We invite you to ask us anything about Charity Entrepreneurship’s work. As examples, you might want to ask questions related to:

  • Our Incubation Program for starting new high-impact charities: 
    • The application process (stages, preparation, etc.) 
    • Who is the best fit for the program (personality traits, relevant experience, etc.)
    • Details about the 2-month training and co-founder pairing 
    • Seed funding and financial support (during and after the program)
  • Our new Foundations Program 
  • Our top ideas for the 2023 Incubation Programs:
    • Animal-focused interventions
    • Policy-based ideas
    • Current research on biosecurity
    • The research process we use for selecting the top interventions 
  • Our track record, knowledge base, expertise, how we do stuff, etc.
  • Entrepreneurship-focused, career-advice questions 

Our whole team will be engaging with your questions to provide the best answers. Deadline for asking questions is: October 16, 2022.  We will try to answer all the questions by October 20, 2022.

How to ask questions: 

  • Please post each question as a separate comment.
  • Don’t be discouraged from asking niche questions. We’re happy to address them, there are a lot of new people on the forum who may benefit from the answers. 

Small reward for your time: 

We will send out a copy of our Peter Singer endorsed handbook, How to Launch a High-Impact Nonprofitto the authors of the five most interesting questions (as picked by the CE team). 

About CE: 

We launch high-impact nonprofits by connecting potential founders with effective ideas, training, and funding. This means we spend thousands of research hours to identify highly-effective interventions in chosen cause areas. We then provide a two-month intensive training program (all costs covered) to teach participants how to run effective charities. We help them pair with a co-founder that will best complement their skills and personality. They finish the program with a proposal for funders that we deliver to our seed network. They grant up to $200,000 USD per project. You can learn more about the program at our Incubation Program website.


 

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What does everyone in your team agree on that the median core EA disagrees on?

Depends what you mean by median core EA, but defining it as “someone we could bump into at EAG multiple years in a row”, I would say:

  • We think there are limitations to what desktop research can uncover, especially in more neglected areas where evidence is more scarce. Therefore, we are time-capping stages of our research process and putting a lot of attention into making it more and more efficient over time (e.g., experimenting on and evaluating the research process itself and iteratively improving it). We think that some parts of research & strategy work will have to be done after a charity gets started as they will be in a better position to gain more information, design quick experiments with  fast feedback loops, and iterate. In general, we are making sure our research can be used to start a high-impact charity in the span of months and sometimes deliberately do not provide answers to all questions.  As a result, we tend to take more risks. 
  • We are less focused on longtermism, and prioritize global well-being (global health and development, animal welfare ect.) based on epistemics the team shares.
  • I think there is a cluster of beliefs related to: taking moral uncertainty seriously, the team being interested in greater cause diversity and in actively exploring candidates for Cause X. 

What are the main advantages of having entrepreneurs start separate organisations vs running the projects inside a larger organisation? You could imagine a world in which entrepreneurs are employees of CE and this would have benefits.

This in many ways is the default path for how many NGOs grow. I think there are quite a few reasons why CE overperforms relative to this. Decentralization broadens the risk profile that each charity is able to take, and smaller organizations move far, far quicker. I suspect the biggest factor though, is not structural but social. The level of founders we get applying are really strong relative to an organization like CE hiring program directors. Due to the psychology of ownership they work far more effectively for their project than they would as an employee of a larger organization. 

What kind of applicant do you think underrates their likelihood of success?

  • We suspect that a huge number of EAs don’t apply who would be excellent candidates, thinking themselves not good enough.
  • This is a shame. Historically, about half of those who have made it all the way through the program and achieved funding didn’t even think they’d be accepted. 
  • Doctors think they lack the commercial skills, business students think they lack the research skills and researchers think they lack the interpersonal skills. The truth is that nobody comes onto the program ready. That’s what the program is for. Moreover, year one of running the charity is where you pilot, test, learn and become an expert; skillful and capable.  Almost nobody actually hits the ground running. We know this too. We are looking for people who have the potential to BECOME great founders, in time. 
  • Furthermore, very few people have a good sense of what it actually takes. That’s because they’ve never done anything like this before. So they underrate themselves not knowing what it takes. We, on the other hand, having started a bunch of charities, do have a good sense of what it takes. So you’re probably best off applying and trusting our vetting process. 


 

  • Specifically,
... (read more)

This is such a good answer. Once this forum post falls off the front page, would someone searching be likely to find it?

6Ula Zarosa4mo
It's pinned at the top at the moment, although we were told that people tend to skip the pinned posts. We could probably talk about it more in a separate post. Thanks for the question!
4Ben Williamson4mo
I'd love to see this as a short post of its own at some point, such a great explanation!

In what ways was researching biosecurity as a cause area different to other areas (if at all)?

