We expect projects to comply with your country’s applicable laws, RP’s employment practices (particularly our anti-harassment and conflict of interest policies), and other responsibilities described in the fiscal sponsorship agreement that you would sign with us. These are designed to help everyone enjoy a safe and inclusive workspace and to ensure that RP and your project can continue to benefit from our status as a nonprofit organization.
 

Our Services

The exact services we provide depend on the project, and may include:

  • Fiscal sponsorship
    • Receiving tax exempt grant funds
    • Handling tax and legal compliance issues
    • Accounting
  • Finance and benefits administration
    • Hiring as employees [via our U.S. or U.K. legal entities, or internationally via our EOR, in compliance with local laws]. We can legally hire in many countries.
    • Managing employee benefits and payroll
    • Invoicing and contracting / purchasing and reimbursements
    • Helping manage project budgets
    • Getting work visas in the U.S. or U.K. [we cannot guarantee the outcome of any visa applications, and would discuss options if unsuccessful, etc.]
    • Researching legal and operational issues 
  • Recruitment/hiring
    • Running hiring rounds
    • Develop hiring and interview materials 
  • Fundraising support
    • Coordinating and reviewing grant applications (please note that we are not able to write grant applications or speak to funders on our projects’ behalf)
    • Managing individual donations from project websites
  • Other support
    • Training and upskilling managers and supporting goal-setting, performance management and performance review
    • Communications, such as writing newsletters and website copy
    • Writing business plans for entrepreneurial projects
    • Helping to run competitions or requests for proposals
    • Providing ad hoc operational support
  • Event planning
     

Commendations
 

RP's fiscal sponsorship was hugely impactful for [Existential Risk Alliance] ERA. Instead of juggling operational hassles, we have been laser-focused on our mission. We managed to run 34 fellowship events, provide regular weekly 1-1 support to all our fellows, and share our insights through in-depth retrospective posts all because we had the freedom to channel our energies solely towards making the ERA Cambridge Fellowship impactful. RP's support isn't just logistical: they truly understand the nuances of having impact, ensuring every effort is directly aligned with our overall mission and theory of change.

—Nandini Shiralkar, on the counterfactual impact of RP’s fiscal sponsorship for Existential Risk Alliance

The support from the Special Projects team has been instrumental for the development of Epoch. We could not have managed our recent hiring rounds without it, and you have freed hundreds of hours of work that otherwise we would have had to put into operations.

—Jaime Sevilla, on the value of the Special Projects team for Epoch

See a further description of these Special Projects below:

Apollo Research is an AI alignment organization. Their agenda includes technical research on interpretability and behavioral model evaluations, AI auditing and contributions to AI governance. They are currently focused on detecting deception in advanced AI models but will branch out to other evaluations in the future. 
Condor Camp is an annual immersion for highly talented young university students to discuss the world's most pressing problems and the future of humanity, and to hone the skills needed to solve them.
Epoch is a research group forecasting the development of transformative artificial intelligence. They analyze how progress in AI happens and forecast potential economic impacts that may stem from advanced AI systems. Their research aims to understand the resources and capabilities leading to new developments in AI, studying which levers can be used to influence progress, and using past trends to inform future decisions. 
The Effective Altruism Consulting Network (EACN) is a professional network of over 1,000 current, former, and prospective business consultants who are interested in using evidence and reason to increase the social impact of their careers. The EACN offers targeted career transition guidance, provides referrals for high-impact organizations looking to hire consultant talent, hosts networking events, and curates resources encouraging their members to take actionable steps toward making the world a better place.

The Existential Risk Alliance (ERA) Cambridge Fellowship is an eight-week paid program focused on existential risk mitigation research projects and aimed at all aspiring researchers, including undergraduates. 


 

Fellows will experience a summer working in Cambridge, receive free accommodation and transport, and gain support via mentorship from our network of researchers, policymakers, and grantmakers. They will also have the opportunity to work independently or in a group project with other fellows. 

The Quantified Uncertainty Research Institute (QURI) develops software and research to help improve forecasting of events in the near-to-mid term future (5-30 years). QURI’s work is designed to support government and philanthropic decisions to become significantly more effective, providing greater resilience and adaptation to the many challenges the future will bring. 


 

The Insect Institute aims to address challenges and uncertainties related to the production and use of insects for food and feed. They aim to assist this novel industry, policymakers, and other interested parties by providing evidence-based information surrounding the rearing of insects and the creation of a food system that promotes public health, animal welfare, and sustainable protein production.

 

Acknowledgements

This was written by Kieran Greig and Matthew Fargo. Thanks to Lara La Barbera and Kevin Neilon for their helpful feedback. 

This is a program of Rethink Priorities, a global priority think-and-do tank, aiming to do good at scale. We research pressing opportunities and implement solutions to make the world better. We act upon these opportunities by developing and implementing strategies, projects, and solutions to address key issues. We do this work in close partnership with a variety of organizations including foundations and impact-focused nonprofits. If you're interested in Rethink Priorities' work, please consider subscribing to our newsletter. You can explore our completed public work here.

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