Dušan D. Nešić (Dushan)
COOatPulse Branding
Working (6-15 years of experience)
Seeking work

Professor of Finance and Economics, trainer of Confidence and Public Speech, corporate coach for Team Skills and Leadership. Consultant and Entrepreneur, with experience in Asia and Europe, especially China. I have a long history of working in charity but was always bothered by the ineffectiveness, and EA is exactly what I was looking for all this time. I developed charities in China where this was extremely difficult, growing clubs from 0 to 100 and helping clubs open in new cities and universities, doing community building with 0 funds.

My current goal is to find a way to best utilize my skills for EA purposes most likely in community building, and my current meme to spread is that EA needs more outreach to existing Charity organizations.

How others can help me

I am interested in ways in which I can combine as much of my past knowledge into a useful bundle for an EA-aligned organization. My personal interests also lie in EA Infrastructure growth, helping scale EA through partnerships with existing organizations and collecting recruits from them.

How I can help others

If any of my previous experiences sound useful to you, reach out - whether you want to develop them or utilize them. My LinkedIn profile might give a bit more of a glimpse into the more formal experiences I had, but the main skills are presented in the bio here already.

Sequences

Learning what we can from Non-EA Altruist Organizations

Topic Contributions

Comments

Introduction to Non-EA International Charity Orgs.

For the age, it depends - Lions Cubs are younger than EAs, and some of these clubs take great care to attract young talent, although I'd agree that the most powerful and influential parts of these orgs are older. Perhaps that is to some extent true in EA too?

 

As for the prongs, I agree. I am hoping soon to finish the next article, but alas private life does not allow it, but eventually there will be more investigations into this, furthering 1. For 2., I agree, for some organizations such as Happier Lives Institute for example, it's a spot-on match in fact.

Introduction to Non-EA International Charity Orgs.

Thanks for another well thought out response!

perhaps in the cases where you would be 'selling' your solutions to 'suspecting' orgs, but here you would be just entertaining their thinking and the solutions would be actually theirs (EA does not already have solutions, it would have advanced them)

I am actually not sure about this. In my experience, coming and saying "here, have some money, media exposure, and more attendees to your event in exchange for just putting a logo on the banner with no mandate on mentioning anything or changing anything, just keep doing what you're doing" has been met with militant resistance. People (sometimes justly) believe that there's always an end goal, and if we approach and say we wanna help, a reasonable answer is a raised eyebrow. Trust thus needs to be built even when we are merely trying to advance their ideas.

hm, this does seem to require some significant trust development effort because organizations may be hesitant to include external comers in their budgeting. Maybe, we are here to get them more funds by pro bono increasing their efficiency, highlighting their programs among donors if they meet evaluation transparency and effectiveness targets, and encouraging applying for grant opportunities they may not be aware of and helping them come up with effective evidence-based solutions by consultancy of experts in the field and its context.

As above, yeah

wait would you just like copy some parts of newsletters? I think for coordination/copiable material at CEA that is Jessica McCurdy. EA London has also great newsletter and could allow you to copy it. Presentations, I think Naomi Nederlof has some templates/reusable ones. The GWWC Giving Game could be a good intro (although the charities may still not be the best ones absolutely) - there should be GWWC representatives with it.

I agree, but there'd need to be someone possibly smarter than me selecting best articles, myself to advise on which ones would fly well with these audiences, perhaps even editing them. Even better is if we would give interviews for their internal magazines - so we need to pick speakers and such. Thanks for the resources, I've marked them all down, but once the effort starts, it'll be quite a workload ahead!

 

makes sense. Maybe the CE-incubated orgs will have more time to share ideas and it will sound more sincerely sharing ideas not e. g. AMF trying to get them donate for nets?

Perhaps!

to prevent a negative perception, such as of large funders (who may be thinking - 'almost at the end of the galaxy') being overwhelmed or 'slowed down' by additional issues, I would present more opportunities (with possibly greater cost-effectiveness...) in the one or few existing fields (global health and development, global mental health and wellbeing, ...). This seems like 'getting' better bargains that boost one's progress (e. g. so that intergalactic expansion happens with an optimal system already in place).

Agreed!

yes, if this is the case then either the solutions did not work (the less cost-effective were selected) or market-based and institutionalized solutions are interpreted as 'places to fund.' It should really be possible to upskill people in emerging (and industrialized) economies to take good care for themselves (preventive healthcare, good relationships, skill building norms, animal welfare) for the cost of a radio campaign plus some community members' word and get some profit-seeking investors build capital needed for some aspects (healthcare, relationships education, employment training and business recommendations, plant-based products processing). This should be all what people need to live good lives (do not need cars etc).

There is also the issue of "there are more problems than money/power/people to solve them". Adding more money and helping existing money be better spent itself are all viable options, but even doubling current charity spending would hardly run out of things to fund.