Yeah great question! There were some similarities and differences from our normal research process

Similarities

  • We predominantly looked for ideas where there were good feedback loops to measure the impact of the charity and the good that it was doing
  • Our research process  largely worked and could be adapted to biosecurity as a cause area
  • We considered the potential of the negative impact of our ideas, and ideas where this was more likely were far less likely to pass through our research stages

Differences

  •  We had to very seriously consider information hazards in our idea, which is not a consideration we had given much weight on or considered at all for other cause areas
  • Had to rely a bit more on expert opinion and ‘lower’ quality forms of evidence like theoretic evidence, case studies
  • We had a lot more uncertainty about our cost-effectiveness analyses, since estimates vary a lot depending on priors about likelihood of future pandemics and how bad they could be; to an extent, these uncertainties were multiplicative, which made quantification particularly challenging
  • We had to coordinate and talk a lot more to EA biosecurity folk- the space is small and growing, and it was important
... (read more)

+1 for having an AMA! I think it's really valuable and hope other orgs will do this too!

Are there groups/types of people that you would love to see applying to the program who aren't currently (other than just 'talented' people in general)?

What have been your 3 biggest wins?

  • Our mission is for more highly- impactful charities to exist in the world. In four years we’ve helped launch 23. We’ve proved our model works and we’re now getting ready to scale up. 
  • Our research team has traditionally targeted ideas for charities that, in expectation, will be at least 5 X AMF. 
  • We’ve grown in confidence, scope and capability. We’re now targeting even more ambitious  ideas and, we hope, we’re demonstrating  what’s possible. 
  • We’ve grown a very tight- knit community of charity entrepreneurs, funders, researchers, and advisors. 
  • Three  SAMPLE wins are… 
  • 1) Fortify Health who are on the pathway to become one of the GiveWell top recommended charities. They recently received an $8.2 million incubation grant to scale their efforts in India.
  • 2) Lead Exposure Elimination Project is a charity that drives effective policies to eliminate lead poisoning across the globe. In their first year they managed to convince the government of Malawi to take lead paint off the shelves. This may mean ~215,000 fewer children in Malawi getting lead poisoning . LEEP is now working on similar projects in nine other countries.  
  • 3) Fish Welfare Initiative has improved the lives of well over 1.6 million aquatic farmed animals and are making progress in one of the most important, neglected and hard to work places - India, which is the second largest producer of fish globally. 

How do you measure the counterfactual impact of CE?

Currently: Currently we have a backend CEA that evaluates the possible scenarios and impact outcomes for each of the charities. It starts out with pretty wide confidence intervals but tends to narrow as the charities get older (e.g., 2nd or 3rd year). We also write up more narrative reviews that go to a set of external advisors. 

Long term plan: Longer term we want to hire an external evaluation organization to evaluate every charity we found two years after founding, and use those numbers instead of internal ones. 

Can you talk about how CE takes a midtermist approach and why the team think it's compelling / what your key uncertainities are?

6weeatquince3mo
Choosing cause areas In general, CE looks at cause areas where we can have a significant, legible and measurable impact. Traditionally, this has meant focusing on cause areas that within EA are commonly considered near-termist, such as animal welfare, global health and wellbeing, family planning and mental health. However, we think that there are cause areas that fall outside of this remit, and potentially that are traditionally within the long-termist space, where we could potentially find interventions that may have a significant impact and where there are concrete feedback loops. In fact, this is what prompted our research team to look into health security as a cause area.   During out intervention prioritisation research Within health security, there are probably some differences in the way we have defined and operationalised this as a cause area and prioritised interventions compared to others in the community: 1. We have taken a broader focus than GCBRs (Global Catastrophic Biological Risks), and thought about things like antimicrobial resistance, zoonotic pandemics and other biothreats which are very unlikely to have GCBR potential but which may, in expectation, be quite high priority to work on. 2. We are probably less likely to be excited by ideas that might be more tailored solely towards tail-risk GCBR threats. This might include something like civilizational refuges, which we imagine is only useful for extinction risks. The reason that we are less excited about these ideas is not necessarily because we think that the risk of such events is low, but firstly because we think that there are unlikely to be strong ways to measure the impact that work on this area would have in the short to medium term, and secondly because this has less impact in the case of lower than extinction level risks. 3. To operationalise our research and the cost-effectiveness estimates that we have made, we looked at the impa

Could you elaborate on the kind of support and network opportunities CE incubatees from non-European countries get access to, especially after the end of the program, and is there support for relocation? 

7SteveThompson4mo
(This first bit is copied from below) We provide a whole range of supports, from on-going weekly coaching/mentoring, advisors, retreats, sharing resources, workshops, giving administrative, logistical, and legal support. We do whatever we can to help. It's not perfect and we'd like to be able to give even more, but on the whole we are always there if a charity asks for help. We help find new hires, we help access funding, we've even set up a yearly "insurance" system where our charities can opt to place a small % of their donations as a "rainy day fund" for a charity in the pool that has a timing issue securing funding. —- then to address your question more specifically… We help with visa applications, endorsements etc, and if you’re moving to London we can provide shared office space at our HQ. We also provide stipends to cover living costs for a month or so after the program if needed. For those who start a charity, the specific costs of relocation can be added to their funding proposal and spent down as the founders see fit. We provide access to the network of funders. But it’s up to the founders to pay themselves what they need to do the work. It’s their choice. We don’t stipulate salaries. So if you need to relocate then we’d encourage you to include this in your proposal.
3Sumaiya Taqdees3mo
Thanks so much for the elaborate and helpful response! This is great to know. 

Over the last few years, salaries for meta charities have increased a fair amount, has this changed how you approach compensation for CE hiring (not for the incubation program)? e.g. are you concerned that some top candidates might self-select out?

