Overview 

It is our pleasure to present to you our new EA organization, High Impact Professionals (HIP). Our vision is to enable EA working professionals to have the biggest positive impact possible. We imagine a community working together for the greater good, contributing not only through their money but also with their time and skills. We recently went through the 2021 Charity Entrepreneurship Incubation Program and received $100,000 in funding for our first full year of operations.

The rest of this document will outline:

  • The problem we are solving
  • How we are solving it
  • Our next steps
  • How you can get involved

Key Takeaways

  • We created HIP to maximize the impact of EA working professionals and solve several identified problems within the EA ecosystem.
  • We are going to pilot several promising interventions in year one to identify the most impactful path forward. We list them in the Pilots section of the post.
  • We have many ways you can get involved.
    • Our first pilot is workplace fundraising events. We have successfully run these in the past and are now helping EA working professionals (HIPs) host them at their organizations. If you are an EA working professional and want to increase your impact, become more engaged, and gain useful skills and EA career capital, register your interest to host a fundraising event. We will provide you with the resources and support needed to host a successful event.
    • We want to talk to more HIPs to get a better understanding of the needs of our community. Through our own giving of time and money, we have a sense of what might be needed but want to validate this with others in the community. If you are an EA working professional looking to have more impact please register your interest here. We encourage you to have a low bar for doing this: if you are considering it, just do it!
       

Please feel free to share with others you know who might be a good fit.

Thanks to Cillian Crosson, Ula Zarosa, Aaron Gertler, Jack Lewars, Jan-Willem Van Putten, and Brian Tan for their invaluable feedback on this announcement. All errors are our own.

Problem

Impact

According to the most recent EA Surveys, over half of all EAs are in the private sector and earning to give is the most common career choice amongst EAs with more than a third of votes cast. This group has resources like skills, time and money that they can contribute to high-impact organizations and through surveys have expressed a desire to do so. For example, the same survey revealed that a full 55% of EAs want to donate more, and more than one-third want to volunteer their time as a way to become more engaged. This means that the largest cohort of EAs is limited in their ultimate impact and seems to be facing a bottleneck.

EA Community Issues

In addition to impact problems, there have also been issues within the EA community that our organization can likely mitigate:

  • Funding diversification - a recent survey of 29 meta organizations revealed that a majority of those polled have a strong desire for more funding diversification for their organization.
  • Supply and demand issue with EA jobs - many EAs want to work for EA organizations but there are few positions available. This creates a lot of frustration for the many EAs that apply for an EA job but don’t get one. A recent forum post implies this could be a range of  47-124 people being rejected per role.
  • Insularity in EA - EA is quite insular and would likely benefit from stronger connections to the private sector, both to spread the ideas of EA more widely and to establish a more solid reputation for EA in wider circles.

Evidence

The rigorous research and selection process performed by Charity Entrepreneurship identified this idea as one of the top 3 most promising interventions amongst those considered. This process included a number of informed considerations, as well as a Cost-Effectiveness Analysis and interviews with experts, community leaders and Earning to Givers. More information is in their report.

The need is also proven by several successful organizations that work with certain subgroups of our target audience like Founders Pledge, Giving What We Can, or One for the World, as well as many national regranting organizations. In addition, there are several professional groups, such as EA Finance or the EA Consulting Network that are organized around similar strategies but are often constrained by the limited resources available and are not always aware of each other's existence. We want to promote and support those communities and be a Schelling point for them to come together and share plans and ideas. 

Despite the impact potential of EA working professionals, there are currently only a few organizations dedicated to helping them fulfill that potential. They are often left on their own to navigate this path, might feel more disconnected from the community and plausibly at a higher risk of value drift. There is a lot of untapped potential and a big opportunity for impact as well as creating a stronger and more resilient community.

Solution

Target Group

We take as our main target group high impact professionals. These are working EAs who understand their main path to impact being outside their day-to-day work. They might be earning to give, but also EAs who want to dedicate more time and skills to effective organizations, as well as promoting impactful initiatives in their workplace. 

Intervention

Our impact is built on top of two foundations and supported by 3 pillars.


The Foundation

Community Building - This represents the base of our intervention and the starting point for impact. Our goal is to build a tight-knit community of HIPs that work together to do the most good. Being connected will allow HIPs to share experiences and best practices, as well as supporting each other in their altruism. We plan to strengthen the community by organizing events such as meetups, talks and conferences and by supporting existing workplace groups.

