Background

The EA Good Governance Project (GGP) launched 4 months ago.  For more information on the rationale, please see here.  The last few months have been eventful for the EA community.  The number of posts tagged nonprofit governance has grown from 2 to 21.  If you have not already read it, I would highly recommend this post.

I would also like to thank the many people who have shared the EA GGP.  I was also delighted to receive many unsolicited cold emails offering financial support, volunteering their skills and reporting broken links.  What a great community we have!

Trustee Directory

As at 11th February 2023, the Trustee Directory includes 60 individuals:

  • with 557 years of collective experience;
  • from 19 countries;
  • expertise in all 18 subject areas; and
  • 15 of the 16 skills we listed.

Roughly half earn-to-give, including:

  • 15 associated with Founders' Pledge / EA Entrepreneurs;
  • 12 associated with the EA Consulting Network; and
  • 7 associated with EA Finance.

28 organizations[1] have signed up to view the directory and 5 have requested candidate contact details.

Best Practice Guidance

Since launch, we have developed a variety of guidance on governance topics, as well as a template for conducting a board assessment.  We hope that this will strengthen practices within EA orgs.  If you have any requests for topics to cover, please reach out.

Impact

To-date, we are not aware of anyone who has been hired as a result of EA GGP (we do not have perfect information, so please message me if I am wrong).  It is difficult to assess the counterfactual because we do not know whether organizations would have been connected to the same candidates if the EA GGP did not exist.  This is particularly true of large organizations such as Founders' Pledge.

The impact of guidance documents will be even harder to assess, but given these have been published more recently, the impact is likely to be close to zero.

The cost so far has been ~£300 and 30-50 hours of time (mostly pre-launch).

  1. ^

    This includes people who signed up using personal email addresses so may not represent an organization

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Comments3
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 9:14 AM

Love this transparency Grayden.

Worth noting that Board hires are very rare (usually 1-2, happening only every 2-3 years), so plenty of time for this to land some impactful roles.

Agree that board hire impact could take some time to manifest. Though, in my experience (boards I serve(d) on and that my colleagues serve(d) on), we're bringing on a small number of directors every 1-1.5 years. So, I'd be surprised if it took 2-3 years for impact to be felt here. On a board with staggered terms for directors, typically every year there are directors with expiring terms. Some of those directors are renewed for an additional term. But it's also quite common for one or more directors to leave the board and create a vacancy every year.

Getting academic here..

The search for impact of improved governance vs governance activity indicators (board hires etc..) will always be tough. This is due to the "prevented disaster" issue:  Success is measured by the absence of incidents. In a young, data poor, secretive or poorly defined sector,  statistical work with public data may end up with void or misleading result.  

In industry , over the last 100+ years, the general trend has been to note the universality of the risks ( as we are all human), the regularity of serious incidents publicly reported and the noted consequences to the organizations involved. In short, prudent organizations invest in both a culture and system of good governance, as a recognised important survival trait.

At the lower level and within legal limits, governance/employee/participant behaviour is a metric to improve. At the CEO/board/key shareholder/donor level, major governance problems are better framed as an existential risk - something to be avoided at all costs via preventative measures.  

So, I do not feel we need to further justify this specific effort: Not all that is worthwhile can be (quantitatively) measured.