Our policy regarding salaries has not changed as much as other meta charities; leanness tends to attract a different sort of applicant. We have a range ($40-$60k) but would consider applications from candidates who need higher than that range. In practice, we have often found the most talented candidates are less concerned with salary and more concerned about other factors (impact of the role, culture, flexibility, etc.). We are a bit skeptical about the perception that talent increases from offering higher salaries (instead of attracting new talent, we typically see the same EA people getting job roles but just for a higher cost). 

I think I could be a useful advisor to an initiative that CE is considering starting, but am already committed to a project of my own and so won't apply to the CE program. Is there a way to register my interest in helping? Would CE find that useful?

The answer might be signing up to be a mentor (https://www.charityentrepreneurship.com/mentorship), but that seemed targeted at folks with experience starting/managing orgs.

3SteveThompson4mo
Yes, signing up to be a mentor is a great way to get involved! 
  • Thanks a lot for your interest in supporting our charities! 
  • How it works is we read the forms and then we match potential advisors/mentors with specific charity or specific founder. It is very important for us to use the mentor’s/advisor’s time in the most valuable way. So there is no barriers for filling the form - any skills/experiance level is welcome. We will just make sure to use it for the right charity at the right time and find a good fit for both mentee and mentor/advisor.

In Israel, we have lots of people (in and around EA) who want to be founders, but as far as I know they didn't apply to CE (or they didn't get accepted?)

How many such people do you do "user research" with, if any?

Do you understand why they don't apply and maybe what might get them to apply anyway?

I know of ~3 people who've applied or are applying, and expect there to be more I don't know of :) 

5SteveThompson4mo
We would love to do user interviews with people who don’t apply. How might we find these people and encourage them to tell us what’s holding them back or what’s off putting? Steve@charityentrepreneurship.com [Steve@charityentrepreneurship.com]
4Yonatan Cale4mo
I only have small hints: 1. I talked to one person in a CE talk in Israel, someone with at least 5 years of professional experience (in some technical role in the IDF), who said he won't apply because CE seems to have so many candidates already which are probably already really good 2. I saw an application form [related to CE but not CE] which was very long and had personality-test kind of questions. I don't know if CE has these, but I do know that this affects candidates who are thinking of applying to a company (since I talk to lots of candidates) I notice none of these are in Ula's list [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/xnHnsrFEMEMPXBWqR/ask-charity-entrepreneurship-anything?commentId=KPy4hAb83Lkp9uyB2#KPy4hAb83Lkp9uyB2].  If I happen to discover more of these I'll happily tell you, but I don't think you should count on me, most of my focus is elsewhere
6Lorenzo Buonanno4mo
I also heard 1 from someone, for what it's worth
2Yonatan Cale4mo
Ah, nice!
9Ula Zarosa4mo
I want to add to Steve's answer:  We did extensive user research when we were starting out, both among prospective candidates and among actual successful charity founders, to find out what the barriers are and design the program to address them. Since then we haven’t done systematic research of this sort, but are constantly updating based on hundreds of conversations we have every year with people who could be a good fit, and partly based on that, modify the support we offer to address their concerns.  Coommon barriers for applying to the program:  1) One of them can be that someone does not have enough information about the program. We decided to address that by participating in multiple EAGx conferences this year, having talks, career booths, and meeting people in one-on-one settings. As you know, we have also visited EA Israel  and gave a talk addressed to local entrepreneurs. :) 2) The second barrier is that people are sometimes choosing between multiple career options, e.g., getting more education or experience before considering starting a project. We have addressed this by offering coaching calls that people could apply for twice in the last year.  3) The third barrier ( and we have written more about this in another answer on this forum) is when someone has some misconceptions about personality traits, credentials, or expertise needed. That is why we have modified our talks and workshops to explain better who awe are looking for and what traits, in our opinion, make the best nonprofit entrepreneurs.  We have noticed that we are most successful in encouraging people to apply when a team member, or a person who started a charity through our program, can talk to them. Just sharing their experience or more information about the program and the support after the program, can make a big difference. We also want people to consider the application process itself as the best test to check their fit for this career path, that is why we invite them to apply as a form

EA Italy is planning to give a talk about CE and encourage people to apply to this round.

Do you have some slides we could use, would you recommend a particular talk we can copy?
Of course, we'll mention that we're in no way affiliated and are just huge fans.

Thanks so much for all your awesome work!

Here’s a video of a presentation: it’s purpose is to help people really consider if this path is for them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpZgc0e1aaQ

If you email me steve@charityentrepreneurship.com I’m happy to talk about how you might run a group session, and share some resources.

What community technical infrastructure would CE especially like to see, if any?

eg the difference between the forum, swapcard, twitter, metaculus

We would love to see some kind of integration between what used to be the EA Hub, Swapcard, and EA Forum. It would be amazing if the EA movement could basically have its own ecosystem that combined the functionalities of LinkedIn (all people having professional, accessible work profiles in one space/database) and the forum (the profile is connected to our EA forum posts), with the additional feature that would allow the user to quickly apply to any conference from the profile, and transfer the data to Swapcard (or another conference app).  So an all-in-one EA profile that could be researched by potential colleagues, employers, and co-founders. For CE this kind of access to the EA talent pool would be immensely beneficial because one of the bottlenecks for our scaling is reaching the talent pool that can start new charities faster.  

