Effective altruists have proposed a variety of potential ways to improve donor coordination and increase, thereby, the effectiveness of individual donations. For instance, Ben Todd proposes that people give to any charity that they think is among the best that the community should fund, whilst Denis Drescher sketches a general approach to the problem and notes important
challenges (Todd 2016; Drescher 2016). Drescher, Denis (2016) Concept for donor coordination , Impartial Priorities , January 23. A blog post discussing some potential solutions. Todd, Benjamin (2016) The value of coordination , 80,000 Hours , February 8. 80,000 Hours’ discussion of the problem and a potential solution.
For example, suppose that two people both like two charities. They think each should get $10,000 this year, because they believe that diminishing marginal returns mean that $10,000 is the limit of what each charity could spend productively at the
moment. Each of them wants to donate a total of $10,000. If they cannot coordinate and randomly choose one of the charities to receive all of their money, then there is a 50% chance that they will each give to the same charity. In that case, the other charity will be unfunded, and the funded charity will be unable to spend all of its money well.
It is sometimes
extremely useful for donors to coordinate in how they go about supporting charities.