comment by Benjamin_Todd ·
2017-05-26T04:29:17.545Z · EA(p) · GW(p)
Thanks for writing this. A couple of quick comments (these are not thoroughly checked - our annual reviews are the more reliable source of information):
How should we think about all these things they could do with additional funding now?
Given that we made the higher end of our funding targets, I'd guess that giving us money right now has diminishing returns compared to those we received earlier in the year. However, they are not super diminishing. First, they give us the option to grow faster. Second, if we don't take that option, then the worst case scenario is that we raise less money next funding round. This means you funge with our marginal donor in early 2018 (which might well be Open Phil), while also saving us time, and giving us greater financial strength in the meantime, which helps to attract staff.
Will our returns diminish from 2016 to 2017? That's less clear.
If you're looking at the ratio of plan changes to costs each year, as you do in your model, then there's a good chance the ratio goes down in 2017. Past investments will pay off, we learn how to be more efficient, and we get economies of scale.
More discussion here: https://80000hours.org/2016/12/has-80000-hours-justified-its-costs/#whats-the-marginal-cost-per-plan-change
On the other hand, if we invest a lot in long-term growth, then the short-term ratio will go up.
This shows some of the limitation looking at the ratio of costs to plan changes each year, which we discuss more here:
If you're reading this and trying to evaluate 80,000 Hours, then I'd encourage you to consider other questions, which are glossed over in this analysis, but similarly, or more important, such as:
1) Is the EA community more talent constrained than funding constrained?
2) Will 80k continue to grow rapidly?
3) How pressing a problem are poor career choice and promoting EA?
4) How effective is AMF vs other EA causes? (80k isn't especially focused on global poverty)
5) Is 80k a well-run organisation with a good team?
You can see more of our thoughts on how to analyse a charity here: