Co-founder @ Charity Entrepreneurship
5953 karmaJoined Sep 2014Working (6-15 years)Queen's Park, London, UK



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.



I echo this view and think it's really exciting. I expect many people in the meta-funding space will be positive about this idea. However, I also anticipate that many of the donors will need to see a round or two of this idea executed and observe the resulting grants before donating to the fund.

As shown in this table 0% of CE staff (including me) identify AI as their top cause area. I think across the team people's reasons are varied but cluster around something close to epistemic scepticism. My personal perspective is also in line with that.

Answer by JoeyOct 04, 202349

Hey Yanni!

Quick response from CE here as we have some insight on this: 

a) CE is not funding-limited and does not think AI is an area we will work on in the future, regardless of available funding in the space (we have been offered funding for this many times in the past). You can see a little bit about our cause prioritization here and here

b) There are tons of organizations that aim or have aimed to do this, including Rethink PrioritiesImpact AcademyCenter for Effective Altruism and the Longtermist Entrepreneurship Project

c) An interesting question might be why there has not yet been huge output from other incubators, given the substantial funding and unused talent in the space. I think the best two responses on this are the post-mortem from the Longtermist Entrepreneurship Project and a post we wrote about tips and challenges of starting incubators.

About 75% of seed project proposals get funded at the amount they ask for. That part is not known until after the incubation process. The typical seed grants are between $100k-$200k. I do not expect a great proposal to be stopped by a $25k higher budget. I think entrepreneurship is a higher-risk career path, one that is probably not suited for the majority of people. CE is already extremely de-risked relative to equivalents in the for-profit and incubated nonprofit space, to the point where I think the founding step is not the highest-risk part of founding a charity (having an impact 3 years down the line is).

It might be helpful to add some useful reference classes here as I think it's often forgotten how unusual EA salaries are relative to other fields. 

Average GDP of the world: £11,000 
London's living wage: £21,800
Median full-time UK employees: £26,800
Average salary nonprofit jobs: £31,700
The average annual salary in London: £39,000
Average salary nonprofit London: £39,600
Average CE employee salary: £39,300
Entry-level EA job: £48,000
Average EA job: £80,000

"My default interpretation is that someone doesn't value the role or my work very much." 

I think this is a pretty unfortunate norm that some EAs have. In practice, it results in EAs by far prioritizing the best-funded areas instead of the most impactful ones. I think the reality is that offered salaries have far more to do with funding availability and perceived counterfactuals of funding. At the end of the day, AMF can absorb more money, and thus there is a higher bar for spending in global health than there is in areas without clear benchmarks.

Salary questions and discussions always happen well before someone goes through the program (typically during the interviews or soon after an invitation is offered). Ultimately, the co-founders select how much they ask for, and many have asked for considerably higher amounts.

I think this is a pretty simple and incorrect model. Job desirability is considered based on many traits (salary being one, but far from the only one), with different individuals weighing those traits at different levels of importance. If salary is the most important factor for a job, CE will basically never compete given the talent requirements; if autonomy or impact is the most important trait, it will compete even at very low levels of salary.

I am pretty skeptical that this would be the best way to increase diversity in EA per dollar. I talk to quite a number of incubation programs, both inside and outside of EA, and for most forms of diversity, I do not think that a low salary is the top barrier. I think that for age diversity, there is a case for this, but for country-level diversity, it might pull in the opposite direction. My soft sense is that both CE staff and the CE cohort are unusually diverse relative to the EA movement as a whole and similar EA incubation programs, despite having low salaries.

Also, a factual update: I think most numbers right now for founders are more in the 40-60k range.

I think it holds up. I wrote a highly upvoted post on organisations being transparent about their scope one month ago due to similar concerns.

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