I'm only 30% sure [Edit Jan 7: 90% sure] that this is actually an inadequacy made by those whose job it is to maximize donations but I’ve noticed that none of the donations pages of GiveWell, Giving What We Can, Horizon Institute, or METR have this little tab in them that MIRI has (just scroll down after following the link):

This little tool comes from doublethedonation.com.

I was looking for charities to donate to, and I’m grateful I stumbled upon the MIRI donation page because otherwise I would not have known that Google would literally double my donation. None of the other donation pages except MIRI had this little “does your company do employer matching?” box. WHY.

I would wager other tech companies have similar programs, and that a good chunk of EA donations come from employees of those tech companies, and that thousands of dollars a year are wasted in missed opportunities here. If this is an inadequacy, it’s a pretty obvious and damaging one. I wish to speak to the manager.


I did not spend more than ten minutes noticing this, and just wanted to get this out there as fast as possible. There’s a chance I’m being stupid. (Perhaps every tech employee is usually briefed on the donation matching.) But if anyone out there has an answer for this or if a GiveWell employee is conveniently walking by and says “wait a minute! We could radically improve our UI!”, that’d be great.

[EDIT Jan 6: Arvin Lagaso of GWWC has read the post and informed his team. "However, as we are a small team, we can't guarantee we can improve on this quickly."]  

[EDIT Jan 7: Here is a (very commercial) document listing data from two dozen case studies of doublethedonation.com's track record: https://resources.doublethedonation.com/hubfs/Finalized%20Revamped%20PDFs%20-%20General%20DLRs/Combined%20Case%20Studies%20-%20Updated.pdf 

I have not parsed through it much, but doublethedonation.com makes repeated and confident claims about increasing donation amounts by double-digit percentage points. Their lower-bound estimate (which I have not double-checked) is a 40% increase in matching gift requests. I've sent them a query to ask for clearer data.] 

[EDIT Jan 12: See Kyle Scott of METR's response in comments.] 

[Apr 25: GiveWell has considered the idea carefully and put it on a list of potential projects.]




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One for the World has had the Double The Donation widget for a couple of years. Unfortunately, it is about to become considerably more expensive, as they are upgrading everyone to a service called Match365. The plus side of this is that it will search your database for people who could be getting matching and email them proactively, and try to smooth the process of them getting matching. The downside is that it's fairly expensive (~$4k/year), but I think it'd still be positive ROI, at least in the first year (probably with diminishing returns after that).

One thing to point out is that DTD massively overclaims its success rate. For example, it emails me every month saying "52 people claimed matching at their companies via the widget on your website", but it turns out this means 52 people searched for matching, and I would estimate 1-2 per month actually end up accessing it (based on our overall volume of incoming corporate matching).

One final note - @Neil Warren  as you are at Google, is there a reason you aren't using Benevity to do your donations, which automatically adds matching? If this is new to you, see if you can log in at google.benevity.org 

I did not know about benevity. High value comment overall, thank you for your contribution!

I also work at Google, and a surprising amount of people (including EAs) aren't aware of the substantial annual donation match! I only noticed by happenstance.

I didn't know there were useful tools online for this, I agree this seems like a great thing for EA orgs/charities to have on their website if it's easy to do

When I ran a search in GiveWell's website for "employer match", I got an post from 2017 promising another post addressing employer matching (which does not come up) and another article that mentions it offhand.

I didn't go the whole way through the donation flow to check your work (maybe you missed something?) but I think you've found a boo-boo. Well done @Neil Warren; may your little leaf symbol be outgrown.

If GiveWell isn't even mentioning it on its site anywhere, I can assure you they're leaving money on the table. I recall donating to GiveDirectly a couple years ago and got this nifty search tool. I don't know if it was from DoubleTheDonation or someone else.

And good job on coming out of lurkerdom! You'll lose the little green plant soon as well.

Thanks for checking for Chesterton fences.

A bonus idea: I would love to see any of the listed organizations A/B test this button. Websites frequently run A/B tests - really, a fancy rebranding of RCTs - where half of viewers (control) see the default version of the page, while the other half (treatment) see a modified version (in this case, with the button). Then they can observe whether the treatment viewers are more likely to click on the "donate" button. This can tell us whether the availability of donation matching improves donation rates, and by how much.

