Part A (20 mins.)

In this exercise, we’ll imagine that you’re planning to donate to a charity to improve global health, and explore how much you could do with that donation.

GiveWell is an effective altruism-inspired organization which attempts to identify outstanding donation opportunities in global health and development. Using their reports on their top charities and your earlier estimate of your future income, try and work out what you could achieve if you donated 10% of your lifetime income to one of these charities. 

If you’re short on time, here’s a sheet with information about three top GiveWell charities. If you’d like to explore further, check out GiveWell’s cost effectiveness models.

Complete this exercise for three GiveWell charities, writing down your answer like, e.g.:

Malaria Consortium: X months of malaria prevention for one person, with an estimate of N deaths averted

 

Part B (10 mins.)

In the last section, you ended up with a few different options. Now imagine you were given $1,000 to donate to only one of these charities. 

There's a difficult judgment to be made now: since you have to pick, which charity would you donate to to do the most good?

Now write down your answer to the following questions:

Which charity do you pick to donate to? Why?
 

Part C (Optional, 10 mins.)

What are other decisions in your life that you might consider generating quantitative estimates and comparing outcomes for? 

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The first one would be directed to the vitamin A supplementation (VAS) program by Helen Keller International (HKI) as a cost-effective way to reduce childhood mortality. it is estimated that it costs $1.10 to deliver a vitamin A supplement through their programs. I’m drawn to this cause as the scale of undernutrition effect could cause millions of persistently malnourished children to be less mentally and physically capable than they otherwise would be and make them more prone to several non-communicable diseases during adulthood.

 

 The second option would be a new EA organization, incubated by CE, and I came to know about it from the EA introductory course and discussed it with my groups. Lead Exposure Elimination Project (LEEP) aims to reduce lead poisoning that is affecting nearly 815 million children worldwide that has detrimental effects on neurodevelopment and IQ. It has been estimated that every dollar spent on lead paint hazard control results in a return of $17-$221 

 

The third organization will be alternating between meta charities as it feels so hard to only pick one and I’d rather donate every month to a different org. in this way, I would feel more comfortable giving a chance to every org in this category. Meta charities focus mainly on community building which is considered an intervention that potentially benefits a variety of cause areas rather than working on s specific cause area.  According to 80000hours, it’s believed that the effective altruism community could eventually save 100–1,000 million quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) per year by causing $10–100 billion per year to be spent on much more effective projects. 

 

 

From another perspective, if I must choose only one organization I would go for a meta charity for a few reasons. First, although it seems it focuses on a particular cause area yet, at the same time it will have returns all cause areas where an EA community builder exists. This leads me to my second reason which is by working on promoting effective altruism and community building it’ll potentially multiply its impact several-fold, by helping others avoid ineffective ways of helping others, and channeling their efforts into strategies that are many times more effective. Third, meta charity can help with the current challenge in EA which is surprisingly not related to funding (there’s enough money at least for the current being) but the lack of capacity within the human resource for conducting cost-effective interventions and running the current charities more effectively to have a higher impact. Charity entrepreneurship (CE) is one of the organizations that’s very interesting, they work on establishing other EA charities that serve EA priority cause areas and provide not only seed funding but also capacity building and career coaching for potential entrepreneurs. So far, they helped around 17 organizations to start up, and although I couldn’t manage to get my hands on any estimates for their activities and their impact in an aggregate value (or maybe I need to do more research :D). So if I must choose only one organization it would be CE, but for me, I prefer to select meta charities as an aggregate entity and donate each month to one of these charities. 

1 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 9:46 AM

For the sake of using the handbook for an intro fellowship - where is the "earlier estimate of your future income" located, if anywhere, in the handbook? Does it refer to some exercise or to a graph in one of the articles on economic inequality? And if there is no such thing, perhaps an alternative phrasing or including the estimate in the exercise would be great!