Working (6-15 years of experience)
556Bethnal Green, London, UKJoined Mar 2021


How I can help others

Happy to chat about my experience in quant trading, living in Chicago/London


Some of the comments here are suggesting that there is in fact tension between promoting donations and direct work. The implication seems to be that while donations are highly effective in absolute terms, we should intentionally downplay this fact for fear that too many people might 'settle' for earning to give.

Personally, I would much rather employ honest messaging and allow people to assess the tradeoffs for their individual situation. I also think it's important to bear in mind that downplaying cuts both ways—as Michael points out, the meme that direct work is overwhelmingly effective has done harm.

There may be some who 'settle' for earning to give when direct work could have been more impactful, and there may be some who take away that donations are trivial and do neither. Obviously I would expect the former to be hugely overrepresented on the EA Forum.

For each person in a leadership role, there’s typically a need for at least several people in the more junior versions of these roles or supporting positions — e.g. research assistants, operations specialists, marketers, ML engineers,...I’d typically prefer someone in these roles to an additional person donating $400,000–$4 million per year


If this is true, why not spend way more on recruiting and wages? It's surprising to me that the upper bound could be so much larger than equivalent salary in the for-profit sector.

I might be missing something, but it seems to me the basic implication of the funding overhang is that EA should convert more of its money into 'talent' (via Meta spending or just paying more).

Yeah I think we're on the same page, my point is just that it only takes a single digit multiple to swamp that consideration, and my model is that charities aren't usually that close. For example, GiveWell thinks its top charities are ~8x GiveDirectly, so taken at face value a match that displaces 1:1 from GiveDirectly would be 88% as good as a 'pure counterfactual'

  1. Most matches are of the free-for-all variety, meaning the funds will definitely go to some charity, just a question of who gets there first (e.g. Facebook & Every.org). While this might sound like a significant qualifier, it's almost as good as a pure counterfactual unless you believe that all nonprofits are ~equally effective.
    1. The 'worst case' is a matching pool restricted to one specific org, where presumably the funds will go there regardless, and doesn't really add anything to your donation.
  2. Conversely, as Lizka noted, even the best counterfactual only makes sense in theory if the recipient org is at least half as effective as the best charity you know of.
  3. I'm not sure I fully understand the last question. It sounds like you're referring to a matching pool specific to one charity, in which case no downside, but could be quite different if the pool covers a wider array of nonprofits.

There are still funds remaining, but it looks like each person can only set up three matched donations

A lot of this wouldn't show up in malaria, e.g. last year 39% of GiveWell funds directed went to malaria programs. But yeah, still would be interested to see data.

Naively, $1.6B/$5k ~330k deaths averted[1]? Adjust down because some spending is less effective than AMF. Adjust up because of AMF cost/life inflation.

  1. ^

    (Or equivalent)

It seems like it would be particularly difficult to know ahead of time whether one is well-suited to founding a charity, and I can imagine that is a major barrier to application. Do you have any suggestions for assessment of fit?

The biggest factor is the arrival of FTX, which has given more to infrastructure YTD than all others combined the prior two years

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