Co-Director @ Effective Altruism UK
4132 karmaJoined Dec 2014Working (6-15 years)


How others can help me

I'm happy talking to anyone, don't hesitate to reach out. Specific things we may want to chat about include;

  • How fast/slow and where should EA grow as a movement?
  • What lessons can we learn from other movements?
  • How much should we focus on people in the core of EA vs on the fringe?
  • Do you have a new idea for a cause or project related to EA?

Topics I have been thinking about for a while but still enjoy chatting about:-

  • Movement building & strategy
  • Meta EA
  • Networks vs connections
  • New cause areas/interventions

How I can help others

If you're thinking about being a community organiser or are currently organising an EA related group then I'd be happy to share ideas on strategy and community building. Especially for people working on cause specific work or in neglected regions of the world.

I've been an organiser with EA UK since 2015, working part time since 2017 and full time since 2019. I've also had conversations with people setting up groups around the world and also career, cause, interest and workplace related groups.

I have also had quite a few career conversations with people and could be a good sounding board if you had career/project questions.


Topic Contributions

I think it depends on how you define 'narrow EA', if you focus on getting 1% of the population to give effectively, that's different to helping 100 people make impactful career switches but both could be defined as narrow in different ways.

One being narrow as it focuses on a small number of people, one being narrow as it spreads a subset of EA ideas.


Taking the Dutch Existential Risk Initiative example, it will be narrow in terms of cause focus but the strategy could still vary between focusing on top academics or a mass media campaign.

'Narrow EA' and having >1% of the population fitting the above description aren't opposite strategies.

Maybe it's similar to someone interested in animal welfare thinking alt protein coordination should focus on scientists, entrepreneurs, funders and policy makers but also thinking it would be good for there to be lots of people interested in veganism.

There are a lot of private sector community roles, some with salaries up to $180k - Here are some examples from a community manager job board.

It's not necessarily that the "EA" jobs are more poorly paid, just that the people that take these roles could realistically earn much more elsewhere. 

Answer by DavidNashNov 05, 202334

One way to think about it is that the aim of EA is to benefit the beneficiaries - the poorest people in the world, animals, future beings.

We should choose strategies that help the beneficiaries the most rather than strategies that help people that happen to be interested in EA (unless that also helps the beneficiaries - things like not burning out).

It makes sense to me that we should ask of those who have had the most privilege to give back the most, if you have more money you should give more of it away. If you have a stronger safety net and access to influence, you should use more of that to help others rather than helping yourself.

I think with the salaries, for most  people, they could probably earn more in other sectors if they only cared about monetary gain rather than including impact in their career choice. If you're coming from a charity/public service sector they may seem higher, if you're coming from a private sector career they seem lower.

Looking at the grants database for 2023, there seems to be only 24 projects listed there for a total of ~$204k, which is less than 10% of the money said to be granted in 2023.

Including the 2022 Q4-2 tag, there are now 54 projects with grants totalling $1,170,000 (although this does include some of the examples above). I don't know how many of these grants are included with the total sum given in the original post.


The ten largest grants were:-

  • $126k - 12-month part-time salary for 2 organisers, equipment and other expenses, to expand EA community building in Hong Kong
  • $114k - 8-month programme helping ambitious graduates to launch EU policy careers focused on emerging tech
  • $86k - Further develop the fast growing Dutch platform for effective giving until April 2023
  • $63k - Grant renewal of “A Happier World”: Salary and funding to continue producing video content
  • $62k - 12 months month salary for EA for Jews’ Managing Director
  • $57k - Yearly salary for weekly written summaries of the top EA and LW forum posts, and a human-narrated podcast for the former
  • $50k - 6 month salary and minor project expenses for career exploration, focused on biosecurity projects
  • $50k - 6 months of funding to scale our robo-advisor app for charitable giving
  • $50k - To grow the readership of a Substack on forecasting enough to fund it with reader donations while keeping content free
  • $45k - 1 year of 2.5 FTE salary split across 5 people to do community building work for EA Philippines + student chapters

I think this has been thought about a few times since EA started.

In 2015 Max Dalton wrote about medical research and said the below. 

"GiveWell note that most funders of medical research more generally have large budgets, and claim that ‘It’s reasonable to ask how much value a new funder – even a relatively large one – can add in this context’. Whilst the field of tropical disease research is, as I argued above, more neglected, there are still a number of large foundations, and funding for several diseases is on the scale of hundreds of millions of dollars. Additionally, funding the development of a new drug may cost close to a billion dollars .

For these reasons, it is difficult to imagine a marginal dollar having any impact. However, as Macaskill argues at several points in Doing Good Better, this appears to only increase the riskiness of the donation, rather than reducing its expected impact.

In 2018  Peter Wildeford and Marcus A. Davis wrote about the cost effectiveness of vaccines and suggested that a malaria vaccine is competitive with other global health opportunities.

Also the $70 billion on development assistance for health doesn't include other funding that contributes to development.

  • $100b+ on non health development
  • $500b+ remittances
  • Harder to estimate but over a trillion spent by LMICs on their own development and welfare

The Panorama episode briefly mentioned EA. Peter Singer spoke for a couple of minutes and EA was mainly viewed as charity that would be missing out on money. There seemed to be a lot more interest on the internal discussions within FTX, crypto drama, the politicians, celebrities etc. 

Maybe Panorama is an outlier but potentially EA is not that interesting to most people or seemingly too complicated to explain if you only have an hour.

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