We at SoGive are excited about what we plan to achieve in 2023. We still have material funding gaps, so if readers are keen for these things to happen, then please get in touch by emailing sanjay@sogive.org.

Our work will involve the following:

ActivityRough indication of how much effort goes on each
  1. EA-aligned research
  1. Supporting the EA talent pipeline
  1. Supporting major donors, and running SoGive grants


1. EA-aligned research: We plan to do work akin to the research of organisations like Rethink Priorities. There are enough thorny questions about how to do good / give effectively that an enormous amount more research is needed, and the existing ecosystem would benefit from growing in both capacity and the number of voices, hence we are keen for SoGive to contribute.

Work which we plan to complete and publish in 2023:

  • Strong Minds: 
    • SoGive’s founder identified Strong Minds as a possible high impact charity in 2015 when thinking about his own giving, and had an initial call with Sean Mayberry of Strong Minds then. We have been engaging with Strong Minds over some years and we plan to finalise a report early in 2023.
  • No Means No:
    • An investigation of No Means No Worldwide was suggested to us by a member of the EA London community, who was excited to have an EA-aligned recommendation for a charity which prevents sexual violence. We have mostly completed a review of this charity, and were asked not to publish it yet because it used a study which is not yet in the public domain. 
  • Pratham
    • We have been working on a review of Pratham, which works on education in the developing world. 

Note that our model involves having multiple pieces of analysis ongoing, and these may be progressed by someone working for 1 day per week.

Work which we plan to initiate in 2023:

  • Redteaming of John Halstead’s report on climate change
  • Counterfactuals vs credit-sharing/Shapley values

Note: this is not a comprehensive list, just a few examples. For a fuller list, see this public copy of our research agenda.

Past track record: People within the SoGive community have successfully written a number of valuable pieces of research.

  • Cool Earth: In order to support SoGive’s work helping major donors, SoGive produced a review of Cool Earth which argued that the EA community had overvalued Cool Earth. It received an EA Forum prize, was nominated for a Review of Decade prize, and has been cited 14 times on the EA Forum and an unknown number of times elsewhere.
  • Giving Green: A SoGive volunteer, with support from SoGive’s founder, wrote a piece critiquing the analytical approach of Giving Green. Prior to this write-up, there had been little critical analysis of the quality of Giving Green’s work.
  • Malaria nets: We wrote a piece on GiveWell’s modelling of insecticide resistance, which argued that there were issues with the way that synergists were modelled (synergists are things which help nets overcome insecticide resistance). We also argued that GiveWell were missing an important source of data. GiveWell awarded this analysis an honourable mention prize.

If you would like to know more about SoGive’s research work, feel free to read our strategy document: section 1 covers our research work, section 1.3 explains how we set our research agenda, section 1.5 provides more examples of our track record of research, section 1.7 includes people from other EA orgs who are willing to serve as references.

2. Supporting the EA talent pipeline: Our volunteer programme was originally set up to help us analyse charities, however we are now leveraging our experience to serve orgs in the EA community who are looking to hire. In 2023, we aim to recruit c50-100 new volunteers, and of those probably a majority will remain for an extended period (more than a few months), and of those we plan for 3 people to end up in an EA job who would not have done so otherwise. Counting those 3 people alone would, we think, understate the benefit. This will be achieved at the cost of one staff member working full time on managing this programme. This will be done by building on and improving the volunteer programme which we have been running in this form for c.3 years. It will include a new training programme and substantial ongoing support for each volunteer, including plenty of peer support. We believe we are well positioned to deliver on this given our track record. Former SoGive volunteers have gone on to work at multiple EA organisations, including Open Philanthropy, Rethink Priorities, Founders Pledge, ACE, 80,000 Hours.

If you would like to know more about SoGive’s plans to support the EA talent pipeline, feel free to read section 2 of our strategy document. In section 2.2, we provide some volunteer testimonials. See section 2.5 for a quote from an EA org excited to collaborate with us. While it’s reasonable to be concerned about whether the counterfactual impact is legitimate, we tackle this in section 2.6, and argue that for at least some impact pathways, it is.

