On January 15 we will have the drawing for the donor lottery discussed here. The opportunity to participate has passed; this post just lays out the details and final allocation of lottery numbers. If you regret missing out, I expect there will be another round, and it would be useful to know that you are interested.
There were 18 participants who contributed a total of $45,650. We will take the first 10 random hexadecimal digits from the NIST randomness beacon at 12pm PST on January 15 and interpret them as a random integer between 0 and 16^10-1. The interval [0, 16^10-1] has been allocated amongst the 18 participants in proportion to their contribution, as indicated in the table below. The random number will fall into the [Low #, High #] range of exactly one participant, who is the winner.
I will set aside $45,650 from my DAF, to be granted at the winner's discretion at any time. They can also choose how that money should be invested in the meantime.
We originally stated that the prize pool would be $100,000, but have decided to adjust it to $45,650, guaranteeing that there will be a winner and reducing my personal risk to zero. The winner is welcome to take a double-or-nothing bet in order to get up to $100,000 if they prefer the larger scale (and can probably find a way to gamble to even larger amounts if they want to).
Because I no longer bear any risk, I am not going to charge a 1% fee (which was my original plan). Organizing and thinking about the lottery still took 3-4 hours of my time, but I think that I can offer lotteries with minimal labor in the future, and I am happy to put a little volunteer time into making the first one happen. (Some other donor may be a more natural provider over the long run though.)
|Contributor||Amount ($)||Low # (in decimal)||High # (in decimal)||Probability|
|Ian David Moss||2500||810483379509.5||870697597898.5||5%|
Donating to popular charities is a lot easier than contributing to a DAF; future lotteries should probably be implemented as donation swaps. For example, if I wanted to make a $100k contribution to MIRI, then participants could donate $X to MIRI and tell me to reduce my donation by $X. This makes participating in the lottery roughly as easy as donating to MIRI, which has good payment infrastructure. I think donation swaps are also useful when employers offer donation matching, though donation matching didn't come up this year. (I think matching lottery entries is compatible with the spirit of employer donation matching.)
We got more participation than I initially expected. Some of the participation was based on the novelty of the idea, but nevertheless I expect there will be a larger lottery next year. That should also be helped by a smoother user experience---no $5k minimum, implemented as donation swapping so very easy, and accompanied by an upfront explanation of how to participate.
Now that the drawing is going to happen, I do expect the lottery winner to make a materially better decision (in expectation) than they would have made otherwise. Moreover, I think the existence of the lottery was bottlenecked on the kind of work that Carl did in advocating for the idea and contacting possible providers (rather than on the existence of customers). So I've increased my estimate for the value of entrepreneurial spirit in the EA community.
This is the SHA-256 hash of the first section of the post (original text here, I've edited it since then but not changed the substance of the agreement), which I will post on twitter and other people are free to store for their records. Hopefully this is a cheap measure which can make it difficult to manipulate the terms of the auction after the random number is revealed.
I've emailed these hopefully-final terms to participants and no one has objected so far. If there are any last-minute revisions, then we will hopefully have time to get things in order prior to January 15. I will tweet the updated SHA-256 hash at that time.
Looks like Tim Telleen-Lawton won, as the first ten digits of the beacon at noon PST were 0CF7565C0F=55689239567. Congratulations to Tim, and to all of the early adopters.
I owe Michael Nielsen $60k to donate as he pleases if [beacon.nist.gov](beacon.nist.gov/home] is between 0000000000... and 028F5C28F5... at noon PST on 2017/4/2.
Are further results out yet? (e.g., where Tim Telleen-Lawton donated, or whether Michael Nielsen got the $60K)
I’d like to give a quick update on my plans for the 2016 Donation Lottery winnings.
Of the $45,650, I’ve decided to give $21,000 to the Czech Association for Effective Altruism so they can hire one full time staff (or equivalent) for one year to manage the organization. I have not yet transferred that money, nor decided how to allocate the other $24,650.
I decided to support the Czech Association for Effective Altruism because I am impressed with their ability to execute difficult projects, I believe their projects have the potential to make a large positive impact (including via the impact on the chapter members executing them), I believe they will be able to execute substantially more and higher-quality projects with employed leadership than without one, and I believe funding is the limiting factor for the chapter hiring leadership staff.
I became aware of the Czech Association for Effective Altruism (The Chapter) when they hosted 2 CFAR workshops near Prague in October 2017; CFAR hired me to be one of a handful of instructors for those workshops. Some observations and beliefs from spending time with a few of the leaders from the chapter:
Some expectations related to the donation:
I’m planning to post audio of my last interview with The Chapter, as well as budgetary and strategic information that The Chapter has shared with me.
Edits: inserted the organization's official name, "Czech Association for Effective Altruism", and corrected bullet formatting.
I'd be interested in learning your general thought process, though probably you should only answer these after you've allocated the entire lottery amount, and only if you feel that it makes sense to answer publicly.
The Chapter sounds like an excellent giving opportunity for a gift of this size, since it's directly paying for a position that they would need to maintain their current level of effectiveness. I'm glad to know that my portion of the donor lottery funds are being used in such a positive manner.
I would add, though, that participation doesn't affect the expected payout to any player's recommendations (and in the CEA lottery setup, it doesn't affect the pot size or draw probability). I.e. if other donor lottery players planned to donate their funds to something completely useless, that doesn't make any difference for you (unless hearing that they had made that donation outside the lottery context would have changed your own charity pick).
Thanks for the update!
Do you know if the chapter is planning to hire back the outgoing director, or hire a different replacement director?
They are not planning to hire the outgoing director as that person has already started a new job in a different city.