Matchmaking - We envision ourselves as the centralizing hub between HIPs, other EAs, and high-impact organizations. We will serve as an EA switchboard operator, connecting HIPs with high-impact opportunities, where they can use their skills, influence and wealth to achieve impact.

The Pillars

Our strategy has 3 main pillars: Donations, Collaboration and Workplace Altruism

Donations - Helping HIPs increase the counterfactual impact of their donations, either by helping them to negotiate a better salary, to take advantage of donation matching at their organization, to learn about more impactful donation opportunities or better-paid jobs in the same field. 

Collaboration - Helping HIPs find opportunities to collaborate with effective organizations using their time and skills. We believe that there are a lot of activities that effective organizations could outsource and that there are a lot of talented HIPs willing to invest time and skills to help. We will help organizations identify what and how to best outsource and support HIPs in finding the right opportunity to contribute with their skill set.

Workplace Altruism - Helping HIPs implement impactful initiatives in their workplaces.  Some examples of initiatives are: organizing fundraising events, setting up donation matching, or introducing volunteering time at work. We will support HIPs with ideas, best practices and coaching and by putting them in contact with other relevant HIPs.

Benefits

This intervention has several benefits, identified during CE research and reinforced by our own analysis.

First of all, HIPs can increase the resources going to high-impact organizations, contributing with their donations, but also with their time and skills and by introducing best practices and ideas from the private sector. Besides the direct benefit of increased resources, this will address an important issue within EA, namely its insularity, which often leads to reinventing the wheel, instead of reusing established systems and practices.

Moreover, HIPs can help increase the funding diversity of the EA community, which is beneficial for organizations and helps fill the funding gaps left by the small number of big donors. This intervention is also very flexible, as resources can be shifted where most needed and can be adapted to the rapidly changing needs of the EA community.

Finally, HIP as a career path can absorb a large number of impact-focused individuals, which would help address the frustration created by the small number of EA job opportunities currently available. Finding new ways to contribute will allow HIPs to be more engaged for longer, mitigating the risk of value drift.

Next Steps

One Year Plan

For the first year we have 4 main strategic goals:

  • Build a community of High Impact Professionals
  • Test different approaches to support HIPs and find the most promising ones
  • Create a minimum viable organization
  • Build a strong presence in the EA community

Goal 1: Build a community of High Impact Professionals

We believe that building a community around High Impact Professionals is an essential part of our approach. We believe in the power of the network, where individuals can share best practices, help each other in their quest for impact and feel more engaged.

Goal 2: Test different approaches and find the most promising ones

The biggest form of waste is building something that nobody wants. That is why we want to run inexpensive tests on the different branches of our theory of change and check if the underlying assumptions hold true, only scaling what our target group really needs. These tests will take the form of pilots, described in more detail in the upcoming section entitled Pilots.

Goal 3: Create a minimum viable organization

We will run as operationally lean as possible, only creating the bare minimum structure that will allow us to operate while allocating maximum resources to the development of the intervention.

Goal 4: Build a strong presence in the EA community

EAs form the core community surrounding our organization, from our target audience to our source of funding. We want to build strong connections with EAs and EA organizations to better understand their needs and better be able to serve the community.
 

We have more details including SMART goals outlined in our project proposal.

Pilots

Our main goal for the first year is to test our assumptions and theory of change. We plan to do so by running 3 pilot programs:

  1. Fundraising Events  - Supporting HIPs in running fundraising events at their organizations.
  2. Matchmaking - Matchmaking HIPs to EAs and high-impact organizations to transfer skills, knowledge, and experiences.
  3. Increasing Donations’ Effectiveness - Increase HIPs’ donations e.g. through tax optimization or taking advantage of workplace donation matching.

 

We will inspect and adapt after each pilot, refining our approach and strategy. In this spirit, we are open to adjusting the pilots as more evidence becomes available.

Fundraising events

The first pilot that we will run by the end of the year is supporting HIPs in organizing fundraising events at their companies during the upcoming 2021 giving season.


Theory of Change
 

Find below a simplified theory of change for the intervention.

Why Fundraising Events

Benefits

Our CEA suggests this workplace initiative has good potential to generate counterfactual donations to high-impact charities and has several benefits for both HIPs and the EA community more generally.

