Julia and I usually decide on our annual giving at the end of each year. For the past few years this has been relatively straightforward: I was paid a lot, so we donated 50%. This year is less so, because halfway through I switched jobs to work on something directly valuable. While I'm very excited about the potential of this work, it does pay enough less that even if we stopped donating we'd be keeping less for ourselves than before.

One option we considered was donating 50% of our income from the first half of the year, up until I switched jobs, and then some smaller proportion of the income from later in the year, representing about how much we intend to donate going forward. We thought about this, but decided not to:

  • The collapse of FTX, taking with it their philanthropic arm, means that there is less money available for EA projects, so it's more valuable to have funding now than in the recent past.

  • We're not sure how to pick an amount for the second half of the year. Some of this is not being clear on what sort of donation norms we'd like to encourage for people working at the kind of organization they would otherwise be happy to fund, or who take lower-paying jobs for altruistic reasons. Another part is that what we personally want to do depends on what the post-FTX funding situation for our employers end up looking like.

  • I like having a simple explanation for what we're doing with our money, and while pro-rating isn't that complicated it's still something I'd rather avoid. Simplicity is also a reason why we lean away from donating via lottery or salary sacrifice.

Instead, we've decided to just continue giving 50% for 2022, and give some smaller proportion in 2023. How much? Not sure yet.

As in past years, we're planning to divide our giving between GiveWell (evidence-backed public health interventions, like distribution of antimalarial bed nets) and the EA Infrastructure Fund (a wide range of projects intended to help the effective altruism community grow into the best community it can).

"Let's just keep doing what we were doing, and decide later what we want to do later" is not a very satisfying conclusion, but I'm hoping things are clearer next year.

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