I have heard some people report the impression that the Animal Welfare Fund lacks room for more funding. I don’t think that impression is true, and that addressing it could be a pretty important point for EAs looking to make donations within the animal sector.
Briefly, here’s why I think the Animal Welfare Fund has some pretty significant room for more funding at this point:
- Right now, there’s currently ~$600k in the Animal Welfare Fund (we just completed a round and are granting out another ~$1.1-$1.2M—note: still in the process of finalizing that total grant amount and the amount in fund metric doesn’t now include that total)
- Our typical grant volume this year was ~$1.5M per round (ranging from ~$1M-$2M across three rounds). In total, we will grant out ~$4.5M (having raised ~$5M) for grants this year.
- We have some plans for significant growth next year through some internal expansion plans in the works (e.g., possibly adding further fund managers and doing more active grantmaking).
- Also, a lot of our grantees have grown, so they’ll have more room for funding. As a lot of the groups we give to are relatively small, they can grow at such a rate that they’d often be looking to absorb twice as much funding in the next year. If we zoom in on just say Crustacean Compassion, last year we granted $35k to them, and this year $92k, which comfortably corresponds to a greater than 100% growth in grant amount. Generally, it seems that if we have more money in the fund, it encourages some good organizations to request more funding for some quality projects.
- Relatedly, some of the areas we grant in just tend to be pretty high growth and grow at comfortably >20% year on year. For instance, years ago there was basically very little that could be granted to Wild Animal Welfare, but this year we made several hundred thousand dollars in grants within that area. Similarly, previously there was not much that could be granted regarding invertebrates, but this year we granted several hundred thousand dollars in grants within that area.
- So next year, I think that we could fairly comfortably and productively absorb and grant out in the realm of $6M-$9M (that’s a ~33%-100% increase on this year) without any significant decreases to the quality of our grants.
- Note too, that in comparison to 2020 where we granted out $2.1M in total, this year we more than doubled that to $4.5M. I think we’re on track to handle that level of either absolute growth or percentage growth in grants for next year, which will put us in that $6M-$9M range.
- So one way to look at this is that we now have ~$600k in the fund but next year we could do something like at least ~$6M in grants. So in that sense, we have several million dollars in room for more funding.
- It could be worth thinking about how much we’ll likely raise for grants for next year too though. This year, we typically raised between $100k-$200k per month. Historically, we have seen about a ~4x-8x increase on that monthly total for the month of December and January (some end-of-year donations come in on the books in January).
- Another way then to look at this then, is based on the current trends and growth in them year to year, we would now be looking at raising something like ~$5M (~$190k per month + ~4x that total for Dec and ~8x for Jan) between now and the end of next year (presuming trends hold about the same as other years, and I don't see too much of a reason to think they won't at this point). Again, as we have ~$600k now in the fund, that brings the total to ~$5.6M. But I think we could productively absorb at least ~$400k on top of that to grant out $6M, and again as much as ~$4.5M on top relatively comfortably.
- Also in terms of how much we will raise, I will flag there’s some significant variance in that year to year. Because some notable supporters tend to give amounts that fluctuate quite a bit year to year, because their giving potential tends to be tied to some relatively volatile Cryptocurrencies. Correspondingly, we had something of an influx in $’s at the end of 2017 start of 2018, when the crypto market boomed, then somewhat of a quieter year on that front in 2019 and 2020, but then again some large donations in 2021. It’s pretty unclear to me what to expect from Crypto next year.
So putting those above bullets together, my sense is that the Animal Welfare Fund has significant room for more funding. At least a couple hundred thousand dollars in room for more funding, quite credibly a couple of million dollars in room for more funding, and potentially several million dollars in room for more funding for grants next year.