Sebastian Schwiecker

Founder & CEO @ Effektiv Spenden
Working (15+ years of experience)
825Berlin, DeutschlandJoined Mar 2019

Bio

CEO & Founder of effektiv-spenden.org

Comments
34

With regards to effektiveraltruismus.de: The site has just been transferred to "Effektiver Altruismus Deutschland (EAD) e.V." (can be seen in the Imprint/Impressum already and will be mentioned in a newsletter that we will probably send later today). Donations will still be managed by Effektiv Spenden (officially knows as "UES – Gemeinnützige GmbH für effektives Spenden") since EAD can't do that at the moment (from a legal perspective and also from a technical/operations perspective). We already mention who is handling the donations on top of the donation form though. Happy to consider further clarification on the website (or elsewhere). Other than that I don't really see why the arrangement should be changed since it would lead to unnecessary overhead but happy to discuss.

Disclaimer: I'm the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Effektiv Spenden.

For what it’s worth some anecdotal evidence from myself (Founder of Effektiv Spenden → effective giving organization working in Germany and Switzerland and in the last three years the main contact for every journalist coming through effektiveraltruismus.de → the by far most frequented German EA website).

 

I have been in contact with I guess 20 - 30 journalists in the last 3 years. Spoke to everyone and never turned anyone down. Never asked to be off the record (but I usually do ask to see drafts to make sure there are no factual errors → ask ≠ require). So far only positive experiences (100%) including three tv features and even more radio features (including discussions with critics). I’m not saying that I’m happy with every single word of every single article etc. but I’m pretty sure that all features, articles… have been net positive and that my views have been by and large presented correctly.

 

My situation is (very?) special though: Focus was mostly on giving to neartermist causes which might be easier to explain and less loaded + Germany and Switzerland have a much smaller EA community and far less people know about EA so questions are probably more basic. I might also have been more lucky and/or more talented than I think I am. So what has worked for me might not work for you.

I'm obviously biased, but wholeheartedly agree with you that EA should invest even more in effective giving (because of the impact the donations will have and also to get more people interested in EA). In the last couple of weeks I have started to become more optimistic that this will happen though (e.g. Open Phil seems to consider supporting this space directly).

With regards to the "pick a fight" strategy you might want to check out some of the very early GiveWell blog posts (2007 - 2009). They definitely didn't shy away from a fight (just ask Charity Navigator) and I actually think that this was a smart strategy at the time and might still be under some circumstances. 

Thanks for the feedback. I'm kind of with you, but having a nice office in a really central location would increase the price at least 3x (+ significant setup costs). In addition some of the regulars are living pretty close so it wouldn't be an improvement for everybody. Nevertheless, if someone would be willing to commit €500,000+ I'm very happy to talk and/or help.

I agree with you that we should stop saying “funding overhang”. I’m also not advocating for Sam or Dustin to sell their stocks and put their money into supposedly safer assets.

What should be done in my opinion is to work harder on diversifying and increasing the amount of money available to EA causes and make sure that GiveWell et al. have to decrease “the bar” faster and more consistently (makes stuff more predictable and therefore probably more effective). One way (out of many) to do so that seems pretty obvious to me would be to put even more money into the effective giving landscape to convince millions of people in the world to give more effectively (again, I’m biased). A decent chunk of that would come from income and not equities. Still correlates with the global markets but much less so.

To a certain extent effective giving organizations are already receiving considerably more money than a couple of years ago but as long as several have a counterfactual multiplier (donations raised / cost of raising donations) of > 10 I think we should be much more aggressive since it kind of pays for itself many times over (and also to hedge against a possible prolonged bear market).

I’m obviously biased but I do see this as another clear sign that instead of worrying about a perceived funding overhang EA should invest heavily in increasing and diversifying its fundraising capabilities.

Thank Konstantin for you pushing the idea (translate/create great German EA content).


In case other people reading this are confused: Konstantin and I are in close contact and are convinced that more than one person should work on this for the foreseeable future (especially if you also want to make sure that this content can be found easily via SEO etc.).

Thanks for your feedback. Just created an anonymous feedback form for people who have spent time at TEAMWORK to get more critical input (will put it on our website, in our handbook etc. as well).

I think some of your concerns could be addressed with more funding. Others probably only if a bigger player like CEA goes all in and opens up its own EA-Coworking/Event-Space in Berlin. As far as I know no such plans exist, but if I’m wrong please let me know. Happy to completely focus on our core business.

Compared to the situation in Berlin before we opened up TEAMWORK I still have a very hard time not seeing our Space as a huge improvement.

We didn't but heard from other philanthropic advisors (mostly from outside the EA community) that it can sometimes be very challenging to nudge major donors to give effectively and be open minded (actually some of us experienced that first hand in former jobs).

Thanks a lot for this. Hope GiveWell will speed up there process (will contact them directly as well).

Edit: Removed broken link.

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