"lost ownership" you mean when a funder starts funding a program (e. g. builds a school) but then does not fund continued expenses (e. g. teachers' pay)? It should always be the target that the maintenance ownership is ideally with the community/government/other responsible party since the beginning - or as soon as it is possible.

When I say "Lost ownership" I mean the fear that a project gets overtaken by another organization and then mismanaged. If we approach a local Bosnian start-up charity and say "we have billions in our fund and want to fund you" they might fear losing autonomy. If we approach Rotary and say "the project you are doing, we could do more efficient" they also fear we will take the project and "run with it". While rationally I can say "hey, as long as it gets done, it's all good" but I understand people wanting to see something through. So we can say "hey, there's so much to do, you do you, we'll fund you a bit, help you be more efficient, and still have plenty of problems to assist outside of this area". 

yeah, that makes sense. You think the orgs would be interested in what their colleagues/'competitors' are saying? I suggest centering the dialogue around EA more explicitly.

I found that to be at least somewhat the case. They all keep their eyes on others to see what's happening.

yes, there should be some resource.

I am going in this direction too with another EA, let's see if we make something useful, we'll share here!

There should be plenty of people in EA with these skills. For past experience, maybe people who worked for EA orgs or ones in similar areas which are also quite effectiveness-focused? Maybe check out the Who wants to be hired? post (could apply for EAIF or some groups have project incubation funding ...)

That's the idea!

Introduction to Non-EA International Charity Orgs.

Hello Bara, thank you for your comprehensive thoughts. Let me try to answer them piece by piece.

- I agree that EA should have something appealing for some of these established organizations with extensive networks. What is already available is funding/grants (e. g. for low marginal cost high impact additions, such as these ones). What is quite available is statistical evaluation expertise and tech help (people who study or work in these fields looking for opportunities). What is less available is cost-effective solutions brainstorming skills (some EAs can be aware of the specific applications of the basic principles but be less able to develop solutions themselves). Fortunately, general brainstorming skills are abundant and Metis is available with the EA-unlabeled organizations, so solutions can be developed over a few calls. -

 

Over a few calls is perhaps optimistic, I would assume that trust needs to be painstakingly built and then maintained, but in theory, absolutely.

 

  • Offering assistance framing can be also well received by the non-EA orgs. For example, coming to 'leverage their funds' could be perceived with reputational loss risk. The emphasis should be on offering funds and expertise, while possibly impactful funding adjustments (e. g. fund 3% less meals but fortify all of them in bulk to 10x your impact) can be found alongside. -

I could not agree more. We are not here to seize their funds, merely to help them spend them more effectively.

  • The EA Consulting Network could definitely assist with the brainstorming part of marginal solutions development. Or, if the consultants are quite busy, then there could be some contractors specializing in brainstorming and BOTEC cost-effectiveness calculations. Do you know of anyone who could be interested in this?

Not as of yet, but that's the priority idea for me in the medium run. I would assume someone like Happier Lives Institute for example would have ready-made solutions that would already be an improvement.

  • Metis/local knowledge should be approached in conjunction with international knoledge. This is because the people may be unaware of the solutions that would truly benefit them, especially if they are unfamiliar with alternative situations or the global context. An example is a poor person who wants to be rich but does not come up with a productivity increase and training scheme or investment environment improvements.

These orgs actually have both, and thank you for this distinction.

  • In addition to branding, which may be valuable for getting EA-related concepts to decisionmakers in a legitimate way, the organizations that you specify (and others, much smaller ones) have relationships with the intended beneficiaries and their communities. This can be valuable for many programs that target the objectives of some of these decisionmakers (such as SDGs of the UN). For example, it can be difficult for a newcomer to convince farmers to plant only 1 seed 75cm apart from another one when before generations scattered the seeds freely. However, if someone who has before helped eradicate polio there suggests it, then the intended beneficiaries can try it much more readily.

I am hoping to develop this precise point in more detail in one of the next posts.

  • What do you think would be a great way of engaging some Rotary members in EA? For example, would they be interested in discussing these EA-related books (which can be especially enjoyed by experienced professionals)? Or, would this be nice but distracting and something like skimming the first few chapters of Doing Good Better and then relating it to EA-related global poverty interventions (Weeks 1 and 2) would make people think more? Or, forgetting perhaps EA-traditional reading programs and just entertaining people on what programs they are running and what the cost-effective additionalities or decisionmaking adjustments could be, how they go about knowing what the intended beneficiaries actually need and how this could be provided at low (or negative, maybe by the market) cost? 

I think we need to start meeting them where they are. I have recommended making interesting topic presentations and going to present them, or writing them newsletters as that is how they currently function and what would likely encounter the least amount of friction. I think all EA courses are geared to too much of a different audience, whereas approach to a local club with local ideas by a local EA will be much more successful in getting a foot in the door before expanding on the other EA ideas and helping them make their existing projects more effective. After that, we can see which clubs are looking for new projects to fund, and suggest them EA related ideas.

