Co-founder @ Charity Entrepreneurship
Working (6-15 years of experience)
4633Queen's Park, London, UKJoined Sep 2014


I want to make the biggest positive difference in the world that I can. My mission is to cause more effective charities to exist in the world by connecting talented individuals with high-impact intervention opportunities. This is why I co-founded the organisation Charity Entrepreneurship to achieve this through an extensive research process and incubation program.



We have thought about this but we are not confident weaker charities would not crowd out stronger ones with funders and thus lead to less overall impact. 


I think tautological measurement is a real concern for basically every meta charity, although I'm not sure I agree with your solution. I think the better solution is external evaluation, someone like GiveWell or Founders Pledge who does not have any reason to value CE charities. Typically, these organizations do their own independent research and compare it across their current portfolio of projects. If CE can, for example, fairly consistently incubate charities that GW/FP/etc. rank as best in the world, I think that is at least not organizationally tautological (it is assuming that these charity evaluators are in fact identifying the best areas/charities, and replicating any flaws they have though).

In terms of success rate, I agree 40% is high but I would expect many NGO incubators to be considerably higher than in the for-profit space, for a few reasons (a couple listed below):

General competition: There are just not that many charities aiming for pure impact (in an EA way), unlike the for-profit market. The general efficiency of the charity market is pretty low, and thus there are lots of fairly easy wins.

Scale sensitivity: Generally, successful for-profits are seen as really large-scale ventures (e.g., unicorns) and the market is consistently hunting for that. Debatably, the only charity currently seen as highly impactful that can get to that sort of scale is GiveDirectly. Thus the bar for success in the charity sector is significantly lower in terms of a money spent scale. For example, if we founded a charity running with a 1m a year budget, that was x2 as effective as top GW ones, we could count that as a success. But an organization of the same size would be considered a rounding error by YC. If we take size expectations into account, it might be like 1/25 charities that we incubated that have any significant chance of getting to unicorn-level size.


Hey Nescio,

Sadly, my circumstances have changed such that this was no longer possible without significant work-productivity trade-offs. Specifically, I moved to London, UK (due to work) and have only intermittently been living with a partner. I now am living off a range between £20k-£30k depending on year. I still have the view that a higher salary would not significantly increase my productivity beyond that and have, if anything, more concerns about the current spending habits of EA for reasons described pretty well here.


Hey Vlad,

I would definitely expect some of those 1000 ideas to have been researched by Open Philanthropy or Rethink; a long list like that would include both researched and un-researched areas. I think new nonprofits often come at things with a different angle, e.g., ways of weighting evidence, or tweaks in ethical views or baseline assumptions. For example, GiveWell is both highly well-run and huge, but they would not come to the same considerations that HLI has come to by looking at subjective well-being. I think the same thing will happen with CEARCH; there are lots of areas that might be missed by other actors but that would be picked up by a more systematic search done at a lower level of depth per area.


Currently: Currently we have a backend CEA that evaluates the possible scenarios and impact outcomes for each of the charities. It starts out with pretty wide confidence intervals but tends to narrow as the charities get older (e.g., 2nd or 3rd year). We also write up more narrative reviews that go to a set of external advisors. 

Long term plan: Longer term we want to hire an external evaluation organization to evaluate every charity we found two years after founding, and use those numbers instead of internal ones. 


Compared to other movements it seems pretty good; relative to the ideal, we of course could do better. In general, I think encouraging more critical thinking and debate is likely a step in the right direction.  Right now I think disagreements can be handled a bit indirectly (e.g., I would love to see even more open cause area debates instead of just funding of outreach in one area and not another).


Our policy regarding salaries has not changed as much as other meta charities; leanness tends to attract a different sort of applicant. We have a range ($40-$60k) but would consider applications from candidates who need higher than that range. In practice, we have often found the most talented candidates are less concerned with salary and more concerned about other factors (impact of the role, culture, flexibility, etc.). We are a bit skeptical about the perception that talent increases from offering higher salaries (instead of attracting new talent, we typically see the same EA people getting job roles but just for a higher cost). 


This in many ways is the default path for how many NGOs grow. I think there are quite a few reasons why CE overperforms relative to this. Decentralization broadens the risk profile that each charity is able to take, and smaller organizations move far, far quicker. I suspect the biggest factor though, is not structural but social. The level of founders we get applying are really strong relative to an organization like CE hiring program directors. Due to the psychology of ownership they work far more effectively for their project than they would as an employee of a larger organization. 


I think something talking about the concept of cause X , or an area we think is a top contender that many EAs have not yet considered deeply (e.g., family planning). Even with the recent challenge prize on this, I think EA is way over-indexed on exploit vs. explore when it comes to cause areas.  


I think there are a few things that fit into this category, how much deference is in the EA space would be one.  Another would be the relative importance of high-absorbency career paths. Some things we have not written about but also fit would be how EA deals with low evidence base/feedback loop spaces. Or how little skepticism is applied to EA meta charities.

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