2Nathan Young4mo
How much would you pay out of your budget for this? And how much would you pay for swapcard to consistently be rated 4 or 5*s by attendees of EAGs? In both cases, only in terms of the value it would get you.

As a generator of 18 charity organizations from inception to date, how does CE provide post-incubation support and guidance to ensure that these established charities are thriving optimally, as well as making significant impacts in their various cause areas?

We provide a whole range of supports, from on-going weekly coaching/mentoring, advisors, retreats, sharing resources, workshops, giving administrative, logistical, and legal support. We do whatever we can to help. It's not perfect and we'd like to be able to give even more, but on the whole we are always there if a charity asks for help.  

We help find new hires, we help access funding, we've even set up a yearly "insurance" system where our charities can opt to place a small % of their donations as a "rainy day fund" for a charity in the pool that has a timing issue securing funding. 

8Ilunamien4mo
With such support, the chances of CE charities falling off courses would be minimal. Your response has satisfied my curiosity a great deal but has also birthed a follow-up question. I will present it as a new comment. Thank you for your time! 
5SteveThompson4mo
We’re also very interested in tracking their impact (for many reasons including our own cost effectiveness analyses). We encourage and will pay for external impact evaluations too. We encourage orgs to have shut down criteria and scale up criteria and we coach and advise based on these.

As CE is quite impactful and there’s an urgent need for evidence-based, high-impact nonprofits working on an array of cause areas all over the world, are any talks or movements happening for the upscaling and diversification of CE, for instance, starting CE regional branches or broad cause area branches?         Thanks!

6Ula Zarosa4mo
We have published a post on our scaling plans here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/EL3dKu5XcfjYhdjFX/ce-is-scaling-our-3-year-plan-and-current-hiring-round [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/EL3dKu5XcfjYhdjFX/ce-is-scaling-our-3-year-plan-and-current-hiring-round] and they are now in progress, with the goal of doubling the quality and quantity of our charities in the next three years. Both, regional branches and cause area branches were part of the discussion when we were making the plan and our next evaluation point is coming this November, so we can’t exclude them completely. Some ideas included: India branch of CE, and only animal-focused CE, and these are still under our consideration. However, the three-year plan published on the EA forum is the closest to our near-term plans.  We are typically limited by senior staff who could lead a scaling project like this.   
1Sumaiya Taqdees3mo
Thanks so much for the response. Excited to see CE grow further. 

If you could get everyone in EA to read one blog length post, which would it be?

I think something talking about the concept of cause X , or an area we think is a top contender that many EAs have not yet considered deeply (e.g., family planning). Even with the recent challenge prize on this, I think EA is way over-indexed on exploit vs. explore when it comes to cause areas.  

2Nathan Young4mo
Reading this, I was surpised by the size of your causes. I've always thought of cause X to be something the size of X risks or global dev. Maybe I was wrong there.

Our team is standing by to answer questions related to:

 

This reads like you don't want to answer other questions. How about 

As examples, you might want to ask questions related to:

5Ula Zarosa4mo
Great suggestion, changed that! 

What is the main bottleneck to CE scaling up faster?

We have the ideas, (and can find more) we have the program, (and can train more). What we need are more applicants. More leaders to pick up the ideas and make them a reality.

9Miguel Lima Medín4mo
Hi Steve, I feel a contradiction in these messages: 1. In this reply you recognize that applicants are the bottleneck, and you encourage more applicants 2. In your blog post Most common reasons people do not get into the program [https://www.charityentrepreneurship.com/post/https-www-charityentrepreneurship-com-post-i-have-a-charity-idea] you explain that each year you get several thousand applications for an incubation program with 20-40 seats So it seems that less than 1% of applicants will be accepted, but you still feel that applicants is the bottleneck. Please let me know if I misinterpreted some information. Many thanks for your time answering our questions and for your great incubation program!
1SteveThompson4mo

Yep - it's true we get very large numbers of applicants. Perhaps 80% are speculative though, and don't even really understand what we do.  So the big number is somewhat misleading. Of the two or three hundred  relevant candidates we receive, maybe 20 or so will make it onto the program.  So for the purposes of those reading the EA Forum (who one would imagine are somewhat or very involved in EA) the likelihood of getting into the later rounds of the application process are actually pretty good. 

I will add, however, that it's a little difficult to communicate around this topic. On the one hand we want to ensure people know that it's highly competitive; on the other, we don't want to discourage people. Furthermore, each recent round of applications has been really quite different, so it's not easy to generalize or lay out probabilities.  

What we are confident about is that if we could find more excellent candidates we would be able to start more excellent charities.  Our experience is that it makes a huge difference to find particularly well suited candidates. They tend to go on to start exceptionally effective organizations. 
 

3Miguel Lima Medín4mo
Thanks for the clarification! I was expecting an answer like this, but it is great to have your confirmation. I will definitively apply!
2SteveThompson4mo
Oh - and apologies for how long it took me to respond to this. 

What thoughts do you have about older applicants?

