I'd love to be able to give my family & friends gift cards that let them choose which EA charity they'll donate to. These would be more restrictive than overall charity gift cards where the funds can go to any tax-deductible organization. (Of the sort provided by every.org or tisbest.) But they would be more flexible than the tradition of just making a fixed donation to a specific charity in someone else's name. I want to load up a card with anywhere from $50 to $5000, then give it to my friend for them to allocate the cash among a curated selection of EA charities.
EA gift cards could be a really fun way to introduce people to effective altruism and make a positive impression. I'm thinking you'd redeem the gift cards on a website that contains materials explaining the overall concept of EA, followed by brief introductions to some individual wings of the movement: global development, x-risk reduction, animal welfare, cause prioritization, etc, explaining why each is a contender for the coveted title of most-effective.
Maybe clicking into each wing takes you to a page that explains the rationale for that wing in more detail, followed by a breakdown into sub-areas. X-risk would become AI vs biorisk vs others. Global development might become Against Malaria Foundation, versus more hits-based health interventions like deworming, versus economic growth interventions. And so forth. Just like on effectivecrypto.org, you could donate to either a cause-area bundle or your own custom mix of individual charities. Finally, of course, after the donation we could ask if people want to be signed up for the EA Newsletter or engage in other ways.
- This project seems like it would be pretty easy to spin up. (In fact, I wonder if it already exists -- let me know if I've just missed it in my googling.) It could be a side-project of existing organizations like EA Funds, Effective Crypto, or Giving Multiplier, or it could be somebody's independent project.
- It would be a great way to introduce people to EA and get new people motivated to learn about the key ideas. Rather than seeming preachy and demanding or overly academic/theoretical, deciding how to use your EA gift card would ideally come across as a fun and real-world-relevant activity.
- Lots of people in this here Forum would probably love to get their friends and coworkers EA gift cards.
- The pool of potential customers is naturally self-limiting since there are a small number of highly-engaged EAs in the world. Once everybody in the existing community has bought a gift card for their family members for Christmas, then there's no more room for growth.
- It's possible that the recruitment-oriented messaging of this site ("Take lots of time to learn more about all these different areas!") would conflict a bit with the impact-maximizing message of bigger organizations like GiveWell. ("We make giving easy since you can follow our expert advice.") But in practice I don't think this would be too confusing.
- There might be some tricky steps involved to set things up properly — anybody starting this project from scratch might have to incorporate as a new nonprofit, research what payment platforms to work with, figure out how to order nice plastic gift cards, etc.