This matters because donation matching is a big part of how charities raise money, and it's an important decision whether to allocate money to donation matching or not. I understand if these are small teams that can't allocate resources to this, but I think it's a pretty important opportunity that is also quite low hanging fruit.

An especially good idea for EA orgs, because doublethedonation seems vaguely untrustworthy (see Jack Lewars' comment). Thanks for the comment!

This should totally be explicitly mentioned and acknowledged in GWWC and 80K hours.

with GWWC at least officially they don't consider company match as part of the pledge:


What I personally think is that those who are pledgees should consider donation matching as part of a prospective job's compensation as it is a permanent cost. (also would incentivise negotiation in that direction)

It still seems like a mistake to not point out to people that they can substantially increase their donation and thus lives saved, even if it doesn't count towards the pledge

I agree. Let's take for granted GWWC's position that donation matching shouldn't count towards the 10% pledge (I don't think it matters, but even so). Then they could say on their website "Pledgers should check here (link) to see if their employer matches donations. While matched donations do not count towards the GWWC pledge, they offer an easy way to direct extra money towards saving lives." Then there is no confusion.

I agree. Indeed, "this is because the spirit of the pledge is to voluntarily forego a certain portion of your income and use it to improve the lives of others", sounds suspiciously not cold-hearted-economist-ey enough for an EA org.

GWWC is probably valuable as it is precisely because it offers a warmer aspect and a community and all that, but you're right, donation matching is just one more variable that should be counted into the utility calculation. 

>What I personally think is that those who are pledgees should consider donation matching as part of a prospective job's compensation as it is a permanent cost. (also would incentivise negotiation in that direction)

I'm not sure I understand.  Are you suggesting that GWWC should include the donation match in the denominator, but not the numerator?  Or include in both?  Or are you not talking about GWWC at all here?

I was suggesting in both.

Thanks for flagging this Neil, good find! We've put this on the medium/low priority list for ARC & METR, since the EV is pretty low given our donors (but I think positive!). 


One little puzzle: given that METR is trying to stay independent from major AI labs, do we reject donation matches from Google?

Is there any situation you predict in which Google donation matches would affect METR's vision? What is the probability of that happening, and what is the value of donations to METR by Google employees? 

If you're asking for advice, it seems to me that refusing donations on principle is not a good idea, and that donation matching from Google for employee donations carry no legal bearing (but I have no idea) and are worth the money. Besides, I understand the importance of METR independence, but are Google and METR's goals very orthogonal? Your final calculation would need to involve degree of orthogonality as well. I'm not a very valuable data point for this question, however.

Great post! As someone who previously worked for 4 years at a company who matched up to 30k per year, and now at one that matches 20k per year, this was and continue to be a major factor in consideration of my career options. An EA friend/colleague of mine initiated a project in 2020 called MatchForMore, attempting to bring awareness to this issue and form a community of employees who leverage their matching opportunities to maximize their good.

Unfortunate to say, but we have not been active on this project for quite some time, as our website matchformore.org would reveal. But happy to discuss with anyone more ways to incorporate such programs. Earn To Give+ I know was considering taking over this effort a couple years back, but I have not followed up on their status.

Great point, thanks for sharing!

While I assume that all long-time EAs learn that employer donation matching is a thing, we'd do well as a community to ensure that everyone learns about it before donating a substantial amount of money, and clearly that's not the case now.

Reminds me of this insightful XKCD: https://xkcd.com/1053/

For each thing 'everyone knows' by the time they're adults, every day there are, on average, 10,000 people in the US hearing about it for the first time.

I also had a similar experience making my first substantial donation before learning about non-employer counterfactual donation matches that existed.

It was the only donation I regretted since by delaying making it 6 months I could have doubled the amount of money I directed to the charity for no extra cost to me.

That's an interesting anecdote! I donated for the first time a few days ago, and did not know "Giving Tuesday" existed, so I'm one of today's lucky 10,000. I really hope organisations like GWWC that help funnel money to the right charities engage in tricks like this; not investing your money immediately, but finding various opportunities to increase the pot. It would probably be worth the time and money at GWWC to centralize individual discoveries like this, and have a few people constantly looking out for opportunities. The EA forum only partially solves this. 

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