We certainly don't vet on the basis of age. We've had 19 yr olds and 60+ yr olds. I was 43 on the program. Yes it's true that most of the applicants are younger and that youth is a reasonably good proxy for higher energy and career / location flexibility, but we do value life experience and do seek older applicants. One can imagine a particularly good founding team being made up of a younger person with their strengths and an older person with their experience. 

How many more top charity ideas do you think you will find over the next few years?

2Ula Zarosa4mo
Our goal is to find two-three very good ideas each research cycle. So that would mean approximately four-six top ideas per calendar year. In our near-term scale-up plan, we could increase our capacity to maybe eight top ideas per calendar year (we are just talking about ideas we want to see launched through our Incubation Program). 
3SteveThompson4mo
1Miguel Lima Medín4mo
I read about the Incubation program in your site [https://www.charityentrepreneurship.com]. Is the "Foundations program" a different initiative? I don't recall seeing it in the site. Please guide us to the information. Thanks!

Just letting you know of The Letten Prize in case you know anyone under 45 who's done relevant work in Global Health & Development and might wish to spend a few minutes sending in an application. As I understand it, the prize recognises past achievements, so there's no work to hand in before the deadline.

Prize money: 2,5 MNOK (~235 000 USD).
Deadline: February 6th, 2023.
Applicants last year: 50.

In 2018 you published a report (now deleted from the internet) that advocated for reducing human populations in the third world in order to reduce meat consumption. This was criticised by several people, both for ignoring flow-through effects (like existential risks, wild animal suffering, or long run growth, or population ethics) and for seeming dishonest about your true motivations / resembling eugenics. In the replies you mentioned neglecting these concerns, even though they had caused others to reach the opposite conclusion, because of time limitations... (read more)

Hi Larks! A lot to unpack here but in general, we only decided to start a family planning organization after we concluded that it also has a positive near-term effect on human well-being, and when it comes to long-term, very uncertain flow-through effects, we don’t strongly take them into account for any of the interventions we evaluate because they are too uncertain, but we gladly will when more evidence is available. I will address your specific points below. 

In 2018 you published a report (now deleted from the internet) that advocated for reducing human populations in the third world in order to reduce meat consumption.

[...]

I see you have continued to do work on charities that would reduce human populations, though without making as explicit that the original motivation was not so much to help people directly but rather to reduce their number. 

First of all, just a clarification here, we are not focusing on reducing human populations to start with, but on reducing suffering and increasing well-being. Also, we did not assume that it would be an advocacy for reducing human populations in the third world specifically. As the summary at the top says: “The interven... (read more)

Umm, there is a lot going on here.

advocated for reducing human populations in the third world in order to reduce meat consumption. This was criticised by several people, both for ignoring flow-through effects (like existential risks, wild animal suffering, or long run growth, or population ethics) and for seeming dishonest about your true motivations / resembling eugenics

Is this view that this "resembles eugenics" your personal view? Because I can’t find this claim in your linked comments besides Ben Millwood’s feelings that this could produce negative reactions.

Millwood’s concerns are fine and welcome, but your comment seems much much stronger. Do we want to encourage a norm that stops discussions/projects, because in a contrived, remote way, these could lead to people slipping in implausible, extremely negative associations (often to the disadvantage of conservative viewpoints, since the coastal left is heavily over represented in EA?)

now deleted from the internet...seeming dishonest about your true motivations...neglecting these concerns

You say the initial presentation of the idea is “dishonest”, but it’s not clear why? You state their agenda is the mission of reducing animal su... (read more)

8Charles He4mo
There is a lot going on here, but basically none of these concerns are mainstream (so generally are neglected from an EA standpoint). On the other hand, family planning and access to contraception seems to be almost universally conventional promoted because it empowers women and reduces poverty. For example, see https://www.unfpa.org/family-planning [https://www.unfpa.org/family-planning]:  
-3Larks4mo
Sorry, perhaps I should have been more clear. I think there are two core issues: * Honesty: * Promoting a intervention based on analysis X (e.g. neonatal health) when the actual reason you believe in it is Y (animal welfare), and being intentionally misleading about this fact. * Flow-through: * Analyzing in depth one positive flow-through effect (animal welfare) but not other flow through effects that plausibly are very large and negative (e.g. existential risk, wild animal welfare, growth, population ethics). (Unless there is unpublished research on this subject, hence my asking). I don't have any principled objection to doing unpopular things; there are many EAs doing potentially unpopular things in an epistemically principled way without actively misleading people. It's not a crux for me so I don't want to go to deeply into this point, but I don't think it is that implausible that normal people might connect 'we want to reduce populations in the third world' with 'eugenics'. Yes, if it is plausible that an analysis could suggest that, all things considered, creating a specific charity is a bad idea, then some of the analysis you do before creating that charity should be on those considerations. Or, you could skip the analysis and create some other charity that does not require such research.
6Miguel Lima Medín4mo
I my opinion to say "continued to do work [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/wx6Xw63yJt67YKdzh/why-start-a-family-planning-charity-founders-needed-1] on charities that would reduce human populations" is very unfair referring to a proposal on family planning.

What other incubation programme do you think is second best after CE, in case you are entrepreneurial and EA minded? In case there is really no one anywhere near, what would be arguments for and against the existence of another CE?