For HIPs

For the EA community

  • Increase their personal impact
  • Feel more engaged (doing an EA project and sharing it with others)
  • Gain EA career capital
  • Gain personal skill
  • More funds to effective causes
  • More diversity in funding
  • More engaged working professionals for longer (avoid value drift)
  • Potential to recruit new EAs / E2G’ers / HIPs

Track record

Fundraising events were successfully piloted by Federico in his previous company, where over the course of 2 years a total of $40k was counterfactually raised for EA charities. One for the World has also had some success running these events over the past two giving seasons.

Seasonality

The upcoming end-of-year giving season is a prime time to host fundraising events. This high seasonality prompted us to prioritize this pilot over others to take full advantage of this opportunity.

Measurement and Evaluation

Assumptions

The main goal of the pilot is to validate the fundamental assumptions underlying the intervention and it is therefore necessary to state those assumptions clearly.

Stage

Core Assumption

Specific 

1. Validate the problem

This is a meaningful problem to address

HIPs want to have more impact and become more engaged

2. Problem - Solution Fit

This solution fixes (part of) the problem

Fundraising events will help HIPs increase their impact and engagement

3. Solution - Product Fit

Our product delivers the solution effectively

HIP can help HIPs to host fundraising events and make them successful

4. Product - Market Fit

Our business model is a sustainable one

Enough HIPs are willing to organize fundraising and they don’t require much support from HIP


 Stage 1 was validated by the research which spawned the organization. The main goal of our fundraising events pilot is to validate stages 2 and 3.

Key metrics

  • Number of events organized
  • Number of attendees per event
  • Total counterfactual amount donated
  • Destination of the donations
  • Time needed to organize the event
  • Self-reported engagement of HIP hosts

Next steps

If you are an EA working professional and want to increase your impact, become more engaged and gain useful skills and EA career capital, register to host a fundraising event. We will provide you with the resources and support needed to host a successful event.

Who We Are

Federico Speziali is an earning to giver with experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sector, including the recipient of the 2019 Swiss Top Startup Award. He successfully promoted workplace initiatives at his startup, getting payroll giving setup and hosting two fundraising events, ultimately generating over $40,000 being donated to EA charities.

Devon Fritz has over 15 years of work experience in the non-profit, private, and government sectors and has worked in multiple EA organizations. He was CTO and Managing Director of Germany at Founders Pledge for more than 3 years, helping grow the pledge value to $2.5 billion and the team from 6 to 50.

Get Involved

How We Can Help You

We are helping HIPs host fundraising events at their organizations for the upcoming giving season. Hosting such an event is a great way to magnify your counterfactual impact as well as build skills while sharing a cause you care about. Register your interest here.

If you are unsure if you should reach out, take that as a sign that you should.

How You Can Help Us

  • HIPs interviews - If you are a HIP who is looking to have more impact, we’d love to chat. Please register your interest here.
  • Effective organization interviews - We are also conducting interviews with EA-aligned organizations to better understand their needs so that the HIP community can support them with their resources (money, skills, time). If you work for such an organization, please reach out to talk.
  • Advisors - We are currently seeking advisors for our organization, particularly those well networked with HIPs, those with experience in workplace altruism, and those with a strong background in marketing and communications. If you fit any of these, please reach out to us.

Follow Us


EAG London Conference

Both of us will be at the upcoming EAG London conference. Come check us out at:

  • Workplace & Professional EA Groups Talk - Sunday at 5PM, Lower Sugar Room
  • Speed Meetings: Earning To Give - Saturday at 3PM, King Vault
  • Charity Entrepreneurship Booth - Friday evening at 6-6:30PM, Porter Tun
  • ...just book a slot with us over Swapcard or approach us during the conference - we’d love to chat.

Resources

High Impact Professionals was incubated by Charity Entrepreneurship, an effective altruism organization. Charity Entrepreneurship and their seed network provided our initial funding with a $100,000 seed grant which covers our first full year of operations. Our current team members are co-founders Federico Speziali and Devon Fritz.

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12 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 2:15 PM
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Could you elaborate on your definition of "high impact professionals" as your target audience? I'm not sure I understand who exactly you're hoping to reach. Some examples (real or fictitious) of the types of people you have in mind would be helpful! 

