11 karmaJoined Sep 2014


Thanks. I had no reason for picking three charities other than that it just seemed natural to me (I made the PDF quickly without much thought).

I don't know if just one charity would be more successful. The three people who donated in this case didn't seem particular about the causes.

I'd be willing to do it again as part of a test.

An idea if your personal network isn't extensive or if you want to do more fundraising:

I went door-to-door today in my neighborhood for four hours fundraising. I drafted the following pdf and put it in a laminated paper sleeve: http://www.evenkind.org/door2door.pdf (I didn't include GiveDirectly since I thought cash transfers would be a harder sell). I also printed out a bunch of strips of paper (sort of like the tabs you would pull off an advertisement, e.g. a tutoring sign) with my Charity Science URL and a "thank you" message in case anyone wanted to pay via credit card.

The result was $70 ($17.50/hour), which was matched to $140. It seems possible that doing this earlier in the giving season would have been more fruitful (people often cited having made charitable contributions already).

If anyone is interested in doing this, my opener was: "Hi <Sir/Ma'am>, how are you? [...] I'm talking with people about three effective health charities."

While I don't have a lot of experience doing this, feel free to ask me any questions about my experience.

I have about three months before I hopefully start studies for a new degree -- when I'm hoping to also start an EA group -- and I've been thinking about how to use my time effectively, either by earning some money, volunteering, studying, or a combination of the former.

One thing that I did today was post flyers on a campus close to where I live to offer tutoring. On the flyer, I wrote that my rate would be $20/hour if anyone interested wanted to pay me personally, or $19/hour if they donated the money to the Deworm the World Initiative instead.

I realize that these rates are comparable, and that giving less to charity might sound strange, but including a contrasting rate seemed like a decent way to garner interest in this particular charity and GiveWell without the overall offer coming across strangely by only having the donate-to-charity rate.

The "Until I die" option strikes me as fanatical. Does anyone else think that it would be a good idea to rephrase this option differently, e.g. "As long as I can"?

Thanks a bunch for this article. It has inspired some useful thoughts for me. I relate to some of your considerations regarding philosophy (although I personally don't consider my philosophical education to be a mistake), programming, medical school, and law.

You wrote about doctors being "to a large extent replaceable," and taking this consideration at face-value in the past has made me give less consideration to the possibility of becoming a doctor. However, if you were a doctor, presumably you could be an earning-to-give doctor?

Also, just focus on what you're good at. Don't think so much in terms of what you want to do.

I like this suggestion if it's construed abstractly (e.g., I've come to a point where I see thoughts of the form "I am good at , so I could do " as potentially better than "I happen to be good at , so I should try to do "). I think reading about effective altruism might also sometimes lend a sense of urgency to EAs that may hamper their long-term development. An example of this sense: "So, a lot of bad things seem to be happening, and I need to employ my current skillset ASAP to help ameliorate them." This sort of thinking might constrain the possibilities that someone might think of.

You also can't get too hung up on comparing yourselves to other people. When I was in high school, I was super good at math. I went to national-level math meets. But then I got to these meets and saw people who were even better than I was. Then I'm like, "Oh, man!" It's really discouraging.

I have been discouraged at times as well and probably underestimated my abilities because I was often reading things from high-ability types. So, regarding writings, there was sort of a selection effect in that I was comparing myself to people who, by virtue of the process of seeking out their thoughts, were more developed than me in various ways. I raise this consideration so that others might recognize this component in their own self-assessments and persist in their development.