We would be excited about people creating another CE. We think that creating a more effective organization is extremely impactful and would be happy to see more organizations working on it. In those few efforts that have been tried by the EA community, we were happy to advise and share our knowledge, and we will be happy to do it for others.  

To my knowledge, there is no EA-aligned nonprofit incubator that provides comprehensive support similar to CE. The closest was Longtermist Entrepreneurship (LE) Project, but they discontinued after a year of scoping. They wrote a fantastic post about their learning. A couple of other organizations that offer some support: 

  • FTX offers funding for new organizations, and EA Funds also often seed new projects, I suspect that both founders could also help with advice and connections to relevant people, 
  • Sometimes they are efforts to incubate specific organizations, e.g. civilizational refuges (SHELTER weekend announcement and report from the retreat),
  • Rethink Priorities and Effective Ventures are offering operational support for new projects.

Outside EA there is also Skoll which offers support for social enterprises and Fa... (read more)

1Thijs Jacobs3mo
Thanks for such an elaborate response!  This kind of info is helpful to slowly get more mature in this space. 

I have heard of the $200k E2G threshold you use to quantify impact or help people choose among different career paths. Where can I read more about how this figure is estimated?

4SteveThompson4mo
https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/drRsWTctSqNRveK56/what-is-the-expected-value-of-creating-a-givewell-top [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/drRsWTctSqNRveK56/what-is-the-expected-value-of-creating-a-givewell-top]
3Thijs Jacobs3mo
Thanks for that, Steve! Interesting to skim over. It seems rather outdated and sketchy, the funding and charity situation in EA has changed dramatically since 2016. But you were probably aware of that yourself. Do you have any idea whether the number is actually used and therefore influential for individuals choices, or is it just a interesting number floating around? Depending on that you might want to consider to update the calculations. 
3SteveThompson3mo
Thanks Thijs Good point. TBH, I haven't given much thought in a while. Be good to re-calculate given that we have way more datapoints now and, as you say, the funding situation has changed. 

It seems like it would be particularly difficult to know ahead of time whether one is well-suited to founding a charity, and I can imagine that is a major barrier to application. Do you have any suggestions for assessment of fit?

Yes - the best way to figure out if you’re a good fit is to apply. 

It's low cost and we've developed a pretty good understanding on who will do well. It's not reasonable to expect to know yourself, if you'd be a good fit for doing something that you've never done. So I'd suggest you submit an application and see how far you get. 

I will add though, not getting through doesn't mean you're NOT a good fit, it just means we had some concerns or reservations given our particular approach. However if you do get in you can be confident you ARE a good fit. We are very careful about that. 
 

Also, as said elsewhere, almost nobody is a good fit when they first join the program. That’s what the program is for. We’re looking for potential, ambition, capacity to learn and overtime to become a leader.  

Is there a deferral option (to the next cycle) for selected candidates who for some reason won’t be able to join the program cycle they applied for?      Thanks 

3SteveThompson4mo
Yes - that's been done in the past. Case by case basis. There can be good reasons to defer. But it's best to apply early and then discuss those considerations with us if you progress to the final rounds of the application process. 
1Sumaiya Taqdees3mo
Thank you so much for your response.

Are there any statistics you can share about likelihoods of a successful application?

8KarolinaSarek4mo
We start with ~3000 applications and only accept a small number. It may seem like the odds are low, however:  * Lots of people apply via the initial form, but after that the odds become more reasonable and you would find yourself up against numbers closer to 300. The stats for EAs are also pretty high (about 5x more likely to be successful relative to non-EA applications). * If you get to interview one, you may be among 50-100 other people * At test task two, among 20-50. We’ve tried to make the first two rounds valuable and worth the effort even if you don’t progress. Round one will give you feedback on your fit and strengths. Round two will enable you to compare and contrast your career options.  The upside of applying (we believe) is high, and combined with the feedback you’ll get, there is good reason to put yourself forward. We try to be very careful not to waste anyone’s time. 

Charity Entrepreneurship identified many ways to use entrepreneurship to improve the world, but decided to focus specifically in charities.

Are you aware of any organization equivalent to CE but focused on identifying for-profit entrepreneurship opportunities aligned with EA values and goals, and supporting EA for-profit entrepreneurs? I’m not sure if the concept makes sense, but I’m curious to understand if there is anyone already working on it.

Thanks again for your time!

As not every incubatee of the program starts a charity, could you provide some information on the procedure for further selection of founders, if any, during the program? Information regarding other processes that lead to this outcome would be helpful too.

9KarolinaSarek4mo
The process to arrive at a co-founder and charity idea is very much participant-driven. In the first five weeks, you will work on two charity-relevant projects per day, in pairs. Initially, you will get to know every participant. Each week, you submit your preference in terms of ideas and co-founders. This will influence project assignments for the coming week. Towards the end of the five weeks, each participant ends up with a few favorite co-founder/idea configurations. The CE team will make a recommendation on charity teams based on participants’ preferences and the highest impact potential. In the final three weeks of the program, you will work in your actual charity configuration - with an idea and co-founder you really like - and submit a project proposal. The proposal will be screened by CE and forwarded to CE’s funder network which issues seed grants.
1Sumaiya Taqdees3mo
Thank you so much for the detailed response. Very helpful!

