EA Funds hands out money very infrequently - should we be worried?
score: 10 (10 votes) ·
I wanted to quickly answer a few questions about the Global Development Fund.
How quickly do I expect to allocate funds in the future?
I'm planning to consider allocating funds each time GiveWell allocates the funds it has received for granting at our discretion (by donors who choose to give to "Grants to recommended charities at GiveWell's discretion"). We normally allocate these funds four times each year, though the exact schedule can vary depending on staff capacity. My best guess is that, going forward, I'll allocate at the same time as GiveWell and likely follow GiveWell's allocation because we expect that our top charities will have more room for funding than we are able to fill with our discretionary funds.
This page shows how we've allocated funds given to us for granting at our discretion in the past: https://www.givewell.org/about/FAQ/discretionary-grantmaking.
What are the pros and cons of giving to this fund vs. (a) giving to GiveWell for granting at our discretion or (b) giving directly to one of GiveWell's top charities?
Giving to this fund could result in donations going to opportunities that I believe are more cost-effective than GiveWell's top charities because I can direct them to more speculative opportunities. I think this possibility is relatively unlikely in the near-term. Good Ventures, a large foundation with which we work closely, has supported GiveWell's Incubation program (https://www.givewell.org/research/incubation-grants), our work to support the development of future top charities, in the past, and I think it's likely that it will support more speculative opportunities we identify and believe to be more cost-effective than our top charities. To be clear, it's possible that we find opportunities that we believe are outstanding and Good Ventures won't support them, or that we find so many opportunities that it exceeds Good Ventures appetite for Incubation Grants, but I think that's relatively unlikely to happen in the near future.
Giving to this fund signals an interest in more speculative opportunities. It's helpful to me to know that there's significant interest in giving to global health and development opportunities that may not meet GiveWell's criteria. Some donors signal that interest by emailing / talking to me or others at GiveWell, but giving to this fund is a good way to directly signal that preference.
- GiveWell has a fairly developed process for (a) answering questions that come in from donors and (b) proactively reaching out to donors to see if they have questions. Because EA Funds don't flow directly through us, EA Funds donors aren't part of that process. in my opinion, that gives those donors a worse donation experience than they'd have if they gave through GiveWell and gives us less ability to follow up with them and learn about their values and goals with their giving.
If you're a donor to the fund and have preferences about (a) and (b) below, please let me know. I don't have information about the fund's donors or their preferences. Would you prefer that I:
allocate money held in this fund when GiveWell allocates its funds unless I have another specific opportunity in mind.
retain some funding (perhaps ~$500k) in case I identify something that I can't easily fund otherwise.