Comment by kieranhammmond20 on Volunteering for a non-EA charity - a write up · 2017-11-24T10:46:30.506Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this, I found it interesting. Many of your experiences resonate with mine, in charge of a charitable organisation dealing with many volunteers whose motivations seemed unclear or dubious. I found it difficult to convert people to effective donating or to get them excited about effective altruism, even though those I was working with were highly intelligent, rational and mostly vibrant people.

There is certainly something to be said for trying to influence charities towards more effective interventions, rather than focusing on cause prioritisation. Often charities don't focus on this simply because they lack the tools to measure the effectiveness of interventions, not because they lack resources, have a narrow mission statement or don't think that impact is important. At the moment, I am working on a project to automate randomised control trials to make them more affordable for charities wanting to evaluate their impact in a more rigorous way.

Overall I think the realist perspective you have outlined here quite refreshing. Charities do, and will continue to, work in areas that are not typically regarded as the most impactful by EA organisations. People are, and will continue to be, motivated strongly by their emotions. What can we do within those parameters to make things more effective?