I'm about to start a new job, so I will be able to donate a lot more money to charity in the coming year, but I'm really confused as to where I ought to donate. Some information about my situation and beliefs:

  • I'll be earning about $100,000 after taxes, so I anticipate that I'll want to donate between $1,000 and $5,000. I also run annual birthday fundraisers every October from my Facebook account - this year, I pulled in $400 for the Clean Air Task Force. I try to pick charities that are both high-impact by EA lights and within popular causes like climate change, so I'll be able to spend more of my own money on more neglected or obscure causes.
  • I believe that future generations and animal lives have value. This makes me think that I should donate to organizations like the Wild Animal Initiative and Fish Welfare Initiative, which may be able to help billions of animals going into the future.
  • Although I care a lot about existential risks, I worry that a lot of longtermist funding is going toward AI safety, and not enough EA funding is going toward more neglected and obscure x-risks, such as the ones on this list. I would like to see more research into how x-risks compare against one another to help with prioritization, and I would like to fund more work on underfunded areas like s-risks. Also, I'm hesitant to donate to the LTFF because it seems over-weighted toward AI safety, but I'm open to being persuaded that I should still donate to it or that AIS is underfunded.
  • I'm interested in funding "broad longtermist" interventions - ones that make society better able to deal with future challenges in general, like better institutional decision-making, reducing great-power conflict, and protecting liberal democracy. Ben Todd notes (10:34 in this talk) that this category is greatly under-resourced. I care about liberal democracy for longtermist as well as non-EA reasons, and although it seems like it's already really popular, I'm not confident that the existing funding is going to the best interventions.
  • I'm also interested in longtermist interventions to reduce global poverty and promote economic growth - maybe something like the Center for Global Development?

I would appreciate any advice as to where I should donate and what proportions I should allocate to each org in the coming year, given what I've said here.

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Congratulations on the job!

  • I'm interested in funding "broad longtermist" interventions - ones that make society better able to deal with future challenges in general, like better institutional decision-making, reducing great-power conflict, and protecting liberal democracy. Ben Todd notes (10:34 in this talk) that this category is greatly under-resourced. I care about liberal democracy for longtermist as well as non-EA reasons, and although it seems like it's already really popular, I'm not confident that the existing funding is going to the best interventions.

FYI, Effective Institutions Project is highly funding-constrained and would welcome gifts in the range you're thinking about. I agree with Ben that the category in general could benefit from a lot more funding, especially to help establish strategic foundations for the work going forward.

Separately, I run a giving circle focused on liberal democracy interventions in the United States specifically and am happy to talk further about options in that space if you like. Feel free to PM me to set up a call.

How does one donate to the Effective Institutions Project?

5IanDavidMoss7dThanks for your interest! I'm hoping to get us set up for online donations in the near future, but until then, the easiest thing is to write me here or at ian@effectiveinstitutionsproject.org [ian@effectiveinstitutionsproject.org] and I'll send you some options for check/wire.

I donate to, and generally advise other small donors to donate to, a donor lottery, for roughly the reasons outlined here.

In the vein of “democracy promotion” and “longer-term/less measurable global development interventions,” you might consider donating to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and/or Partnership for Transparency Fund. I know more about ICIJ than Partnership for Transparency, but both strike me as a very strong organizations with impressive track records in fighting corruption in low- and middle-income countries. In addition to anecdotes of their achievements, there is also a growing body of evidence in economics showing that local investigative journalism can have really striking (positive) effects on various sorts of favorable political outcomes. Admittedly, most of this evidence, as far as I’m aware, is not from LMICs. Assuming it generalizes to that context, though (and I think there is good reason to believe it does), ICIJ in particular may be one of the few organizations out there with a reasonable prospect of cost-effectively improving the quality of institutions in LMICs, which (as others have noted elsewhere on this forum) is likely quite important for bringing about faster economic growth and other related positive development outcomes.

Can you link to some studies on the political effects of local investigative journalism?

8HStencil6dYeah, I’d be happy to, but I may not get around to it until next week, if that’s alright.
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Congratulations on the new job! That's very exciting :)

Thank you so much!