I'm in a similar position (donate to global poverty but care enough about x-risk to plan my career around it). I think the signalling value of donating to easy-to-pitch causes is pretty significant (probably some people find x-risk easier/more effective to pitch but I don't personally). aogara's first point also resonates with me. Donating to obviously good causes also seems like it would be psychologically valuable if I end up changing my mind about the importance of x-risk in the future.
I think most people should be thinking about the optics of their donations in terms of how it affects them personally pitching EA, not in terms of how community-wide approaches to donation would affect optics of the community. It seems plausible that the optics of your donations could be anywhere from basically irrelevant to much more important than the direct good they do, depending on the nature/number of conversations about EA you have with non-EA people.
Thanks! For anyone else reading this, this guidance seems relevant.
Note that using a trust has downsides. With a trust, I would recommend only funding individuals and non-charities with extreme caution.
Could you elaborate on this? I'm interested in setting up a trust to do microgrants, taking advantage of the fact that I can tolerate greater risks with my own money than an EA org (I'd also be happy to let other people use the trust as a vehicle for that). The main disadvantage of trusts I'm aware of is that trustees are personally liable, but that doesn't seem like a big risk if it's just making grants.