Hi Sarah, thanks for writing this great article.
As someone else mentioned in the comments most EAs work in non-EA orgs looking at the EA surveys. According to the last EA Survey I checked only ~10% of respondents worked in EA orgs and this is probably an overestimation (people in EA orgs are more likely to complete the survey I assume)
So I think the problem is not that EAs are not considering these jobs, I would say the bottleneck for impact is something else:
1) Picking the right non-EA orgs, as mentioned in the comments the differences are massive here
2) Noticing and creating impact opportunities in those jobs
80k is able to give generic career advice, e.g. on joining the civil service but they often lack the capacity to give very specific advice to individuals on where to start, let alone on how to have impact in that job once you landed it.
One solution could be to start a new career org for this, but I think it is very hard to be an expert in everything and I often think that specific personal fit considerations are important. Therefore I think we are better off through training people in picking the right orgs, through teaching them impact-driven career decision models and training and sharing impact opportunities in certain non-EA org career paths.
Summarized: I don't think people lack the willingness to join non EA-orgs but they lack the tools and skills for maximising their impact in those careers
Interesting thougts Sanjay and I agree that we neglect the 60% for profit sector
My biggest concern with your solution in one sentence: as long as people mostly care about money they want to act on advice that maximises their financial return. Of course we could " subsidise" a service like that for social profit, but as long as it is not in the systems interest to act on our advice it's useless.
So changing the incentives of the system (through policy advocacy) or movement building (expanding the moral circle) seem more promosing from this viewpoint. On the other hand: once enough people are really interested in social profits we need to have the insights which companies do good and which do not. Maybe it's more a question of the right timing...
Thanks for your response Benjamin (and Ben West asking a question)
Sorry for not being completely clear about this, but I pointed towards the profile of a (EA-style) charity entrepreneur which is indeed different from the regular SV co founder (although there are similarities, but let’s not go into the details). I think the mini profile you wrote about a non profit entrepreneur is great and I am happy to see that 80k pushes this. Hopefully the Community Building Program will follow since national and local chapters are for many people the first point of entrance into EA. It would be good if this program also encouraged local and national chapters to make valuable cheap tests in non profit entrepreneurship viable.
I am also very happy that you acknowledge that reaching out to get 2x as many people in is probably desirable. Also here I think that the “common EA opinion” shifted quite a lot over the ~two years I’ve been involved in EA, great to see!
Great idea! I have a few questions:
One comment regarding:
But the presence of the overhang makes them even more valuable. Finding an extra grantmaker or entrepreneur can easily unlock millions of dollars of grants that would otherwise be left invested.
If we really think that this is the case for EA / charity entrepreneurs I think we should consider the following:
We spend too little effort on recruiting entrepreneurial types in the movement. Being relatively new in the movement (coming in as an entrepreneur), I think we should foster a more entrepreneurial culture than we currently do. I know some fellow entrepreneurs that dropped out of / didn’t enter the movement because they felt EA is an intellectual endeavour with too little focus on actually doing something.
Adjacent to this argument I think that we should spend more resources on upskilling entrepreneurial EAs. Charity Entrepreneurship is doing a great job with their incubation program, but their current capacity is limited and there is definitely room for growth given the large interest in the program. In addition to this we should also encourage cheap tests of EA entrepreneurship within national / local chapters. Currently the focus is mainly on community building and running fellowships.
Entrepreneurial projects at local chapters are currently considered as nice-to-have and as a way to attract people to the community. But if Ben´s statement is true we should consider national groups as the breeding ground for entrepreneurs. They are the first part of the EA entrepreneur pipeline with a next possible step being CE´s incubation program or starting a charity right away. In this model local and national group leaders should support these aspiring entrepreneurs with advice and connections to other people in the movement.
Thanks for this great post, I think a must read for everyone working in the EA meta space.
Some thoughts on the following:
"I continue to think that jobs in government, academia, other philanthropic institutions and relevant for-profit companies (e.g. working on biotech) can be very high impact and great for career capital."
I think we sometimes forget that these jobs in developing countries usually pay quite well. I wouldn't see earning to give and working in these institutions as opposites. There are jobs that give career capital with earning to give potential ánd that have the ability to have impact (probably after some years). But we should do some more research into the most relevant roles and organisations outside of EA organisations. E.g., I would expect massive difference in expected impact potential between working for the US Ministry of Education and the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I know the Effective Institutions Project works on a framework to help us make thoughtful judgments about which institutions’ decisions we should most prioritize improving as well as what strategies are most likely to succeed at improving them. But I think that is just the start: besides resources for (communication of) research on abovementioned topics, we also need to upskill EAs (and their colleagues) to make impact in these jobs and to accelerate their careers from a starter role to an impactful position. This would also enable growth of the EA movement as a whole, since there are plenty of positions giving career capital, E2G- and impact potential.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In the Netherlands we have DonerEffectief, launched last year around May.
Happy to share some of our experiences and very interested in your story as well Pablo. We registered many effective charities to make them tax-deductible over the last year. According to https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/165846/donations-sci-deductible-across-european-union/ this this status applies to residents of other EU-countries as well?
Wondering if there are any other EU parties who want to capitalise on this?
We (EAN) run a large project around improving decision making at our MFA. We try to incorporate the newest insights from research, happy to talk. @Laura: I've reached out to you
I think this should be an important part of a potential EA training institute, see https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/L9dzan7QBQMJj3P27/training-bottlenecks-in-ea
To have impact you need to have personal impact skills as well, besides object-level knowledge.