It's OK To Also Donate To Non-EA Causes

by orthonormal1 min read2nd Jun 202012 comments

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Remix of: Purchase Fuzzies and Utilons Separately

It can be tough as an EA to watch something urgent and important happen, while not seeing any relevant giving opportunity as effective as the ones you're already helping with. You may feel guilty for not helping the visible crisis, and also feel guilty if you helped the visible crisis at the expense of helping a larger problem.

Here's my personal way of dealing with it:

1. Figure out your anticipated EA donation amount for this year. (Take into account your financial circumstances- this is a weird year.) Leave that amount alone- don't donate less to EA because you're donating to the new cause.

2. If, from what's left, you feel comfortably able to give to the new cause, then it's your money to spend on whatever you want, including helping the world! You should feel proud of yourself for doing that.

3. If you don't feel comfortably able to do so, then that's really okay- I'm glad you're putting your own mask on first! (Also, this may be a sign that you were overzealous when calculating #1. Remember that it's okay to care about yourself more than others, as long as your altruism doesn't go to waste.)

(I'm taking my own advice, by the way; during the nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd, I've donated $1000 to Campaign Zero, but I'm not counting it toward my 10% EA donation pledge.)

[EDITED TO ADD: Promoting from the comments, other reasonable places to donate if you want to optimize within this cause area can be found in this document by Chloe Cockburn (OpenPhil).]