If you are thinking about a career in Effective Altruism, you should definitely consider charity entrepreneurship. You can now apply to our summer 2020 Incubation Program, which will help you start an effective charity.
We provide the following:
- Training in skills relevant to starting charities;
- Thoroughly researched ideas to start;
- Long-term mentorship;
- Seed grants of up to US$100,000.
This round of applications is open until January 15, 2020. There will be a subsequent application round in March 2020, but if you apply in this round, you will have a higher chance of being accepted into the program. This post provides an overview and links to more detailed information.
To apply, click below and follow the instructions:
In the program, which lasts two months, you will learn the relevant skills to start a charity. You will be taught by a team with a history of starting and mentoring multiple successful non-profits in the EA space. There will also be guest speakers who are experts on having a big impact. Historically, we have had the following and others give talks and answer questions:
- Peter Singer, author of The Life You Can Save and Animal Liberation;
- Nikita Patel, co-founder and CEO of Fortify Health;
- Rob Mather, founder of the Against Malaria Foundation;
- David Coman-Hidy, founder of the Humane League;
- Bruce Friedrich, founder of the Good Food Institute.
Skills you will learn include the following: strategy, management, measurement and evaluation, fundraising, charity registration, hiring, self-care, and many others that you will need to start an effective non-profit.
You do not need to already have an idea to apply to our program. We are most excited to receive applications from those who want to have an impact on the world but are not sold on a specific idea. We do prioritization research along the lines of GiveWell, but instead of recommending charities for donations, we propose charities to start. We suggest interventions in the following areas:
- Global poverty (particularly global health policy and family planning);
- Animal advocacy (including farmed and wild animals);
- Mental health (including developing and developed world contexts).
A large percentage of your impact comes from the idea you start. And the skills needed to do research are different from those required for founding an organization; therefore, it makes sense to divide the labor. Our research team spends thousands of hours investigating which ideas are cost-effective, evidence-based, and scalable to help give you the best chance of having a very large impact with your life and career.
Our ideas help reduce analysis paralysis and make the process of starting a cost-effective and evidence-based charity easier. You can also feel more confident in your impact because you can know that our team has done its best to evaluate the idea’s effectiveness and attempted to find disconfirming evidence for its claims. We only recommend ideas that look the best when compared to hundreds of other options.
Last year, we recommended multiple animal and poverty interventions. One example was increasing the taxes on tobacco. This intervention has many studies showing it decreases smoking rates, thus increasing the health of individuals while simultaneously strengthening the government’s ability to help its citizens through increased revenue. An example of an animal recommendation that got started was increasing the oxygen level for farmed fish. Living without enough oxygen is a painful and often fatal condition that fish must endure until slaughter, but it is an extremely cheap and easy thing to fix. We are working on researching this year’s recommendations, and you can see our past suggestions, including ideas that are as yet un-started, and our research process here.
We do accept people into the program who have their own ideas as long as they can make a compelling case that they will have an impact at a similarly high level compared to our recommendations. To do this, you must show how cost-effective it is, and if little evidence exists supporting it, the cost-effectiveness estimates must be higher to compensate for expected regression to the mean.
The case for impact
Imagine if you were the difference between GiveWell, AMF, or THL existing or not. Starting an effective charity can have a huge counterfactual impact. Some charities have an impact that is an order of magnitude greater than others, and this is even more frequently the case when they are started with maximizing impact in mind, as with Evidence Action, THL, and GiveWell. Sometimes, you can even be the first and only charity in the field, which makes the impact even larger.
Starting a charity has direct impact, and calculations have put it at a similar expected value to donating US$215,000 a year to AMF. Since the charity market is very inefficient, there are plenty of gaps. Often, the difference between an organization run by an effectiveness-minded person and one that is not is like the difference between GiveWell and Charity Navigator.
Aside from the direct impact of the charity, there are many positive flow-through effects. It can inspire others to start more charities, set a higher standard for the NGO sector, create more EA job opportunities, and move charitable dollars to higher impact options.
- Video: EAG talk providing an overview of why to start a charity and who would be a good fit
- Why founding charities is one of the highest impact things one can do
- Why charity entrepreneurship?
- What is the expected value of creating a GiveWell top charity?
The application process
Should you apply?
If you are unsure whether you would be a good fit for this type of career, we encourage you to apply. Historically, we have discovered it is difficult for people to judge their personal fit. So, the application process is essentially an impartial third-party assessment.
Application deadline: January 15, 2020
Program date: June 29⎼August 28, 2020
Costs: All costs covered, including tuition, accommodation, food, and flights
Location: London, UK (the program cannot be done remotely)
Hours: Monday–Friday (9 a.m.–5 p.m.)
Visas: We can get most people into the UK for the duration of the program
If you are interested and cannot find the answers to your questions within the linked material, please apply for a Skype meeting. You can also email us with a quick question through our contact form. We do not have the capacity to speak to everyone, but we endeavor to talk to as many as we can.
- Four reasons why you should consider charity entrepreneurship aside from impact
- How to prepare for founding your own charity
- What traits make a good charity entrepreneur?
- Why EAs in particular are good people to start charities
- Which jobs will best prepare you to become a charity entrepreneur?