Sanjay's Comments

What's the best platform/app/approach for fundraising for things that aren't registered nonprofits?

alexrjl is correct, SoGive can do this.

SoGive includes:

  • a "progress bar" of how much has been raised and what the target is
  • a section showing other people who have donated (and options to anonymise name or amount or both)
  • customisable sections for the person running the fundraiser, including ability to customise images and text

Here's an example:

If you want minimal clicks from seeing the fundraiser to having donated, you could simply include one of these links and once you're on that page you have a donate button right there.

If this is of interest to you let me know on Also, might be worth checking where you are based. This was originally designed for the UK, and then adapted for overseas (e.g. USA)

What posts do you want someone to write?

This commented was pointed out to me by someone who thought I may be extremely well qualified to answer this.

I have been on the trustee boards of about half a dozen charities and performed short term consulting stints (about a month at a time) for another 10(ish) charities globally, and have seen how each of those engages with its donors.

I'm also know people people/organisations surveying charities about questions like how much more valuable is unrestricted than restricted funding.

I would be happy to put something together on this topic, however I'm snowed under with other things for the time being, but could add it to the list and tackle it later?

synthetic indices used to rate all charities: What kind of star ratings exist?
Answer by SanjayMar 21, 202013

Roughly speaking, organisations that rate/assess charities fall into two categories:

Those that include thoughtful, impact-oriented, cost-effectiveness-aware analysis tend not to use a formulaic or index-based or scalable approach. Examples of this sort of organisation include GiveWell. I created this chart some time back, since then Founders Pledge could probably added to this category.

In the opposite corner is those organisations whose methodology is more formulaic/scalable.

At the time I created this chart, there was a gap for analysis that was scalable, but also impact-oriented and cost-effectiveness-aware.


Since then I've set up SoGive to resolve this gap. You can have a look on and search for charities or cause areas there. Some charities are assessed as Gold, Silver, or Bronze. We are still working through the charities, so not all of them have a rating. If you click through to a charity's page, you'll see a tab called analysis. Lots (but not all) major UK charities are covered her. In the US the closest organisation to SoGive (in terms of approach) is Impact Matters.

The best places to donate for COVID-19

Thanks Sean_o_h. In case it's not coming across clearly in the write-up, some donation opportunities considered are directly relevant to COVID-19, and some are less directly relevant (e.g. they cover pandemics generally, which may be an appealing donation idea for those inspired to donate because of COVID-19).

An indication of whether the project is directly or indirectly relevant is given in the table in section '0. Exec Summary' (see the table with the purple header)

The best places to donate for COVID-19

"I must admit I am confused. I don't know why you are making recommendations for COVID-19 donations if you'd also prioritize the neglected needs of the developing world? "

This is to answer the question of where to donate if the donors *specifically* wants to donate to something COVID-19-relevant.

"I am skeptical that anything in Categories 1 and 2 are cost-competitive with existing EA work - and at the minimum this cost-effectiveness is still far from being established. "

Lots of the organisations in categories 1 and 2 would be considered to actually *be* existing EA work. The first-mentioned organisation (Johns Hopkins CHS) is recommended by Founders Pledge.

" What kind of criteria were you using to generate these recommendations? "

The criteria are: where the organisation falls into a category which is more positively viewed *and* which already has some analysis to support it.

"1.) If the response is likely not enough, wouldn't it be worthwhile to help? "

Yes, it would be worthwhile to help. The question isn't whether it would achieve something and not nothing. The contention is that the higher rated donation opportunities would outperform.

"2.) I also very much doubt there won't be an affect on Trump's re-election chances, but I don't think it is relevant. "

The reason why I consider it relevant is that it gives the Trump administration a stronger incentive to help those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This means that the cause of helping those in the US is unlikely to be neglected, and substantially less neglected than supporting those in sub-Saharan Africa

The best places to donate for COVID-19

This appears to belong to Category 4: crowding out the work of government.

GiveDirectly counters that the government response will likely not be enough. That may well be correct, but it will probably be enough to ensure that it doesn't damage Trump's re-election chances.

If ever there's a time when focusing on the neglected needs of the developing world applied, it's now. I don't know to what extent African governments will be advocating social distancing, but it will be very hard to implement for people who don't have savings, and the risk that the current instability could spark inter-state conflict is much higher in the developing world than in the US.

Giving cash to people in the US would not be recommended.

The best places to donate for COVID-19

I actually never looked at them until the COVID-19 situation, when I started to refer to them. So that does seem to support your suggestion

Is nanotechnology (such as APM) important for EAs' to work on?

I asked a related question on the EA facebook page a few months back. Here's the question I asked:

I copy below the question I asked, and the response which I thought was most useful. (I've tried to include the image, but if it didn't work, click through to the fb page)


The 80,000 hours article on extinction risk includes a table from an FHI survey in 2008 (scroll down for source) (edited to clarify not necessarily current views of 80k)
As molecular nanotech weapons top the list, this makes me wonder what is being done about this?
The only organisation that I'm aware of in this space is the Foresight Institute ( featuring Eric Drexler. I also found the Center for Responsible Nanotech, but I couldn't tell if the website was out of date.
I'm interested in discussion along the lines of:
![]( )

Notes:Here's the 80k article: ultimate source of the table is this survey: reading:


[Disclaimer: I was working on GCRs at Open Phil when the below page was written but I did not write it and don't have any interesting inside information on Open Phil's views on the topic. The views below are my own only.]

Open Phil put out a (very) shallow investigation of risks from atomically precise manufacturing (i.e. nanotech) back in 2015. One thing they found is:

"Unless APM is developed in a secret “Manhattan Project”—and there is disagreement about how plausible that is —the people we spoke with believe it would be extremely unlikely for an observer closely watching the field to be surprised by a sudden increase in potentially dangerous APM capabilities."

This suggests we might expect risk reduction work to naturally ramp up if/when the tech starts developing and that it may be more efficient for risk reduction work to be done once the field makes some progress.

More on this:
“People who are watching the field and know what to look for would be unlikely to be caught off guard even by rapid developments in atomically precise manufacturing. While development could be surprisingly fast, it would be possible to observe the substantial advances in various capabilities of nanosystems (e.g., mechanical stiffness of various types of nanostructures, number of moving parts of mechanical systems, and lattice sizes of materials used to build intricate systems) that would come before the technology reaches its mature form. Hypothetically, surprise could come if there were a secret project aimed at developing the technology, but that would be implausible in the present climate.”
GiveWell’s non-verbatim summary of a conversation with Eric Drexler, October 8, 2014.

See also:

[Note - I haven't thought about the issue recently enough or deeply enough to have my own view on how valuable work on APM risk might be today.]

Quantifying lives saved by individual actions against COVID-19

Presumably the benefit comes from flattening the curve. I.e. if we don't introduce control measures, the demands on the healthcare system will be unmanageable, whereas if we spread them out, then the healthcare system can cope with the demand.

I don't know how to add images in comments, so here's a link to a relevant image:

And this is the article the image came from:

Are there good EA projects for helping with COVID-19?

I have a maths background, qualified as an actuary in half the industry average time, and am comfortable with stochastic models, including markov chains and monte carlo methods. Are you able to provide more information? In case you don't want to do so in public, I have sent you a direct message via the forum.

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