lukefreeman

Executive Director at Giving What We Can and Board Chairperson Effective Altruism Australia

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Which EA orgs, programs, companies, etc. started as side projects?

Many of the regranting organisations were/are largely volunteer run. EAA only hired a part time staff member to do accounting after ~4 years running and moving $1m+ per year (now at ~$4 million p/a with still <1 FTE).

Pretty much every major EA org I can think of started volunteer run while people were working/studying. CEA started on the back of Giving What We Can & 80,000 Hours which had been mostly volunteer run by students/academics.

Celebrating 2021: What are your favourite wins & good news for EA, the world and yourself?

GWWC saw our biggest growth year on record, with already ~2,000 new pledges (including trial pledges) and a significant increase in our reach of audiences that are entirely new to EA.

Celebrating 2021: What are your favourite wins & good news for EA, the world and yourself?

During 2021 we grew the GWWC team from 1 staff member to five regular staff. I'm now pretty honoured to be working with outstanding colleagues who are working hard to grow the community of effective givers.

Aiming for the minimum of self-care is dangerous

Broadly agree, just making the distinction between individuals optimising for personal impact across the different parts of their lives is different to organisations optimising for impact specifically by evaluating philanthropic opportunities.

That being said, they both benefit from thinking about sustainability (don't pull funding instantly when an exit grant would be more impactful; don't spend all your philanthropic capital on the first best option; don't run your employees into the ground to get more hours of evaluation out of them until they quit from burnout).

Aiming for the minimum of self-care is dangerous

Thanks for sharing. I'm sorry to hear about the difficult times too. I had some serious burnout a couple of years ago too. Like Peter said, I think that certain personalities are likely to be more attracted to EA ideas and it helps when we share these experiences with each other and be mindful about this.

My preferred framing of EA is 'doing good better' for this reason. I also really like how Charlie Bresler frames it as doing your personal best and how Hayden Wilkinson's talk about doing less good for good reason shows this mathematically.

Sustainability is super important if you're going to have an impact over the longterm. 

Often the best way to maximise is to satisfice most decisions and focus on leverage (e.g. 80:20 rule).

When people speak with me about ambitious donation targets I applaud their commitment, ambition and desire to help others and then have a chat about sustainability and thinking about what they can imagine still doing in 20 years time (and feeling great about it). Many GWWC members have told me that they like the 10% pledge for the reason that they can just satisfice and pick a number that's meaningful/significant but sustainable (and then many give more later in life once it's clearer what they need etc). It's often much better than being stuck in indecision and giving nothing or feeling compelled to give too much too soon.

Being healthy and happy gives you a nice strong foundation to go out and make the world better.

Personally, I've found practices like mindfulness, journaling, and scheduling in leisure time helpful. Also, I've just softened a bit with age and realised that I'm not invincible, that I'm a human who has limits and needs to take care of the basics and build from there.

Introducing High-Impact Medicine (Hi-Med)

What a great initiative 😀. Out of interest, what's the main differentiators between this and EA Medicine and are there plans to collaborate/cross promote?

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