Should EAs participate in the Double Up Drive?

post by kullboys01 · 2019-01-14T03:53:50.184Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW · 1 comments

The Double Up Drive is an opportunity to have donations to many effective charities matched. In the past, posts have been written on the GiveWell blog and the EA forum (e.g. here and here) discussing problems with donation matching. However, the Double Up Drive seems to allay the majority of these concerns with their statement that the matching funds will only be donated when others donate, and the large number of charities that they will match. On balance, is it best to participate in the drive to put the matching funds to good use, or not to participate in order to avoid some of the remaining problems with donation matches?

Thanks.

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comment by aarongertler · 2019-01-14T21:00:15.006Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Now that the 2018 Drive is over, what EAs should do in 2019 will depend on the terms of the match (if it even gets offered again). As soon as the Drive starts, I plan to get a clear answer to how it works, though the more people who ask, the better!

Some possibilities for how it might be run:

  • The Drive is truly counterfactual (every dollar you give = an extra dollar from the sponsors)
  • The Drive only affects distribution, not amount (your money just influences where and not whether sponsors give their funds)
  • Somewhere in between (e.g. only funds beyond $2 million lead to additional matching from sponsors, because they plan to give $2 million no matter what)

This year, it seems like the Drive turned out to be counterfactual for all money raised after $2.4 million, but not necessarily before (we don't actually know).

If the Drive is "truly counterfactual", or is likely to reach the amount above which extra funds will be counterfactual, it is a good opportunity. This would mean that EAs should strongly consider saving up to donate through the Drive, especially if they may not easily be able to do Facebook donation matching [EA · GW] (e.g. because they are European and there's a higher risk that their banks will reject a donation through Facebook).

However, we do want to be sure we don't flood the Drive with so many donations that the sponsors feel reluctant to run it in future years. If that becomes a concern, it's not something individuals need to worry about (unless you're donating mid-five-digit sums or more), but CEA and other orgs may share it around less widely. We'll see what the terms are this year, though.