posts tagged altruism

Does donation matching work?


In the effective altruism community,donationmatchesarebecomingverypopular. Some matchers have gone as far as tripling or even quadrupling each dollar donated, not just doubling. But I started to wonder if the matching multiple–or even matching at all–has any impact on the money you raise. In this post, I’ll take a look at some of the academic literature on donation matching to see whether such matches are justified.

Some stories about comparative advantage


A collection of stories about how effective altruists think about and use the idea of comparative advantage. This post is my contribution to the December edition of Figuring Good Out, the effective altruism blogging carnival. This month’s topic is “blind spots.”

PSA: consider bunching your donations


Reminder: if you live in the US and are planning to donate substantially (at least $3,000) to charity this year, consider bunching your donations by donating at the beginning of next year instead!

In some circumstances, this will give you a substantially larger average tax deduction (up to $6,000), allowing you to donate much more than you could otherwise. For details, see the previous post I wrote on the subject.

Spitballing EA career ideas


I think it would be interesting to see some wider-ranging career thinking, considering more possible fields and more different types of skillsets. So I’ve made a list of as many jobs as I could think of that sound potentially interesting from an EA perspective.

Student group Q&A #1: Activities


Answering a reader’s question:

I’d like to get involved [with starting a student group] somehow, and while I don’t have much experience organizing people, I do have access to a sizable network of students and faculty here. I’ve hesitated though, because I’ve wondered, once I have a roomful of people who have been introduced to the methods and motivations of EA, what kinds of activities should I propose? Is there any basic script or set of guidelines for navigating activity planning during the early days of an EA community? Should we begin by spreading the word via advertising and networking, and then trying to get people to donate right off the bat?

Student group notes #7: advertising strategies


An overview of HEA’s best tactics for advertising to new members and tips for taking full advantage of them, from email list to Giving Games.

Student group notes #6: lessons from the philanthropy fellowship


The event we ran that really got our membership going was what we called the “philanthropy fellowship.” Although the content was specific to HEA’s mission, I think the idea and lessons generalize to any kind of student group.

Student group notes #5: outside support


Another thing that made running Harvard Effective Altruism way easier was the amount of support we received from “outsiders”–faculty or even friends of ours who were already out of college. These folks have done tons of helpful stuff for us, and I think most student groups can find similarly helpful allies if they look.

Student group notes #4: navigating bureaucracy


“After spending one too many afternoons on tenterhooks waiting for the room reservation office to email me back, I finally cracked under the stress. For once I had actually paid attention to the booking deadlines and reserved our room a week in advance–but they still hadn’t confirmed two days beforehand. Come hell or high water, I decided, I was going to get my room reserved tonight. I put on my best starving-frantic-student-in-need face, thought up my best excuses, and marched over to the Science Center to demand satisfaction.”

Student group notes #3: getting good speakers


If there’s one thing that I’m proud of about my tenure running HEA, it’s our programming. Last year we had over 10 speakers come to give talks to HEA, including Peter Singer, Jaan Tallinn, and many other extremely popular and busy people. We also raised thousands of dollars to cover honoraria from these speakers. How?

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