Hi Kyle, thanks for your question. With ”High Impact Professionals” we mean working EAs who understand their main path to impact as NOT through their day-to-day work and want to increase their impact besides their regular jobs.

We can imagine a lawyer or a web-designer who wants to offer pro-bono services, a banker or consultant doing earning to give, a successful entrepreneur who wants to mentor growing charities or someone at a startup or a big tech company who wants to promote impactful initiatives in their company, like hosting fundraising events or introducing donation matching.

Great question! 
I like User Stories as a format to explain things like this: As an X, I want to Y, so that I can Z

For HIP, one example that describes what I'm looking for is:

  • As a mid-late career professional, I want to learn how to leverage my professional network to advance EA causes and help EA organizations, so that I can have an immediate high impact.

Specific actions along this line would include:

Our multi-disciplinary team consists of internationally renowned researchers who work at the interface of biology and engineering and share a common vision: to use the most advanced and innovative biotechnology to address urgent societal needs in energy, environment, and health.

From what I've seen, one HIP User Story might be written:

  • As a working professional, I want to learn how to build a workplace EA group, so that I can align my professional interests with my EA interests.

Devon / Federico: I'd love to hear some User Stories from your perspectives!

I have a half-written post which talks on some of the issues of:

  • lots of rejections for EA roles
  • being asked to apply, quickly rejected and then wondering if your goodwill was being taken advantage of in the 2-4 hour application writing process
  • applying to lots of similar hiring processes and wondering if there couldn't be a process that was cheaper on applicants time

I'm not seeking to be moody, but it has been 10s of hours of my life I won't get back. I imagine it's a pretty colossal amount of EA time, in total.

Happy to chat if that feels useful

Nathan, I'm interested in hearing more about this.  Can we connect on LinkedIn ?

Hi Nathan, indeed the scarcity of EA jobs creates a lot of frustration within the EA community as eloquently expressed by this post, and quoting the 2019 EA Survey:

“Two of the top four significant barriers to becoming more involved in EA were not enough job opportunities that seemed like a good fit for me (29%) and too hard to get an EA job (23%).”

We believe that HIP as a career path can help with that because it can allow a large number of people to have an impact.

Don’t hesitate to book a slot for a chat, we would love to hear more about your experience and see if we can be of any help.

I think it would be really great if we could make "earning to give" cool again.

I love it! Thank you for posting and let me know how I can help HIP -- I'd love to chat with you about "cluster networking" for building robust, scalable and high impact social networks. 

Related: you might want to consider the benefits of becoming a "decentralizing hub" (for one, it scales better). If this is of interest, you can connect with lots of folks working on decentralized models at Complexity Weekend.

I'm really looking forward to all the great things High Impact Professionals will co-create and inspire

Hi Alex, we are glad you liked it! We would love to talk to you, don’t hesitate to book a slot for a chat.

IMO this is something whose time has come, congrats!

I've thought a bunch about this in the past as part of an academic impact funded project, and tried building some resources. (Also working with George Howlett on his Workplace Activism project). See the resources I gathered/started gathering HERE (admittedly, a few years old now, but there is some good info gathered there, esp on the UK). I posted about this on EA Forum here

I'd love to chat and share some ideas. In particular, I'm interested in:

  1. Building a knowledge base about 'what arguments and approaches help get your employer to support an effective (rather than local or 'business-theme-connected') cause in its CSR, workplace fundraising, and direct giving activities.

  2. Promoting the idea of 'volunteering to work for A in exchange for money to B', i.e., aka a 'corporate skills bake sale (posted about this a while back).

If you'd like, please do message me and we can share ideas. This also may tie in in some ways with the work we are doing at the EA Market testing project.

OK sorry this comment turned into massive link-promotion.

(& thanks to Nonlinear Library for bringing this post to my attention)

Love to see new efforts like this. One question/thought is how does HIP compare to or fit in with 80,000 Hours? Do you see it as filling a different niche/need or the same one and that more work was just needed in this direction?

Some recent updates on rates of earning to give as reported in the EA Survey here.

The evidence somewhat suggests a decline (at least among survey-takers), but it still persists as a very widespread stated career path.

And those reporting for-profit ETG careers represent nearly half of recent donations in the survey, even though this is only 15% of the survey population.

EtG also shows up as an important correlate of donations (amount, share-of-income, incidence>1009 USD) in multi-variable models.