How well do you think EA deals with disagreements between large groups of EAs. How would you fix this, if you had a magic wand and weren't allowed to fix actual cause areas?

5Joey4mo
Compared to other movements it seems pretty good; relative to the ideal, we of course could do better. In general, I think encouraging more critical thinking and debate is likely a step in the right direction.  Right now I think disagreements can be handled a bit indirectly (e.g., I would love to see even more open cause area debates instead of just funding of outreach in one area and not another).

I read in your post Region-Specific Impactful Charity Groundwork - a New Way to Join the CE Incubation Program from 2020 that you presented the possibility to work on region specific research.

How did it go? How many people worked on this? Was there any particular region starting the region-specific research program?

Is it possible to apply for this regional research option on the 2023 programs?

If one were to enter the incubation program; could they request a certain mentor or is the process purely test based? 

6Ula Zarosa4mo
When it comes to mentors during the program, multiple team members are available; it depends on the expertise needed for a given problem. Long-term mentorship is often decided based on the cause area in which a given mentor has more experience in, but it is not set in stone. As for external expertise, the same rule follows; we will have mentors in multiple areas available, e.g., fundraising, research, M&E etc. So the mentors/advisors are mostly based on needs and there is an opportunity to talk or work with multiple.

I love your research process and how you present it in a very transparent and simple way. I appreciate the fact that you share publicly the result of Stage 6: Deep Dive in the form of high-quality research reports for the top 2-4 charity ideas.

Have you ever considered publishing also some conclusions of the exploratory stages 1-5?

I understand a lot of the information will be in informal unstructured notes, but I guess there might be valuable information that is easy to share (for example a list of all ideas considered at each stage).

7Ula Zarosa4mo
Yes, we have! In our very recent post on the EA forum we actually linked to our ideas list from the previous rounds:  “You can see the full initial list of about 275 ideas, along with a summary of our prioritization process here [https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wIe4skey0OBCLSP_qiCHTB6I6bVxTX-M9-p8ihsJYWw/edit#gid=1491308289].” We would like to include more information like this in the future. However, we always need to be mindful about how much people would update based on more shallow research and how much time would it take to communicate it well, e.g., polishing these earlier stages for publishing. In the past, sometimes people over-updated or formed an opinion based on shallow research and we would like to avoid that. We do share our notes with organizations that we collaborate with, or upon request if we think it would be useful for others. But yes, we are in the process of thinking how we can improve the information sharing even further within our time limits. 
3Miguel Lima Medín4mo
Great! This is exactly what I was referring to. I understand your concerns about the risks of making it available to the general public of your site. Publishing it in the EA forum is a good option to make it available to a very specific informed audience. I assume you compare the impact of health interventions using human DALYs. How do you measure and compare against each other the animal welfare initiatives?

Your process to improve the world is based on two steps:

  1. Research potential initiatives. Filter the most impactful and prepare an initial plan for them
  2. Support potential leaders to set up a new charity that will work on the initiative

Have you ever considered replacing step 2 by “working with existing charities so that they include the idea in their portfolio”?

3SteveThompson4mo
We believe that it's very challenging to change  existing organizations.
3SteveThompson3mo
See also, Joey's response to a very similar question towards the top of the thread

Is it worthwhile for an individual with an established EA-Aligned org idea to apply for the incubation program, seeing as: 1) this diverges from CE's modus operandi (at least to my mind) wherein interventions are researched, determined, and then matched to potential founders; and 2) there would be a significant time-lag (from now until February) in which the project could be significantly developed without incubation?

Thanks a lot!

Could you perhaps shed some light on  considerations, if any, made to better suit candidates and incubatees from non-European countries, given that there are many neglected ( & potentially high-impact) cause and intervention areas outside of Europe?

What are the team's hottest takes?

I genuinely want things that you think it's slightly impolitic to say, because I think sometimes we overly suppress that kind of discourse on the forum.

I think there are a few things that fit into this category, how much deference is in the EA space would be one.  Another would be the relative importance of high-absorbency career paths. Some things we have not written about but also fit would be how EA deals with low evidence base/feedback loop spaces. Or how little skepticism is applied to EA meta charities.

I've just been looking at the list of ideas you assessed in 2022, and one of them was to do with CO2 stunning of pigs. Even as someone who is reasonably aware of factory farming practices, that was pretty stomach-churning to read. I get that a focus on impact and a well-defined CEA will lead to selecting other ideas, but what do you do with the emotions that must come up as you think about some of the problems you're researching?

8vicky_cox4mo
It is definitely difficult to do research into these areas where there is so much suffering involved, and as you mentioned it is often the areas of suffering that you just had no idea about that are the worst - learning a new way that animals suffer. It’s also important, of course, to make sure that these emotions don't bias us towards interventions that are more horrific but less tractable etc. For me the most difficult thing I have had to research is the use of glue traps for rodents as I just didn’t know glue traps existed before doing this research and the photos and descriptions of their use were particularly horrible, this was without a doubt the saddest I had felt whilst doing research. The way I console myself is that I know that I am doing this research because we are trying to help these animals, or the most animals we can, and that definitely feels worthwhile. 
6RachelM4mo
Thanks a lot, Vicky. It seems both empowering and humbling - "I'm helping to remove a lot of suffering from the world!" and also "There are so many beings I can't help!"