3. Supporting major donors, and running SoGive Grants: We provide some support to a small number of major donors, however most of them are at least EA-aware, and we don’t believe this work creates lots of (counterfactually adjusted) value. However it does synergise well with other work. We also believe that SoGive Grants (section 3.3) will allow us to provide further vetting capacity, diversify the EA funding landscape, and be a source of funding which provides feedback to all applicants.


Each of these three areas of work supports the other two, which is why it makes strategic sense for the three things to be done within the same organisation. This point is explained in section 0.2.


Our planned total spend in 2023 is £380,000. This could be reduced to £321,000. 

We believe that the best argument against funding SoGive relates to the counterfactual on the time of the people involved, who might otherwise be freed to work on other projects. You can read more about this in section 5 of the strategy document.





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This is very cool! One thing that was particularly notable for me:

“In 2023, we aim to recruit c50-100 new volunteers”

This is a crazy high number! How many do you guys have currently? And do you do much active recruitment or do volunteers tend to find SoGive organically?

Thanks :-)

We will run several cohorts/intakes over the year, receiving maybe c10-30 each time, depending on time of year and other factors.

However not all of them will stay. Although we encourage all volunteers to stay for an extended period of time, in practice a substantial number (often around a half) will drop out within a few months. Hence we don't expect to have more than 50 volunteers at any one time.

The tasks which we give volunteers at the outset are very structured, which means that we can cost efficiently manage volunteers at the outset by getting volunteers to support other volunteers. After the initial phase, they will need more staff support as they do more in-depth research, but we also know that they are able to maintain a steady 1 day per week of volunteering because they have done it for a while, which means it's worth our while to get them to initiate a long-term project that might take some time to complete.

Our volunteer numbers are fairly low at the moment, because we had a pause on volunteer recruitment. Probably around 10 volunteers (depending on how you count them). However we also have 41 volunteers on the waiting list.

I really appreciated this report - especially the attempt to map out the impact of volunteering on the talent pipeline. From the report: 

List of possible impact pathways:

  • Better at EA research: Volunteers may become more capable at performing EA research because of their experience performing research, and the support and mentorship they get from the SoGive team.
  • Excited about EA: Volunteers may feel more enthusiasm about EA through their work or the sense of community which develops within SoGive
  • Community: Building network and sense of community – building networks enables people to achieve more.
  • Pathfinding: Volunteers may become more confident about which type of EA career they want (generalist research? Ops? AI alignment?) 
  • Introductions: Facilitate recruiters reaching out to people to encourage them to apply for EA roles sooner
    • This is a new impact pathway; we have not connected directly with EA employers before
  • Credentialising people makes it easier for employers to make a lower-risk hiring decision. It could happen through enabling a candidate to produce a piece of research an employer can see as evidence of their research capabilities.
    • There is a risk that this could be counterproductive. For example, credentialising a candidate could mean that they displace an equally good or somewhat better candidate; this would be exacerbated if the SoGive-related article has been produced with the support of the SoGive team.
    • Having discussed this with potential EA employers, we see the counterarguments, including the view that seeing high quality work having already been produced is valuable because it significantly derisks an otherwise difficult hiring decision. 

I also appreciated the attempt to actually estimate how much a sample of volunteers was affected by volunteering. I'm more skeptical of some of these estimates than perhaps SoGive is, but I appreciate that the specificity because it gives a concrete place to have a discussion.  

Some thoughts on these estimates : 

  • They have "not run these assessments past the relevant people" (in their words) but are partly based on the relevant people's assesments. 
    • It seems in this early stage of evaluating the impact SoGive volunteering, it would be especially important to run this both by the volunteers themselves (especially for 2,3,4) and the orgs (especially for 5)
  • I'm pretty uncertain on the value volunteering has, as someone who's both volunteered and worked with many volunteers over the years. At least 3 people who've volunteered on projects I've run now work at 80,000 Hours and CEA. I have not asked any of these orgs whether them volunteering played a role, but I think this would have been a small part of the reason. The main reason was that these folks were just really competent and aligned. I am uncertain what effect volunteering had on retention rates (Excited re EA), it's possible that it did help them. 


Meta: In general, I'd encourage orgs to share more of their novel / new theory of change thinking on the Forum for others to see - not many folks pour through the reports unfortunately, so a lot of good content is missed. 

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