Joey

Co-founder @ Charity Entrepreneurship
7234 karmaJoined Sep 2014Working (6-15 years)Queen's Park, London, UK

Bio

I want to make the biggest positive difference in the world that I can. My mission is to cause more effective charities to exist in the world by connecting talented individuals with high-impact intervention opportunities. This is why I co-founded the organisation Charity Entrepreneurship to achieve this through an extensive research process and incubation program.

Comments
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First a meta note less directly connected to the response:

Our funding circles fund a lot of different groups, and there is no joint pot, so it's closer to a moderated discussion about a given cause area than CE/AIM making granting calls. We are not looking for people to donate to us or our charities, and as far as I understand, OpenPhil and AWF do not have a participatory way to get involved other than just donating to their joint pot directly. This request is more aimed at people who want to put in significant personal time to making decisions independent from existing funding actors.
 

More connected response:

Thanks for the thoughts, and the support you have given our past charities. I can give a few quick comments on this. Our research team might also respond a bit more deeply.

 

1) Research quality: I think in general, our research is pretty unusual in that we are quite willing to publish research that has a fairly limited number of hours put into it. Partly, this is due to our research not being aimed at external actors (e.g., convincing funders, the broader animal movement, other orgs) as much as aimed at people already fairly convinced on founding a charity and aimed at a quite specific question of what would be the best org to found. We do take an approach that is more accepting of errors, particularly ones that do not affect endline decisions connected directly to founding a charity. E.g., For starting a charity on fish in a given country, we are not really concerned about the number of fish farmed unless that number is significant determining factor in terms of founding a charity in that space. We have gone back and forth as to how much transparency to have on research and how much time to spend per report and have not come to a fixed answer. We are more likely to get criticism/pushback on higher transparency + lower hours per report but typically think it will still lead to more charities that are promising in the end.
 

2) CE’s animal charity quality: I think both our ordering and assessment of charity quality would be different from what is described here. I also think animal welfare funds and Open Phil's (both of who have funded the majority of these projects) assessments would also not match your description. However, in some ways, these are small differences as our general estimate is that 2/5 charities in a given area are highly promising. It is quite a hits-based game, and that is the number we would expect (and would rank internally) about how many charities are performing really well.
 

2.5) Feedback on animal charities: I did a quick review of charities that got the most positive vs negative feedback at the time of idea recommendation from the broader animal community relative to your rank order and relative to our internal one and did not find a correlation. Generally, I think the space is pretty uncertain and thus the charity that got the most positive expectations were typically the charities that deviated the smallest amount from other actions already taken in the space. I think that putting more time into the research reports (including getting more feedback) is one way to improve charity quality (at the cost of quantity) but I'm pretty skeptical it's the best way. So far, the biggest predictive factor has not been idea strength but the founder team, so when thinking about where to spend marginal resources to improve charities, I would still lean that way (although it's far from clear if that will always be the case).
 

3) I would be interested in doing a survey on this to get better data. I get the impression that we are seen as pretty disconnected from the animal space (and I think that is fairly true). I think we are far more involved in e.g., the EA space both when it comes to more formal research and when it comes to softer social engagement. I think our charities tend to go deeper into whatever area they are focusing on than our team does, and I am pretty comfortable with that. I would not be surprised if we both were invited less and attended less coordination events and meetings connected to the animal space; we like to stay focused quite directly on the problems we are working on.
 

Thanks again for writing this up. I put some chance that these are issues that are correct and important enough to prioritize, and it's valuable to get pushback and flags even if we end up disagreeing about the actions to take.

Hey EA Sweden team, really interesting post. Quick question: is there a link to your full budget somewhere? I am a bit unsure if $65k is like 50% or 5% of your current spend, and it's pretty hard to get a sense of cost effectiveness without knowing what the total expected spend is.

I have a couple of guesses:

Every year, we generally become more well-known, particularly within the communities we consistently reach out to (e.g., EA, animal welfare, etc.). This creates natural momentum and credibility within those communities.

Our previous outreach efforts build up the applicant pool for the current year (e.g., someone who heard about us from a talk two years ago might only apply today).

We have done a lot more active outreach to non-EA communities. I think these communities are particularly affected by the visible success of our graduates, so they become a more viable audience as we acquire more prominent success markers (e.g., being featured on Vox's top 50 list).

To quickly chip in with some data I have, people who were pretty happy with the program, scoring it 4.45/5. About half of them received a job offer, placement, or internship following the program, most of which were facilitated or recommended by us. We have not done a full counterfactual estimate yet, though, as I do think talented people often get offers anyway, even without the extra skills/credentials that the program provides. So, it might be counterfactually closer to 33%.

Joey
3mo32
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Hey Silas, really glad you wrote this up. I also recently donated bone marrow (after donating blood many times and being a bit torn on kidney donations). My experience was equally positive and probably even easier logistically (from London, UK).

Some hard-nosed calculations for those who might be interested (that I will write up in a full post one day): I lost about 1 full day of work and would expect the average person to lose between 1-3 days of work if they wanted to lose as few workdays as possible. My best estimate is this saved between 4-12 years of life for the person who received the donation. Overall, I think it fits quite well with my altruism sharpens altruism concept and is likely worth many EAs signing up for. 

Joey
4mo48
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Just wanted to chip in that I am quite positive about this choice and the direction that CEA could go in under Zach's leadership. I have found Zach to be thoughtful about a range of EA topics and to hold to core principles in a way that is both rare and highly valuable for the leader of a meta organization.

Joey
4mo12
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I think the model I would suggest is indeed close to what Joel is saying - try it out system as opposed to guessing a priori how you will be affected by things. More specifically, track your work hours/productivity (if you think that is where the bulk of your impact is coming from) and see if, for example, donating blood on the weekend negatively, positively, or has no effect on them. I think that my output has gotten higher over time, in part, due to pretty active testing and higher amounts of measurement. - Related post 

Joey
4mo19
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I do tend to think that most people's limiting factor is energy instead of time. E.g. it is rare to see someone work till they literally run out of hours on a project vs needing a break due to feeling tired. Even people working 12 hours a day, I still expect they run out of energy before time, at least long term. I would not typically see emotional energy as my limiting factor, but I do think it's basically always energy (a variable typically positively affected by altruism in other areas) vs. time or money (typically negatively affected).

In most cases the same or minor decrease

I echo this view and think it's really exciting. I expect many people in the meta-funding space will be positive about this idea. However, I also anticipate that many of the donors will need to see a round or two of this idea executed and observe the resulting grants before donating to the fund.

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