Do you have any advice for individuals who are interested in starting a charity, but who cannot or do not want to go through the CE incubation program (e.g. because their application was rejected, or because they didn't find the time to participate in the program, or because they do not fully agree with CE's approach)?

Hey CE team, 
I submitted my application a couple of days ago and I've got a question about the application process!

What are the timings for the different stages of the application process, and how much flexibility is there if someone (me, that someone is me) was going to be uncontactable for ~17 days in early November?

I submitted a version of this question with more details to your contact form a couple of days ago. I haven't heard back yet and figured a (slightly) generalised version here could be useful (mostly for me to get a the question seen by the right person, possibly for others in a similar position)

4Ula Zarosa4mo
I have just sent you a message about it (apologies for the late reply, we get a lot of contact emails at the moment). From the deadline (31st October) it should take us up to 6 weeks to process the applications. We are happy to accommodate circumstances like this during this period. 
3Miguel Lima Medín4mo
I have an additional question about timing: Is October 31st 2022 the application deadline for June-August or will you provide later a new deadline for the program June-August?
6Ula Zarosa4mo
We will open another application round (probably March/April 2023) where people will be able to apply for the late June-August 2023 program. However, we always encourage everyone to apply early, cause it increases the chances of getting in.

What things does the median EA get wrong by an order of magnitude or more, in the opinion of your team?

This is your current EA forum wiki entry.

What should it say?

Charity Entrepreneurship is a non-profit organization that conducts research and offers training programs aimed at creating high-impact charities. It is an example of a charity incubator. To date, the cause areas their research and incubation activities have mostly focused on are global health and development, animal welfare, and "EA meta",[1] though they've also incubated charities focused on human subjective wellbeing and climate change.

Funding

As of July 2022, Charity Entrepreneurship has r... (read more)

If you wanted me to know a 5 minute pitch to tell someone why CE is important, what would it be?

  • Imagine Rob Mather hadn’t started the Against Malaria Foundation. That’s likely 200 million bednets, gone from the world. 
  • Imagine Karolina and Joey hadn’t started CE, that’s 23 charities and perhaps all their future impact, gone from the world. 
  • Imagine Will hadn’t started GWWC and CEA, that likely means no EAGs, no movement, no EA Forum…. all gone from the world.
  • Leaders, founders, starters-  people who step up to the plate and launch something are incredibly contingent, irreplaceable, and important.  They can set in motion massive amounts of impact. Few opportunities have such upsides, few build more career capital. 
  • We have thousands of EAs but not nearly enough organizations to absorb the current talent pool, let alone the future tsunami of people coming into EA. We need to create a pipeline of hundreds of organizations now, who will absorb and direct the world's most talented and committed altruists towards the world's most pressing problems. If we don't, so much good will be wasted. 
5Nathan Young4mo
I'll push back a little that those things wouldn't have happened, but you're right that they would have happened later and that would have been bad.
3SteveThompson4mo
Not sure. The ideas of EA and of bed nets were around long before these people stepped up to the plate. Some argue that without GW, EA might not have taken off to this day.  But I do agree that oftentimes leaders are advancing things more quickly than they would otherwise be. 

What does everyone in your team agree on that the median EA disagrees on?

Roughly how many applications do you expect to receive for the incubation programme, and how many progress to each round of the selection process? What are the main reasons why people do or don't progress?

6KarolinaSarek4mo
As we mentioned in another response:  We start with ~3000 applications and only accept a small number. It may seem like the odds are low, however lots of people apply via the initial form, but after  that the odds become more reasonable and you would find yourself up against numbers closer to 300. The stats for EAs are also pretty high (about 5x more likely to be successful relative to non-EA applications). If you get to interview one, you may be among 50-100 other people. At test task two, among 20-50. We’ve tried to make the first two rounds valuable and worth the effort even if someone doesn’t progress. Round one will give you feedback on your fit and strengths. Round two will enable you to compare and contrast your career options.  We also published a blog post on most common reasons people don’t get into the Incubation Program here [https://www.charityentrepreneurship.com/post/https-www-charityentrepreneurship-com-post-i-have-a-charity-idea]. For the majority of candidates they are: - Own idea being weaker than top recommendations, - Limited experience running independent projects, - Weak test tasks, - Low flexibility For the strongest candidates they are: - Lack of competitive advantage, - Complicating factors, - Riks of low co-founder compatibility, - Charity entrepreneurship not being a top choice

Do you provide training on fundraising methods, besides the preparation of a funding proposal as one of the culminating activities? For example, do you cover any core skills or tactics that might help build a broader community of smaller donors, or does CE favour fundraising from a small number of donors with very high giving capacity? Thanks!

7Patrick Stadler4mo
Thanks for your question! :) Training on fundraising is a key part of the program. We show what funder types and specific organizations work best for the different stages of a charity - from startup, to medium-sized NGO, to large-scale organization. Building a large base of donors is less of a priority for new charities, so approaches like crowdfunding are covered less. The main focus for early-stage organizations is on high-net worth individuals and venture philanthropy, so our advice and exercises focus on these. 
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