  • For the organizations that incubate investment projects, would some EA community members be able to estimate which ones can have high impact (e. g. cost per progress toward WALY ensuring system) and recommend investments?

I would assume so, but I'll cross that bridge when we get there, for now as I said above, we first use the existing materials made by different EA orgs to spread good ideas.

  • Scaling up GiveWell-recommended orgs through existing EA-unlabeled orgs can have little or even negative impact. This is because the EA orgs are those which can absorb large amounts of funding and already minimize the costs that an established network could provide/probably work with networks. For example, nets could be distributed efficiently, vitamins also, deworming pills provided at schools, etc. If you would introduce this opportunity to another network (which could, however, fund these programs to a lesser extent), maybe EA-related donors would lose a sense of ownership and less impact would take place.

I believe that opportunities to help are so many and so underfunded, that networking with these organizations will just show us that we have more fields to work in. Competition goes out the window, the market is too large to saturate. EA can fund what it is funding, we can help others fund other things, and still not run out of places to fund, not reaching the point of lost ownership.

  • Scaling up global health and development orgs that are not recommended by GiveWell can be also a challenge, because they operate on the same principle of distributing outputs at the lowest possible cost (e. g. SMS reminders after having negotiated great rates, vaccines, ...).

They are more than half-way there, I agree. Perhaps identifying them and supporting them is an opportunity?

  • Animal welfare orgs could benefit from cooperation with EA-unlabeled orgs, for example advising that rather than transferring animals as income generating assets, tools are provided. This would be a kindness of the EA-unlabeled orgs because they would get nothing but additional considerations to take into account (but at the end, better solutions could be developed, e. g. if people specialize in value addition and technological development rather than rearing more animals).

More information is better, so long as inputs are good, I agree!

  • AI safety organizations could benefit charities similar to those which you list by advising on how to make their systems safe since the beginning, e. g. if there is a digital governance initiative, digitization of an animal farm processes, or export processing zone operations digitization. Also, general tech skills could be applied in increasing the efficiencies of the orgs, (with priority) their especially impactful programs, or cases where tech solutions are those which are needed (e. g. digital IDs for refugees to prevent 'recycling' and expedite integration). The AI orgs would get training data from less represented context, so this could be a win-win.

Sure! Also, these organizations collect movers and shakers, some of which aren't AI researchers, but might be investors into AI firms, or managers in those orgs. We could be looking at alternative lateral ways to influence the field and make it more aware of the issues that exist. All of these combined, make this more than worthwhile I'd wager.

  • Other orgs could have a similarly symbiotic relationship. For example, Momentum could benefit from additional downloads as well as having niche projects to advertise upon a wider variety of current events/news. The org would benefit from having a fun app to use to entertain their donors and their programs advertised among additional users interested in impactful spending.

Cool idea, I have not considered that!

  • What do you think should be prioritized to increase the chances that this goes well, limit risks, and maximize the effectiveness of any effort? Also, who else could be interested in this and what skills would you be seeking?

I am thinking that these are the core questions to answer now at the first steps. I will keep writing these posts and looking more into this. I would assume that best way to approach would be through learning by doing - reaching out, talking, finding common points, and then reporting back to others. A cooperation between an org in Canada and a Rotary club there can open doors to ten other clubs around the world for similar ideas. As for limiting risks, the ideas need to be well presented, something that depends on many variables. I am uncertain what procedures exist currently in how presentations are done of EA ideas outside of EA, I doubt any central idea-place exists except this forum. Perhaps I'll write a guide on that as well - best as I can.

For the skills, I think past experience here is golden - looking for that metis that I claim we need. Beyond that, people and presentation skills, as the first phase is memetic, and at a later stage analytical to help analyze the incoming data and turn it into useful insights.

EAecon Retreat 2022: Apply Now!

I am extremely keen to go, but due to my passport it takes over a month to acquire a visa. I would have definitely applied if there were two weeks more of a heads-up, especially as I have some musings that I am interested to mull over with peer professors. Please when organizing the next one, do give a bit more of an advanced notice, for those of us with weaker passports.

Who wants to be hired? (May-September 2022)
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Remote: Yes
Willing to relocate: To some countries in EU in the mid-term
Skills: Community Building, Operations, Consulting, Education, Leadership - all of these in cross-cultural contexts
Résumé/CV/LinkedIn: nesicdusan.com is my LinkedIn, but also see my profile here
Email: work (-at-) dnesic.com
Notes: Part-time or full-time work is interesting to me, especially within cause areas concerning AI, Global Poverty and Inequality, and Education reform or Policy. I offer one free consulting session to EA firms that can benefit from my skillset.
You Should Write a Forum Bio

Well, here I am after this post, having written a bio - thanks for the prompt and the example, it is much easier to do with these guidelines than just staring at a blank page!

COOatPulse Branding
Working (6-15 years of experience)
Seeking work