Introducing an EA Donation Registry

by Tom_Ash3rd Oct 201413 comments



One of the most important messages of effective altruism is that you can do a phenomenal amount of good through well-chosen donations. As a community, EAs also further this goal by publicly establishing a norm of giving to effective charities, making their own commitments to do so and encouraging others. With this in mind, we’ve created an EA Donation Registry through which people can share plans to donate (of any form, and to any cause), as well as record past donations that they’ve made.

If you’ve donated to effective charities in the past or have plans to do so, then we’d encourage you to sign up. (Or if you already described your past or planned donations in the 2014 EA Survey, you can simply convert these to a registry entry instead.) Peter Hurford’s post To Inspire People to Give, Be Public About Your Giving succinctly describes some of the familiar reasons for doing so - it shows that giving large amounts to effective charities is something that people actually do, providing social proof and normalising and encouraging this, particularly among peer groups. We also hope that it can serve as a gentle prompt to action and commitment device, although understanding that plans change we’ve given donors the ability to edit them at any time - it'd be both expected and understood that many will do so. This a registry of plans, not necessarily pledges.

You can already see hundreds of EAs’ past and planned donations on the registry. There’s some inspiring material there, from the over $40 million that Jim Greenbaum has given over his lifetime, to the many people aiming to donate substantial portions of their income, such as Peter Singer

We created this registry partly in response to requests for a cause neutral venue for donation plans. For example, you can use it to see people donating to animal charities or existential risk alleviation. People concerned with animal welfare are pointed to it by Animal Charity Evaluators, taking the place of this functionality in the old Effective Animal Activism website; people reporting their donations to ACE are given the option of making them public on the registry at the same time. For people concerned with global poverty, we think that the Giving What We Can and Life You Can Save pledges are fantastic devices, with a clear message about the compelling case about giving money to those who need it most. We point people to the GWWC pledge in the hope that they can take or build up to it, while also letting them share plans of any size on the registry.

The registry is an open, community-owned project coordinated through .impact, so we’d love to hear of any uses that you might make of it, and you can also send us suggestions or feedback via our contact form. But most of all, we’d encourage you to share your past and planned donations on it for the reasons above. You can register plans of any form and size via a free text field, so take a moment to consider if there are any that you’d like to share - and if you’ve yet to think about where you might donate, we hope that this will provide a great opportunity to do so! 

See also: Introducing EA Profiles