Sebastian Schwiecker

CEO & Founder of effektiv-spenden.org

Topic Contributions

Comments

EA will likely get more attention soon

Definitely the case in Germany. Top 3 Google results for "longtermism" are all very negative posts. 2 of them by some of Germany biggest news magazines (ZEIT and Spiegel). As far as I know there is no positive content on Longtermism in German.

Awards for the Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

Having set up the TEAMWORK EA-Coworking-Space in Berlin I’m very sympathetic to the EA Coworking Spaces at Scale idea (almost applied with something similar).

A couple of question and thoughts on this topic though:

1. It says “The EA community has created several great coworking spaces”. Where are those other spaces?

2. It also says they were set up “in an ad hoc way, with large overheads”. In my case I agree with the “ad hoc” part (which I don’t consider particularly bad though) but am not sure with the “large overheads” part. What is this assessment based upon? Probably I spend too much of my own time on it (because of a lack of funding) but I don’t really see how a central international organization would have saved much time or money if the alternative would be to hire and pay someone locally.

3. I kind of doubt that there currently is the demand for up to 100 EA-Coworking-Spaces in the world, at least if you are thinking of them including event space, a library…. The space in Berlin is pretty small (200m2) and we haven’t reached capacity yet. Could be a lack of marketing (and obviously Covid) etc. but my best guess is that there are right now less than 10 cities worldwide where a bigger space would make sense. If the growth of EA accelerates and the BEAHR is unleashed that might change soon though and it could make sense to set up the necessary infrastructure already.

Anyway, if anyone wants to open up an EA-Coworking-Space I’m happy to talk (not sure if I can provide much insight besides adding phone booths from the start but I’ll try).

Introducing TEAMWORK - an EA Coworking Space in Berlin

Very rough monthly cost all in (rent, insurance, electricity, heating, cleaning, internet... ) is around 3.500€. In addition we had some upfront costs (mostly furniture) of around 11,000€. We currently also tend to buy a lot of new stuff which adds up to a couple of hundreds of Euros every month (e.g. we got a Microwave today, last week we bought an air purifier... ). Next week we will get some phone booths which will luckily be paid for through a grant from the EA Infrastructure Fund though (around 14,000€ for 4).

So currently we are still subsidizing the office through our main project (or we just pay a relatively high rent ourselves) but we are getting closer for it to be financial self sufficient (probably not if I would honestly calculate the staff time we invested though). Still feels like a really good investment, especially since we started hosting (small) events as well (e.g. EA Berlin Meetup, EA Consulting Network Meetup, AI Lecture... ).

Make sure to visit us if you are ever in Berlin.

What are the 'PlayPumps' of cause prioritisation?

Great project. Really looking forward to it.

One example that came to mind is this old blog post by GiveWell comparing "saving a child’s life in Africa to that of helping improve a child’s education in the New York City": https://blog.givewell.org/2007/12/19/all-causes-are-not-created-equal/

Effektiv Spenden - Fundraising and 2021 Plans

Our own fundraiser was quite successful so we should be covered to pursue our original plans without limitations till at least the beginning of 2021. But since the donation volume in 2020 turned out to be much bigger than expected (at least a 6x increase compared to 2019 according to preliminary numbers) we are in the process of updating our plans and have some ideas how to use additional capital in a promising way (eg internationalization). So I'm happy to talk if you know someone... ;-)

Effektiv Spenden - Fundraising and 2021 Plans

Hi Chi!

Thanks for your comments. We'll most likely start to "gender" once we relaunch the website somewhen in the next couple of quarters. The reason why I'm reluctant to do this is because I'm quite certain that this will decrease the mass appeal of the website. So when we do it we'll do it with the expectation of decreasing the amount of donations. Reasons are: 

- Currently our site is kind of gender neutral already since we don't just use the male version but male and female versions alternate (see https://blog.zeit.de/glashaus/2018/02/07/gendern-schreibweise-geschlecht-maenner-frauen-ansprache/ for a longer explanation). There are at least some people who care about a gender neutral language who prefer this approach (it was also the new and progressive way to do it when I was at the university). 
- The vast majority of Germans don't use a gender neutral language themselves and I would assume that most don't want it to be used in general. I don't have a data source for the latter but the fact that pretty much all newspaper don't use gender neutral language different to ours seems to be a clear indicator for that. This obviously doesn't mean that one shouldn't do it, just that it's not mainstream yet. Obviously it's very different with different demographics. Eg when I think of people I'm close with I know several who are kind of actively annoyed with gender neutral language but they are all 40+. It's not because they are opposed to the concept but because they are used to a different language and it make the language less appealing for them. I tend to agree (I'm also 40+). For me it's the same as with vegan food. It's the right thing to do but it's just not as appealing as the stuff I'm used to. Talking to EAs who attended university during the last ten years I'm sure it will be quite the opposite.
 

The German Effective Altruism Network - recap 2020

I'm also not sure if Germany is leading on climate issues but the work of John Halstead's and Johannes Ackva (and also Hauke Hillebrandt through Let's Fund) have been very valuable to the effective giving efforts through effektiv-spenden.org.

Effektiv Spenden - Fundraising and 2021 Plans

Hi Brian!

There is a breakdown for all individual organizations:

Against Malaria Foundation: 111,147.50 Euro
Deworm the World: 149,701.57 Euro
GiveDirectly: 251,463.61 Euro
Malaria Consortium: 116,394.15 Euro 

Clean Air Task Force: 83,174.71 Euro
Coalition for Rainforest Nations: 142,242.56 Euro
ITIF: 62,650.22 Euro 

Good Food Institute: 66,687.53 Euro
The Humane League: 43,532.53 Euro

(See https://www.effektiv-spenden.org/fundraiser-2020/#1)

It's important though that we only offered GiveWell recommended charities for the first 7 month and that most of the press we got also focused on them (and to a lesser degree on climate change). The numbers have been more evenly distributed lately.

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